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Accelerator Team

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Ai Ohara
Senior Manager
Ai Ohara
Senior Manager
Ai joined JIN in 2016 and leads its new “SDGs Holistic Innovation Platform (SHIP)”, co-hosted with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The platform aims at accelerating Japan’s private sector’s engagement towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which were adopted at the UN General Assembly in September 2015.

Prior to joining JIN, Ai was the UNDP Tokyo’s Private Sector Partnership Consultant for 4.5 years where she led its outreach to Japanese companies with innovative inclusive business models and provided consultations to initiate inclusive business, as well as advocated the Business Call to Action (BCtA), a UNDP-led initiative. Before her career at UNDP, Ai had nearly 20 years of experience as researcher for Japan’s leading consulting firm, Nomura Research Institute, providing research and consulting services to the Japanese central and regional governments in urban and regional planning, as well as serving as Manager of Corporate Communications and the General Manager of CSR.

Ai holds a Master of Development Administration from Western Michigan University in the U.S.
Juri Yanagisawa
Senior Manager
Juri Yanagisawa
Senior Manager
Juri joined JIN in 2015, seconded from the Nomura Research Institute (NRI). She directs innovation management and innovation projects with leading Japanese multinationals. At NRI, she served on the study group on ‘Frontier Human Resource Management’ that eventually led to the establishment of JIN.

Juri holds an MA in Mechanical and Environmental Informatics from the Tokyo Institute of Technology. She is also the co-author of an NRI report on the role of Human Resource Management in Innovation (JP – link).
Ryoko Suzuki
Manager
Ryoko Suzuki
Manager
One of JIN’s earliest employees, Ryoko now serves as Manager of the Innovation Accelerator Group. In this capacity, she coordinates and manages JIN’s innovation programs, such as the JIN Innovation Academy and open innovation platforms. Ryoko began her career at JALUX Inc. (a member of the Japan Airlines Group), experiencing new business creation projects inside the group. Prior to joining JIN, she also served a stint as Researcher at Tokyo University’s innovation-focused i.school.

Ryoko holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Waseda University. She earned her MA in Sustainability Science from the Graduate School of Frontier Science at the University of Tokyo.
Keijiro Yamagata
Manager
Keijiro Yamagata
Manager
Kei designs and runs internal acceleration programs for large manufacturing as well as consumer goods companies to support new business creation. He also leads JIN’s global expansion to create an open innovation network for Japanese companies and start-ups around the globe to cooperate. Before joining JIN in 2015, Kei worked at ICMG on helping Japanese companies in their international expansion efforts. Previously, he interned at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo in the area of energy and worked on supporting U.S. firms in entering Japan’s electricity market.

Kei served as Project Evaluation Committee member in METI’s Global Internship Program in 2015. He holds a BA in Asian Studies from the College of Liberal Arts, Temple University Japan Campus and has spent eight years in the UK.
Ayumi Kuji
Associate
Ayumi Kuji
Associate
Ayumi is currently working with several of Japan’s largest multinationals to design and implement internal acceleration programs for new business creation. She is also engaged in building company internal innovation ecosystems.

Prior to joining JIN in 2016, Ayumi assisted asylum seekers who lived in Japan at a government agency. Working at an NGO, she also toured Southeast Asia with delegations from large Japanese firms to coordinate CSR activities towards developing countries. During a stint at a publishing house, she was also engaged in new business creation projects for the publishing industry. Previously, she also worked on coordinating and organizing international and national conferences held by the Japanese government.

A ten-year resident the California, Ayumi holds a BA in International Relations from San Francisco State University (United States). She subsequently earned a Master’s degree in Social Sciences from the Graduate School of Toyo Eiwa University in Tokyo.
Markus Winter
Researcher
Markus Winter
Researcher
Markus spearheads JIN’s research & innovation insights efforts. He also serves as member on the ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation) committee TC279 that is negotiating the first global standard on innovation management. Prior to joining JIN, he has been a Research Associate with The Economist’s business intelligence unit, the Corporate Network, for four years. Markus also co-founded and serves as co-CEO of the beverage startup Yuzu Kyodai that has since has pivoted to become a successful brand strategy and market insights agency.

Markus holds a BA in European Studies from the University of Maastricht (Netherlands) and a Master of Public Policy and Ph.D. (ABD) from the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS) in Tokyo. He also holds the post of lecturer in Political History of Modern Europe at Hosei University and teaches Entrepreneurship as well as Global Economy at Gakushuin University. His views have frequently been published in The Diplomat and Tech in Asia, among others.