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INNOVATION ACCELERATION GROUP

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Ai Ohara
Director
Ai Ohara
Director
Ai joined JIN in 2016 and leads its new “SDGs Holistic Innovation Platform (SHIP)”, managed jointly 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 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.
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 FY15&16. He holds a BA in Asian Studies from the College of Liberal Arts, Temple University and has spent eight years in the UK.
Ayumi Kuji
Project Manager
Ayumi Kuji
Project Manager
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.
Chiho Kato
Project Manager
Chiho Kato
Project Manager
Chiho currently works on collaborating with startup hubs and accelerators from various countries, aiming to expand JIN’s global open innovation network.

Prior to joining JIN, she worked as an analyst at an investment bank focusing on M&A advisory for Japanese companies conducting cross-border acquisitions. She then moved on to a British branding consultancy and as a Project Director worked to understand consumer needs through ethnographic research and has worked on product development, structured marketing strategies, and facilitated innovation ideation workshops.

Chiho received her B.A. in international business and economics from Sophia University, and has spent 8 years of her childhood in the U.S.