INNO Disruptive Challenge

A program by the Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) taking aim at conventional wisdom to inspire and cultivate the seeds of disruptive innovation from all walks of life with support of up to 3,000,000 JPY for up to one year.
In this new-normal era, a significant increase in the need for innovation within the ICT (Information and Communications Technology) field has arisen. In response, we call upon those who boldly take on new challenges without the fear of failure to take part in the Disruptive Challenge.

In order to clarify the path of the "Ambitious Technical Goal", every challenger will receive support through their own made-to-order system.

The INNO Disruptive Challenge is separated into a 2-step process.

0 to 1 Challenge

The 0 to 1 Challenge is an opportunity to put your ideas to the test and experiment in lighting up the path towards realization (your "Ambitious Technical Goal"), without fear of failure.
Freely set your own time period and budget (time period up to 4 months; budget up to ¥1,000,000) and set your sights toward the Disruptive Challenge. At any time, through self-assessment and your own judgment, you may submit a request to the executing agency to advance to the Disruptive Challenge. Upon passing this selection, you may advance to the Disruptive Challenge.
Period: Up to 4 months
Support amount: Up to ¥1,000,000.

Disruptive Challenge

Press onward toward your "Ambitious Technical Goal". The 0 to 1 Challenge's time period and support budget are deducted from the overall time and budget limit of one year and ¥3,000,000, respectively. (For example, the earlier the 0 to 1 Challenge is completed, the longer the time period for the Disruptive Challenge becomes).
You will be able to take a graduation assessment at that time.
Period: Up to maximum of 1 year (including the 0 to 1 challenge)
Support amount: Up to a total of ¥3,000,000 (including the 0 to 1 Challenge)

Open Worldwide. All Nationalities.
All Ages. All Backgrounds.

Apply in English Apply in Japanese Apply in Thai
Disruptive Challenge Application Guidelines

Excerpts taken from the Disruptive Challenge 2021 Application Guidelines

Please be sure to read the 2021 Application Guidelines carefully before applying.
We ask that you fully comprehend matters involving holding intellectual property rights before applying.
Regarding the Handling of Contracts and Intellectual Property Rights

Below is an excerpt taken from pages 6 and 7.

Figure 1: Application flow
Figure 1: Application flow

Applicant Requirements

・All ages. Those on Earth with a contact address (citizenship or residency will not be taken into account).
・In the case of self-application: Individuals or groups
・In the case of third party recommendations*: A person or group who you know personally and wish to nominate on their behalf

*For privacy reasons, the third party’s identity will not be revealed to those who have been nominated by said third party
It is possible to simultaneously apply to both the Disruptive Challenge and the Generation Award.

Application Period

From 12:00PM JST (3:00AM GMT) Tuesday, June 1st, 2021 to 6:00PM JST (9:00AM GMT) Monday, August 2nd, 2021.

Application Process (How to apply)

Please apply via the application form on the official website.

*Please enter your information to the form as stated in the application’s procedure.
*Additional materials and/or prototypes will be accepted via submission through the application form on the official website and/or mail to the executing agency.
Please note, additional materials will not be accepted through in-person delivery to the executing agency.
*For items sent via post, those with a postmark prior to the submission deadline date will be accepted. Please note, as a general rule, submitted documents will not be returned.
*It is also possible to apply through social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) in the Generation Award.

Below is an excerpt taken from pages 8 and 12.

1 Call for Proposals

 In the globally unpredictable field of ICT (Information and Communications Technology), where new ideas and technologies are born every day, there is great potential for disruptive creation on a global scale. We aim to support the further development of these technologies by looking for proposals that can boldly take on these challenges and tackle issues with the potential of changing society and global industries without the fear of failure.
 Please carefully read and confirm "V Matters of Attention" in full before proceeding with the application.

2 Applicant

Those who can propose a path and a vision towards their goal as well as be unafraid of making mistakes in their attempt.
All ages. Those on Earth with a contact address (citizenship or residency will not be taken into account).
In the case of self-application: Individuals or groups.
In the case of referrals: Individuals or groups in your vicinity.

*In addition, coordinate alongside the executing agency and follow decided activities.
*In the event you are selected, your name (or nickname), residing location, and proposal name will be announced on the official website.
*You must abide by Japanese law. Those without Japanese residency or citizenship will not be bound by the Industrial Technology Enhancement Act Article 17 (the Japanese equivalent of the Bayh-Dole Act).

3 Challenge Support/Funding Amount

Maximum ¥3,000,000.

* The executing agency will handle any cumbersome paperwork for the administration and will create an environment in which, as much as possible, successful participants will be able to concentrate fully on the technical challenges. As such, no funding will be paid in cash.
* Budget for personnel salaries shall be calculated on the basis of the income recorded in the previous year of the recipient.
* Depending on the selection, the maximum support/funding amount may be ¥1,000,000. Please see section II-6: Selection Process for details.

4 Challenge Period

A made-to-order system for each challenger, maximum of one year.
You may take a graduation assessment at any point during the initial 12-month period. Upon graduating and becoming an INNO-β you will receive a variety of support, including but not limited to global expansion/development for your challenge.

5 Application Procedure and Contents

To apply, please use the form accessible from the official website and enter the following items.
Official website: https://www.inno.go.jp/en/
Please ensure that you provide all the following information:
・Name of the technological proposal (up to 100 characters)
・The target goal of the proposal (up to 1200 characters)
・Path to realization and implementation (up to 2,000 characters)
・Additional materials and prototypes may also be submitted (optional)

*Supplementary documentation, prototypes, and other supporting documents can be submitted as part of the application either by attaching such material to the online application form or by mail to the executing agency of the program. Please note, additional materials will not be accepted through in-person delivery to the executing agency.
* Items delivered by post will be accepted provided they have been postmarked prior to the deadline or are marked as having been received by the courier prior to the deadline. Please note, as a general rule, submitted documents will not be returned.

6 Selection

・Following the confirmation of the format by the executing agency, the screening shall be implemented by our INNO-vation Program Cooperative Partners.
・Evaluations will be based solely on the contents of the proposal (gender, age, background, and other accomplishments will not be considered).

*In the past, there have been applications ranging from 5 to 86 years old.

・Evaluations are absolute, and there is no predetermined number of adoptions.
・Proposals that awaken global-scale disruptive innovations are not created based on existing value or with evaluations in mind, but rather they are based on the intuition of those who know about what it takes to be an "unusual person" with ideas that will shake up society: our supervisors.
・The process from application to graduation (becoming an INNO-β) is displayed in Figure 2. There are limits to the time period and costs (maximum of one year and ¥3,000,000, respectively), but as this is a made-to-order system, you are free to set your own time period and costs within those limitations. The executing agency will support you.

・The challenge is laid out as a 2-step process.

0 to 1 Challenge:
The 0 to 1 Challenge is an opportunity to put your ideas to the test and experiment to your heart's content without fear of failure in order to light up the path toward your Ambitious Technical Goal. Freely set your own time period and budget (up to 4 months and ¥1,000,000, respectively) and set your sights toward the Disruptive Challenge. Through appropriate self-assessment and sound level of judgment, you may submit a request once per month to the executing agency for an advancement screening to the Disruptive Challenge. You may take the advancement screening up to three times. Upon passing the selection, you may advance to the Disruptive Challenge.

Disruptive Challenge:
Press onward toward your "Ambitious Technical Goal". The 0 to 1 Challenge's time period and support budget are deducted from the overall time and budget limit of one year and ¥3,000,000, respectively. (For example, the earlier the 0 to 1 Challenge is completed, the longer the time period for the Disruptive Challenge becomes.) You will be able to take a graduation examination.

Completing a proposal does not guarantee selection to be a Challenger. Those who are not selected to be a Challenger by the selection process will have matching opportunities with our Cooperative Partners. Please see section III-7: Matching with Our Cooperative Partners for details.

Figure 2: Process from Application to Graduation
Figure 2: Process from Application to Graduation

7a Supervisors

Satoshi Ikuta
President & CEO, Nagi Spirits Company
Gaku Ueda
CEO, MODE Inc.,
Erika Ogawa
Former Representative, Guinness World Records Japan
Tetsuya Kawanishi
Professor, School of Fundamental Science and Engineering, Department of Electronic and Physical Systems, University of Waseda
Youichi Sato
General Manager, TikTok Japan
Katsuya Takasu
Chairman, Medical Corporation Fukushi Kai, Takasu Hospital, Takasu Clinic
Tomotaka Takahashi
CEO, Robo Garage Co. Ltd.
Hiroshi Harada
Professor, Department of Communication and Computer Engineering, University of Kyoto
Tomoe Makino
GOOD EAT COMPANY Inc. Board Member and CSO / Japan National Tourism Organization Digital Strategy Advisor
Yukihiro Matsumoto
Chairman, Ruby Association

7b Advisors

Adam D'Angelo
Quora Founder and CEO, Former Facebook CTO
Joichi Ito
Venture Capitalist
Shinichi Nakasuka
Professor, Department of Aerospace Engineering, Graduate School of Engineering, The University of Tokyo
Hitoshi Tonomura
First Compass Group General Partner, Scrum Ventures Advisor, Former EvernoteJapan President
Takashi Miike
Filmmaker

8 Joining the INNO-Masters After Graduation

Upon being authorized for graduation, you will then be recognized as an INNO-β (official recognition from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications as an unusual person) and will join the INNO-Masters.
The INNO-Masters are a group of individuals that receive global-scale support for their activities.
It is an initiative to support the relentless INNO-β, those who continue to follow their remarkable "Ambitious Technical Goal" and dream of one day changing the world.

To provide global scale transmission support for INNO-β technology and information, support will be provided focused around professionally made videos, mass/social media transmission, international exhibitions, offers from organizations, and legal/financial/intellectual property rights support. In this era of a "new normal", INNO-βs will receive various kinds of support to promote global scale activities.
Once you are an INNO-β, you're an INNO-β for life.

Example of INNO-Masters Support

Global-scale transmission support

Professionally made promotional videos, as well as mass and social media support. Let's reach out to 1 million unique users together!

International exhibition support

Support with presenting at international exhibitions; overseas cooperation from our cooperative partners.

Professional support (intellectual property rights and patents)

Support from legal, financial, and intellectual property experts and enterprises.

Below is an excerpt taken from page 17.

Ⅳ Handling of Personal Information

“Personal Information” refers to addresses, names, telephone numbers, email addresses, or any other information that can be identified as a specific individual (or easily compared with other information to identify an individual).
Any personal information received and handled at the time of the application will be handled in accordance with the “Personal Information Protection Policy” of KADOKAWA ASCII Research Laboratories, Inc.

(1) Purpose and use of submitted personal information.
a. For notification of passing and selection into the program.
b. For confirmation of inquiries and subsequent communication.
c. For contact in any events related to this program.

(2) b. Management of personal information provided at the time of application.
a. Strict security measures will be implemented in order to prevent any unauthorized access, loss, leaks, tampering, etc. of information.
b. At the time of inputting any personal information, data encryption technology is used in order to protect this information during communication.
c. Personal information acquired by the executing agency throughout the application will not be used for any other purpose without prior consent unless required by law.

Inquiries about personal information handling; complaints/consultation desk
For matters related to the disclosure, correction, suspension of use, etc. of personal information, please contact the following:
Company name: KADOKAWA ASCII Research Laboratories, Inc.
Address : 2F, KS Building, 1-17-8 Nishikata, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0024, Japan
Telephone: +81(0)3-5840-7800 (Japan), FAX: +81(0)3-5840-7812
Email Address: info[at]lab-kadokawa.com (Please replace [at] with @)
The person in charge of personal information: Eiji Yoshikawa

The “Personal Information Protection Policy” of the executing agency is disclosed below:
URL:https://www.lab-kadokawa.com/privacy/en/

Below is an excerpt taken from pages 18 and 23.

Ⅴ Matters of Attention (Please Read)

1. Regarding the Handling of Contracts and Intellectual Property Rights

 The handling of contracts and intellectual property rights within the INNO-vation program is as written below.

Disruptive Challenge
To successfully apply for the Disruptive Challenge, applicants must meet the following requirements.

1. Time of Application
a. According to Security Export Control*, in order to handle technology leaks overseas, there must be no concerns with the following points:
・The applicant is not on the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) End User List.
・The applicant is in agreement with the multilateral export control regime.
・The applicant can conduct activities in accordance with Security Export Control's Sensitive Technology Guidance.
・The applicant must behave in a just and ethical manner, be credible in society and must not oppose market economy rules or have compromised freedom.
(Reference)
Security Export Control (part of the multilateral export control regime)
https://www.meti.go.jp/policy/anpo/link.html
METI Overseas Trade Control End User List
https://www.meti.go.jp/policy/anpo/2_0514.pdf
Security Export Control's Sensitive Technology Guidance
https://www.meti.go.jp/policy/anpo/law_document/tutatu/t07sonota/t07sonota_jishukanri03.pdf
b. The applicant must not be a member of any criminal organization or take part in activities with criminal organizations.
c. If the applicant who has passed the screening committee is a minor (under 20 years old), he/she must fulfill a contract with their legal guardian. If an arrangement is required with the legal guardian for obtaining such consent, the executing agency of this program will provide support.

*The Security Export Control refers to regulations concerning weapons, military-grade equipment, technology and/or intellectual property rights that may be used by nations or terrorists to cause harm to the national security of Japan.

If the executing agency determines that an application does not fit the requirements needed to fulfil a contract, the challenge may not be accepted, regardless of evaluation.

2. After Being Selected as a Challenger
a. If an applicant is selected as a Challenger, each Challenger will work with the executing agency to manage confidentiality and intellectual property and enter into a Disruptive Challenge contract which will specify the various necessary rules and regulations.
b. Japanese law must be obeyed. Patents and intellectual property rights born of this program will be based on each section's individual contract, and in accordance with Industrial Technology Enhancement Act Article 17 (the Japanese equivalent of the Bayh-Dole Act), rights for inventions or discoveries will belong to the inventor. Furthermore, it is important to note that even if the applicant(s) that pass the screening process are currently affiliated with an organization or institution, the deliverables shall not become the property of said organization or institution. The Industrial Technology Enhancement Act Article 17 (the Japanese equivalent of the Bayh-Dole Act) shall not apply to those without Japanese residency or citizenship.
c. As stated in subsection b, because the intellectual property rights belong to the Challenger, please consult with the executing agency as soon as possible to discuss gaining possession of said intellectual property rights. The executing agency's patent attorney will provide support with the procedures.
d. If the achievements made in this program are discovered to be in relation to weapons of mass destruction (WMD) or if the developer is discovered to be in a part of any terrorist organization in accordance with the Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Act, support may be cancelled and appropriate measures may be taken.
e. Concerning the aforementioned intellectual property rights, the applicant holds a responsibility to attain prior approval when transferring or implementing property rights, and bears a responsibility to file the proper reports with regard to applications, implementation, registration, abandonment, etc.

2. Confidentiality

Applicants in all sections of the INNO-vation Program must be aware of responsibilities regarding confidentiality.

Disruptive Challenge
1. Confidentiality of Proposal Contents until Passing the Evaluation Process
With the exception of the information contained in Section III-8: Announcement of the Screening Process and Results, no information relating to the ideas submitted in applications, including information relating to the assessment of said ideas, will be disclosed under any circumstances.
2. Confidentiality Obligations of Applicants Passing the Evaluation Process
Applicants passing the screening process are forbidden to disclose or leak any information to any third party or use the information for any purpose other than the program itself with regard to any confidential information, e.g., corporate information, which the applicants may come to learn through this program.

3. Regarding the Protection of Human Rights and Compliance with Laws and Regulations

Upon application into the INNO-vation Program, the applying party's agreement and cooperation must be given toward the handling of personal information, bioethics and general safety. There may be additional legal procedures necessary, including procedures involving domestic and foreign ethics committees. In these instances, please promptly consult with the executing agency and comply with applicable procedures. In the event that any activities or implementation will be conducted in or with an organization outside of Japan, please confirm the laws and regulations of the respective country prior to any activity. Please consult with the executing agency's attorney to resolve any unclear items.
Particularly with life science research, laws and regulations may have been amended amongst various ministries, so please make sure to confirm the latest version of the law. If any activities are found not to be in compliance with any law or regulation, the selection results may be invalidated.
Please refer to the bioethical and safety security measures as set forth by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) at the website below.
●LifeSciences Plaza, "Ethics and Safety Initiatives".
https://www.lifescience.mext.go.jp/bioethics/index.html (Japanese only)
If the applicant's proposal requires consent/cooperation of other parties, it is important to ensure that appropriate measures for the protection of human rights are taken, i.e., do not engage in unethical behaviors.

4. Requirements for Passing Selection in Each Department

The essential conditions for passing the selection of each department are as follows.

General Matters
・ If an interview is to be scheduled after the screening process or after receiving an award, the applicants must be able to attend. In such cases, the transportation costs shall be covered by the executing agency of this program.
・If an interview is to be scheduled as part of the screening processes of each department, the applicants must be willing to attend meetings related to this program.
・If an applicant is affiliated with an organization, such as a corporation, written consent from the affiliated organization must be submitted after passing the screening committee or receiving an award. If an arrangement is required with the affiliated organization for the submission of a document of consent, the executing agency of this program will provide support.
・In the event you are selected as a nominee, challenger, or award winner, you agree to your name (or nickname), residing location, and proposal title being announced on the official website.

Disruptive Challenge
・ Applicants must be the originators of the technical proposal and must be the person who intends to achieve the resolution of the proposal independently. If the proposal is to be implemented within a group, the roles and responsibilities must not overlap.
・Applicants must be able to take all necessary steps towards the achievement of their target goals throughout the entire period of the challenge.

5. Points to Note Regarding Selection, etc.

General Matters
1. Regarding the Originality of the Contents of the Application
For the entire period of this program, it is strictly forbidden to plagiarize or infringe upon the ideas or intellectual property of third parties. Applicants must be aware, from the beginning of the application process, of the need to be duly vigilant with regard to any plagiarism and infringement of the ideas and intellectual property of third parties.

2. Handling of Malpractice
“Malpractice”, as defined by this program, refers to any and all acts that infringe upon general laws and regulations. For example, using goods supplied for the purpose of the technical proposal for any other purpose than the stated technical proposal would constitute malpractice.
This program forms part of the competitive funding system operated by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications of Japan. Measures for dealing with malpractice are disclosed in the “Policy regarding the Appropriate Implementation of Competitive Funding”. Applicants must read and understand this policy prior to submitting any application.
[Reference] Policy regarding the Appropriate Implementation of Competitive Funding
https://www8.cao.go.jp/cstp/compefund/shishin1.pdf

3. Obligation to Participate in Follow-up Inquiries
In order to continuously improve the program for the future, we shall implement inquiries on the status and situation of the applicants who have passed the screening process (at the point of the program and approximately 10 years later). Applicants who pass the screening are expected to cooperate with these inquiries.
In addition, Award winners will be surveyed following commendation. We kindly request that these winners participate in follow-up inquiries.

Disruptive Challenge
1. Matching with our Cooperative Partners
All applicants who do not pass the screening process (Challengers) shall be eligible to apply to the Cooperative Partners Program. However, from the perspective of protecting the applicants’ intellectual property, it should be noted that any participation in the program assumes the applicant has agreed to and will adhere to the cautionary guidelines set out in the application form.

2. Regarding Selection
・The nominees who have passed the screening process shall be contacted by the executing agency of this program regarding whether or not they desire to participate in the screening process.
・Supervisors will not intervene in the program proposals/challenges.
・Evaluation criteria are as follows:
・Originality: if the applicant demonstrates ideas and characteristics befitting a person capable of taking on the disruptive technical challenges.
・Self-Determination: if the applicant possesses strong and determinative attributes that do not expect justification from others
・Clarity and Understanding: if the applicant has a clear understanding of the problems, solutions, and possibilities.
・Indomitable Will: If the applicant possesses the indomitable will

Note on Translated Documents

If an issue should arise as a result of this document, all rules and regulations shall abide by the original Japanese document and in the event of any discrepancies the Japanese document shall take precedence.

Open Worldwide. All Nationalities.
All Ages. All Backgrounds.

Apply in English Apply in Japanese Apply in Thai

Application Deadline 08/02/2021 9:00AM GMT

Disruptive challenge
Generation Award