ICF Business Acceleration Program 2021

Resolving societal issues
through business

MRI’s Initiative for Co-creating the Future (ICF) has launched the 2021 rendition of its future co-creation acceleration program for
startups—sights are set on ensuring a prosperous and sustainable world in light of the forecoming 10 billion population and 100 year-life era


The 2021 Business Acceleration Program (BAP) will be
centered on
keywords: new normal and behavior change.

The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare upon the
world greater complexity, uncertainty,
and unpredictability.
The new normal brings with it
new issues previously dormant
that now have the attention of humanity at large.

Yet the catastrophy has sparked
dialogue about new values,
lifestyles and social systems.
Innovation too is abound,
and initiatives are growing to enhance
sustainability and well-being.

The new normal must be used to ensure
that the act of resolving societal issues serves as
an opportunity
for humanity to start on the
path toward a brighter future.
Business can link solutions to growth
as long as they provide their users with
effortless change in behavior.

The ICF invites all to join in creating
a world where business resolves societal issues.
A membership organization run by the
Mitsubishi Research Institute,
the ICF aims to co-create solutions to societal
issues through open innovation,
and to contribute to the creation of
collective impact.
As the first step, the BAP sets the stage for
envisioning the desirable future world,
cultivating new markets,
and building prosperity and sustainability for all.

THEME Proposals must address one or
more of the following six themes.

Mitsubishi Research Institute vision for future world

A prosperous,sustainable world in the 10 billion population and 100-year life era

    A Society where Everyone Can Enjoy a Vibrant and Healthy Life


    Clean, free and safe for everyone
    Society capable of meeting mobility needs


    Society Where Safe and Secure Water and Food are Provided to All


    A resilient society where the safety
    and security of all is assured


    A Society where Everyone Can Enjoy Clean and Sustainable Resources and Energy


    RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT A World Where Everyone is Empowered to Contribute to


A Society where
Everyone Can Enjoy a
Vibrant and Healthy Life

  • Societal issues that need to be resolved
  • Example Solutions
  • Insufficient environment in which women can play active roles both physically and mentally
  • Support to receive medical checkups and examinations; mental health support; childcare support; infertility treatment support; career support
  • Healthy life expectancy limited by lifestyle-related diseases
  • New means for behavior change such as the use of multifaceted perspectives including behavioral economics and marketing
  • Ubiquitous health care resources; lack of health care worker resources
  • Sharing of knowledge among doctors by the widespread use of online medical care and the digitization of medical care
  • Increasing social security expenditures in nursing care and lack of human resources
  • Preventing the need for long-term care; support for long-term care through means such as the standardization of services via scientific approachand the utilization of DX)
  • Rise in the number of people with poor mental health
  • Measures regarding leave of absence, quitting, and presenteeism; mental care for all generations


Society Where Safe and
Secure Water and Food
are Provided to All People

  • Societal issues that need to be resolved
  • Example Solutions
  • Low productivity (low income) of domestic
    agricultural and fishery industries; shortage of
    workers and successors
  • Productivity improvement through farmland consolidation, mechanization, and ICT adoption; matching of new farmers with profitable agriculture; part-time farming in the new era as a side job or purpose to live
  • Lack of efficiency and reliability over the supply chain
  • Platform for increasing efficiency through visualization of production, supply, and consumption; improving food traceability; expanding exports
  • Revealing the environmental impact of global agriculture
  • Innovation as an extension of existing agriculture such as plant factories; new food production systems such as cultured meat and genome editing; conversion of existing agriculture to organic agriculture; zero CO2 emissions
  • Increasing the number of idle farmland and the need to expand the use of renewable energy
  • Mechanism to realize farmland management and expansion of agglomeration; new mechanism to utilize farmland to spread renewable energy
  • Shortage of available water resources
  • Establishment of a system to ensure the absolute amount of water and improve water quality; system to balance supply and demand


A Society where
Everyone Can Enjoy
Clean and Sustainable
Resources and Energy

  • Societal issues that need to be resolved
  • Example Solutions
  • Insufficient promotion of decarbonized power sources
  • Minimizing error in forecasting for renewable energy in combination with energy storage systems; innovation in decarbonization technology
  • Insufficient change in consumer behavior
  • Solutions to promote electrification and energy conservation; accessible information and incentives to facilitate behavior change
  • insufficient promotion of circular economy
  • Improving the efficiency of waste collection and recycling processes including rare resources such as small home appliances; improving the utilization of biomass resources
  • Environmental pollution/degradation; and loss of biodiversity
  • Solutions for air, water, and soil pollution; use of environmental monitoring to preventive polution


Clean, free and safe for
Society capable of
meeting mobility needs

  • Societal issues that need to be resolved
  • Example Solutions
  • Reduced opportunities to go out
  • Mechanisms to promote the creation of opportunities to go out such as through economic incentives; mechanisms to enhance the convenience of going out such as transportation that matches user needs and support systems required by such advanced transportation
  • Growing need to get things done without physically moving
  • A system to enhance customer experience based on the fusion and combination of real and digital technologies
  • Negative effects of a vehicle-centric society
  • Human centered urban development including environmental pollution countermeasures and traffic accident countermeasures
  • Insufficient logistics capacities that fail to meet increasing demand
  • New transportation system; labor-saving and unmanned delivery


A resilient society
where the safety and
security of all is

  • Societal issues that need to be resolved
  • Example Solutions
  • Inadequate resilience in social systems to deal with natural disasters
  • Systems for matching supply and demand for information and materials during both disasters and everyday situations; visualization of the effects of disaster prevention and mitigation measures; integrated and open forecasts and real-time information
  • Insufficient crisis awareness and behavioral change among individuals
  • Mobile applications for rapid evacuation during disaster; mechanisms to foster behavior change throughout everyday life to avoid future danger from disasters (e.g. disaster prevention education, products and services that work both in everyday situations and during disasters)
  • Insufficient efficiency in maintenance, management, and anti-aging measures for social infrastructure
  • Increased profitability through transfer of operations to private sector; supply-demand balancing; efficient maintenance of infrastructure; greater efficiency through compact cities
  • Urban Decay Caused by Increasing Number of Vacant Houses
  • Developing vacant houses into useful assets for uses such as living between multiple regions


A World Where Everyone
is Empowered to
Contribute to Society

  • Societal issues that need to be resolved
  • Example Solutions
  • Unequal educational opportunities
  • Greater uptake of digital technology in education such as support for distance learning, better learning management, and sharing of learning progress
  • Lack of opportunities for recurrent education
  • Providing opportunities for recurrent education and learning; promoting autonomous learning through means such as the measurement of educational effectiveness, diversifying motivators for learning, elimination of the gap between motivation and behavior
  • Lack of responsiveness to new learning
  • Mechanisms to help students learn new things through means such as programming education, non-cognitive development programs, financial education, entrepreneurial education, and innovation education
  • Inadequate response to the spread of new ways of working and the accompanying changes in behavior
  • New ways of working and corresponding systems for capacity development and organization building
  • Imbalance in supply and demand for human resources; decline in productivity and competitiveness
  • Systems to eliminate the jobs-to-employees mismatch; and career education that meets diverse needs and positions

Co-Creation System CO-CREATION

The BAP offers participants with
opportunity for mentoring
by MRI researchers with expertise
over a wide range of
specialized fields and a unique
perspective on future prospects.
Our co-creation system also features
the networks
of each division
within MRI and ICF,
all which can be used for co-creation.

Benefits & Takeaways Takeway

Business Support
from MRIFull use of think-tank expertise
and networks

  • Providing Impact Strategy Support,
    an MRI Unique Method

    MRI researchers offer support by reviewing business strategy with an eye to maximize impact and by creating a framework for further consideration. MRI also offers quantitative and qualitative visualizations for the social impact of each product and service from short-, medium-, and long-term perspectives. Based on these research results, researchers will help formulate strategies to effect the greatest impact on society.

  • Co-Creation and Implementation
    with Individual MRI Divisions

    MRI’s various outward facing divisions can provide the knowledge and networks necessary for commercialization: industry and business analysis, business model development, sales channel development, and legal and accounting support. Each division within MRI is at the forefront of its given industry.

*Support customized to each applicant

Collaboration with ICFApplicants have the chance to work
with the ICFs extensive
network of
540 members*, all companies and
that focus on
resolving societal issues

*As of June 1, 2021
  • Co-Creation

    Applicants are introduced to ICF members keen to develop business ideas. The ICF secretariate will coordinate collaboration and co-creation with members who aim to resolve societal issues. ICF will also offer support for the early implementation of solutions in society.

  • A Host of Networking

    Applicants will be provided with a host of opportunities to network with ICF members: seminars, discussion events, and workshops hosted by MRI and ICF. ICF can also intoduce applicants to institutional investors who understand business geared at resolving societal issues.

*Support customized to each applicant


MRI features a deep bench of
initiatives to resolve societal issues.
Example #1: The
"Woman's Health and Activities
Support Solution Concept"

The Woman's Health and Activities Support Solution Concept focuses on
the fact that women have higher health risks than men and aims to create
a world in which women can play an active role in society by reducing all
health risks arising from changes life stages.

The initiative features activities to create collective impact that contributes to women's wellbeing by tackling societal issues through a multi-stakeholder approach that utilizes the MRI business network and ties with ICF members, including BAP graduates.

  • Co-Creation with MRI

    Investment and Alliance with
    Lily MedTech Corporation

    MRI has invested in and partnered with Lily MedTech, a startup developing innovative breast imaging devices to promote women-friendly breast cancer testing. Utilizing MRI knowledge and networks, MRI conducted an awareness survey on breast cancer screening among 1000 women. MRI is supporting LilyMedTech’s business development.

  • Co-Creation with ICF

    Implementation of working groups
    aimed at reducing the stree of mothers

    A workin group was formed by the Sumitomo Life Insurance Company(ICF member), several startups including BAP finalists, and MRI to study business solutions using ICT and other technologies capable of reducing the stress of mothers.


  • June 16, 2021
    Application Opened
  • July 26, 2021
    Application Closed
  • Early- to Mid-
    August, 2021
    Document Screening
  • Early- to Mid-
    Online Presentation Screening
  • Late September, 2021
    Finalists Announced
  • October 1
    to Early
    Mentoring Period*To be conducted online
    (in-person interviews available only through prior consultation)
    The mentoring period offers finalists with the expertise of business consultants,
    researchers, and external advisors familiar with each area of specialization. Finalists are also introduced to ICF members
  • December 10,
    Final PitchFinalists have the chance for a go at winning one of the multiple prizes including Grand Prize
    (1 million yen prize) and
    Mitsubishi Research Institute Prize.
    *The format and location of the meeting will be decided in light of the social situation.
    *The Final Review Board for 2020 was held online.
  • Late December,
    Full-Scale Collaboration PhaseFinalists can joining ICF and co-create with members through
    the Initiative’s full-range of activities
    Finalists can also enjoy business collaboration with MRI,
    potential investment,
    and support via research activities

Final Review Board

  • Hiroshi Komiyama

    Mitsubishi Research

  • Richard Dasher

    US-Asia Technology
    Management Center,
    Stanford University

  • Tomy Kamada

    CEO and Founder of TomuK Ltd.

  • Yasuo Sugiyama

    Professors Emeritus, Kyoto University and Professor,
    Graduate School of Modern Management,
    Sugiyama Jogakuen University​

  • Hiroshi Menjyo

    Managing Partner​,
    NSV Wolf Capital

※Judges may be changed due to scheduling reasons.



Deadline Monday, July 26, 2021
  • The applicant must be a for-profit company
  • The proposal must feature a business model hypothesis
  • The proposal must be for a new business
  • * Businesses that have already been launched also qualify in the case that
    they require further development or are a second try at launch
  • ** New businesses of large companies do not qualify
  • The proposal aims to resolve the societal issues of today and of the future
    through business and in line with MRI’s vision for the future world.
Applicants may submit proposals for solutions (business models) on current
and future societal issues that will contribute to the realization of MRI’s vision
for the future world. The poposals must address at least one of the following
six priority areas: Wellness, Water and Food, Energy and Environment,
Mobility, Disaster Prevention and Infrastructure,
Education and Human Resource Development.
The intellectual property rights of the business models and products
developed during the Acceleration Program belong to the applicant.

If you have any questions or concerns
about this program, please contact us at

Program Management Organizer: the ICF Secretariat, Mitsubishi Research Institute.
Please check the
following for the latest information on the Business Acceleration

FacebookPage  TwitterPage

Previous Program Reports:Here