Pecha Kucha Night in the morning in the centre of Tokyo

Today I talked with other speakers in a 6 minutes, 20 slides, 20 seconds for each slide, about BoP and its innovation from the bottom-up.
It was really brilliant to find a great community on social designing, especially I was really interested in Second Harvest’s Charles, and’s Yoshi Kanematsu, whose design thinking is very similar to the process I followed so far, as far as I think. I would love to talk and deepen the knowledge more.

This is the 3rd week in Tokyo now and now getting to be a month away from my home. I am feeling like being really Japanese now since there is very few opportunity to think about globe, if you live in Tokyo. That is the struggle and the obstacle for those living in Tokyo, I feel.


SOCAP11: was it worth going?

I should have uploaded other topics learning from Wagoen, but will skip and put this article first.


SOCAP venue was in the old warehouse in the pier. (it was really cold out there….)

SOCAP was held last months (in the beginning of Sept) and it was the first time to visit this year. I heard so much about SOCAP, and there is both good and bad rumors. I will give my impression here, so that you can examine for the next year round.

First of all, it is surprisingly unknown by other people who never been there, that SOCAP was almost run by HUB people. HUB Bay Area’s founder is also the main person to run SOCAP. So, now you see, SOCAP is very embeded in the contexts of Bay Area, social innovation culture.

HUB SOMA (HUB SOMA is located in different place from SOCAP venue, so we gathered here at just only the pre-event night, not during this event.)

I am not  pure admirer of Bay Area culture, honestly speaking. There is a style. I can understand Bay Area style, but I know it’s not my style. So, my comments here are sometime ironical, or neutral in a way to look at this whole event.


During SOCAP, sessions are too many and of course I cannot attend all of them, and the schedules are packed. Most of the sessions are in some space or room in the warehouse, and it was rather “presentation-Q&A” style, so that the real interaction with each speaker were less than I had expected.

The contents are okay, but not impressive. Too many speakers, short sessions at each time.  (and sometime some of them are unimportant, unmature and they talked too much to spend a lot of time, so that all the discussions sounds like in the air, some of the brightest impressive remarks were made by only a few people.)

But the people gathered were excellent. (I don’t know why this all happen together.) I found some of the presentation really interesting.

Krista from D-rev.

Some of the presentation I heard were impressive. They are advocative and stimulating and making you sounds like “oh” or “hmmm” or “aha!”. This was really good experience that I can say SOCAP is worth coming.

Josh from Innosight. Talking about Mike Tyson?

If you are not familiar with Bay Area Culture or this sort of social innovation atmosphere, you will quickly grab the manner here. How you think, how you can express your self, how people will observe you in Bay Area social innovation manner. (even though you think it’s not your style, you can feel it here.)

It is very tough to find a good presentation. I heard so many people who came for the first time couldn’t find the good presentation, and they found the sessions are not as good as they expected.

But, actually, SOCAP is not for hearing presentation. This is the place you have to move actively to catch the people.

Socap is worth coming. but only if YOU HAVE A PURPOSE TO VISIT. If you have specific projects that you have to find a partner or investors, or you need to find other methodology that makes your work improved, it’s worth coming. But for the people who just start thinking about social innovation or social entrepreneurs, I think, they can find a good friends who also think like you, at the same level of struggle or thoughts, but they are mostly students from Bay Area. If you want to mingle with them, I suggest to apply for the volunteer to SOCAP, so that you don’t have to pay anything and work 18hours during this event and attend some presentation workshops.

But, the best thing in SOCAP is making a appointment to meet up. You should better carefully organize your self and focus to catch the important people that you have to talk. Some of them are not replying you back in advance, so that you should remember their face and meet them in the cafe by accident. But standing and saying Hello is important, and then within 5 mins talk, you will find a good partner for your business for next year.




(The showcase was displayed in the public: social entrepreneur’s design ideas.)

If you are the social entrepreneur, please GO TO SOCAP TO CATCH THE INVESTORS OR BUSINESS PARTNERS!!!!!!

As far as I saw in the showcases or social entrepreneurs’ pitch, there are very few new ideas coming in. I saw the same entrepreneurs in other Bay Area conferences, and there is a lack of new comers, especially from Africa and South Asia (other than India).

For example, I met so many Indian social entrepreneurs this time, and felt that this is typical to Bay Area, since Stanford seemed to nurture and attract investment to Indian social entrepreneurs’ sphere. But the people introduced here as a social entrepreneurs from developing countries are one of the big pool. Very limited number, limited ideas, and there is a lot  of opportunity to explore here.

I suggest to social innovators in other areas (other than Bay Area) should think twice to come over to this event, even though their style is different and maybe uncomfortable. Since you might get to know the logic of the investors from Sillicon Valey social Angels, and also they will notice you here. For them, it’s almost miracle to find you from the sea of many sparkling stars.

If you hesitate, please contact me. I will recommend you anyone to SOCAP related or HUB, and also will update the scholarship program for you to come over to SOCAP.

WAGOEN story 1: been to the site of WAGO-EN in Japan

I spent three weeks in Japan recently work with my colleagues in my team and welcomed the Indian social company partners in Japan.

As we had discussed before in our project with Indian Social company Drishtee, the social companies regarding agriculture and farmers solidarity in Japan has something unique that we can learn about.
I insisted to take them to Wago-en, and (most of the group were a bit suspicious about what WAGOEN is in the beginning), but the trip to Chiba prefecture to see the WAGO-EN’s activity was incredible. It was much beyond that our expectations.

Wago-en was formed by one poor farmer, a son of farmer in rural area of Japan in 1991. The idea was not clear at that moment but Mr. Kiuchi who is the main farmer of founders tried “everything that will raise their income”. In the beginning, the farmers like Mr. Kiuchi’s family earned very little, because of their weak negotiation power, linkage to the market, and the attractiveness of products, etc…. His family found that their revenue is always less than their expenditure, and Mr. Kiuchi noticed that this is not going to last long. He graduated the college and came back to his house and finally decided to help the family out of poverty.

After a long continuous search for better way of producing, earning and selling, the Wago-en was autonomously formed with several farmers in Yamada town.

I saw the Wagoen documentary in NHK’s “Professional” TV program and was really shocked… What is this? Where is this? Who is this? and then finally got a chance to see their operation site at the end.
This is the company we should really connect any collaborators or friends in BoP spheres with… I was so excited to seek more opportunities to bring our partners into the site there.

Why was I so excited about? Why is it related with BoP business? What was the concept shared?….

To be continued to next post…..

I was supposed to be in Amsterdam to joi

I was supposed to be in Amsterdam to join #SOCAP europe, but now I’m in Indonesia to deal with my BOP project. Maybe SOCAP US revenge!

Streetbank London

I am recently became a member of StreetBank, online community of borrowing, lending and give-away. This is the most interesting peer-to-peer system I have now in my mind.

The reason why I became so addicted is that this site looks really fun and human. If you register, I can know the people who lives around me in a mile and will know what kind of lifestyle they spend. They offered some equipments to borrow, or skills to help moving furnitures, or just shouting out to borrow some computer from someone. I can feel the buzz from the street, it’s a very cheerful street actually.

Now in London, I feel so lonely sometime as many neighbors will never get to know each other deeply unless they have a child. If you have a child, you should have a certain time to spare for communicating other mothers and fathers, but if you don’t, there is no need to talk with neighbors. That is the london.

This streetbank gives me a sense of humor, and some opportunities to know the people who lives around me. This site looks much better than Gumtree, as it somehow screen the people with cooperative mindset.

If you have a chance, please have a look and register.

Yunus was back, but also next generation

Yunus was back, but also next generation will come. RT @shinotsuchiya: YUNUS’s appeal against dismissal rejected

Yunus is back!

After a long turmoil in Microfinance world after the big scandal of Prof.Yunus’s struggle, he is now back in the danone.communities general meeting on 28th April in Paris. It was said to be the first time for him to go out of the country and have a presentation in front of the audience after that affair. Everyone was excited that he was there. (Especially Danone people were excited since their Guru was now released from the big threatening scandal.) He is the icon of microfinance, but from his real statements on that day, he didn’t look like being exhausted. He is more energized and clearly mentioned. Microfinance itself doesn’t have a wrong direction. This time, the engagement of politics made the things worse!!

He clearly criticized this time the politicians’ greed and their bad intention to utilize the power. He was furious, and he was energized and powerful. Yunus was raising his hand up in the air in front of the big 2000 audience, and said, “We protected the share of the poor!” He mentioned that the Grameen Bank was threaten to shift to be under the control of the Government, but he and his staffs in Grameen was fighting back to protect the bank. As his way of saying goes, the bank was owned by the shareholders, who is the mothers of the poors.

He is now coming out from the ashes, being more powerful than ever. As he predicted, the Indian government and Reserve Bank of India, the finance central authority, had enacted the guideline for microfinance submitted by the Malegam Committee for the country’s microfinance industry. >> The confusion happened in India, caused by the double-debt affairs by borrowers in Andhra Pradesh, will affect the whole industry a big much damage, but gradually it is getting to be stabilized.

Now in Japan, after the Tsunami, the discussion started regarding the financial support for victims in Tohoku area. And in the discussion, the lessons learnt in India was also refrained. Loans to victims after the disaster and any re-start-up entrepreneurs in Tohoku area, should be carefully treated to avoid the multi-debt situation.