Subject classificationRecognition of Social Issues
Subject namProfessionals and Value Creation B/D
Guest speakerYuko Sasahara, General Manager, Life Style Innovation Department, NTT DOCOMO, Inc;
Taiki Houno, Director, NTT DOCOMO Ventures, Inc
Date and timeThursday, December 21th, 2023 18:00-20:00
MethodOokayama Campus South Building 4 S4-202 and online (Zoom)

On December 21th, 2023, Sasahara-san, the General Manager, Life Style Innovation Department, NTT DOCOMO, Inc, and Houno-san, Director, NTT DOCOMO Ventures, Inc, visited the Ookayama campus and had a lively conversion with students.

Guest Speakers

Yuko Sasahara-san

Taiki Houno-san

Sahara san entered the NTT DOCOMO Inc. in 1995. Over the course of a decade, she contributed significantly to the i-mode service, specializing in device and service specifications planning. Her expertise extended to managing device line-ups and shaping design/UX strategy. Following her MBA studies, Sahara played a pivotal role in various new business creation initiatives, notably contributing to programs like ’39 Works’ and ‘Launch Challenge.’ In June 2021, she was assigned as CEO at NTT DOCOMO Ventures,  a subsidiary company of NTT DOCOMO, overseeing co-creation, investment, and incubation support. Functioning as a corporate venture capital (CVC) for both NTT DOCOMO and the broader NTT Group, she has been instrumental in driving innovation. Since June 2023, she got a new assignment in NTT DOCOMO, and has focused on one new business creation at her current department; mainly consumer business promotion and smart life business in fields such as energy, mobility, and security.


The lecture started with the introduction to NTT DOCOMO which has been conducted at the Life Style Innovation Department. Beyond merely marketing smartphones, NTT, a parent company of NTT DOCOMO, also focuses on creating a new world of communication culture. NTT perceives communication as the exchange of information between “something” and “something” and a means of achieving communication. At present, the 5G age has arrived. The technologies to achieve high-speed and large-volume communication have been investigated.

Advancements in technology, such as the integration of 4K, 8K, VR, 3D images, and multi-angle viewing, mark significant strides in the realm of entertainment. This development has substantially broadened the horizons of possibilities. Beyond the conventional linkages between smartphones and computers, the Internet now facilitates connections across a myriad of devices, propelling the Internet of Things (IoT) towards creating a more convenient world. Compared to the 4G, the 5G achieved low latency, which enables use at sites that require high real-time performance dramatically expanding the scope of communication technologies.
In all, using telecommunications, the target is to realize a new society style focusing on people connections, people-things connections, and things connections. This approach not only enhances a diverse array of businesses and services but also presents a realistic avenue for substantial improvement.

Through the provision of data, we gained insights into the formidable strengths of NTT DOCOMO in the large customer base, and highly developed technology, all different items clearly show the power of this large traditional company. Beyond its core communication services, NTT DOCOMO is also committed to the smart life business, endeavoring to make a better society by creating new value lifestyles, such as content services, XR, e-sports, finance and settlement, healthcare, and more.

At the same time, the life style innovation department is developed to update lifestyles and create a well-being society. The business focus spans social infrastructure innovation, personal development, and regional Digital Transformation (DX) through the integration of 5G and Innovative Optical Wireless Network (IOWN). The ‘DOCOMO Denki’ project aligns with the green plan, actively contributing to the promotion of carbon neutrality. The department also focuses on mobility and security. By delivering lifestyle services, the ultimate goal is to shape a new realm of communication culture, adding another layer to NTT DOCOMO’s transformative endeavors.

Based on the introduction and analysis of the NTT DOCOMO business styles, Sahara san shared ideas about the new business on the creation from business divisions, creation by internal entrepreneurs, and open innovation through startups and other external collaboration. Starting from internal entrepreneurship, it is important to create a small number of products to test market hypotheses in small and efficient increments with minimal risk. By using the stage gate method and setting the key performance indicator (KPI) at each stage, and if the achievement is confirmed, the project can also proceed to the next stage. If the achievement is confirmed, the project can proceed to the next stage; so called as “Lean Startup approach”. So far, great achievements have been made through this project such as the establishment of a business division, subsidiary, and business projects. One subsidiary “e-Craft” offered education for children. By combining hardware and software, the embot focus on offering a variety of additional services and contents. In the lecture, Sahara san also emphasized that anyone can easily organize the event from 100 people to tens of thousands of people, a platform such as digital transformation (DX) where fans and enjoy events and support artists and other entertainers. To do so, the “teket” offers a possible method.

“Docomo STARTUP” combines the topics of “COLLEGE”, “CHALLENGE” and “GROWTH”, which highly support internal entrepreneurs and create many new businesses that can survive and win. The idea of open innovation introduced in the lecture also opened our minds. According to the comparison of investment amounts, Japan is still low compared to other countries. However, there is still supporting power, specifically the companies “NTT DOCOMO Venture, Inc.” By uniting the strengths and aspirations of NTT group companies with startup companies and venture capital firms that match business/ technology needs, a driving force that can unite at the global power is created for the future and contribute to the growth of both parties.

Through discussion, the path of 39 works is introduced as the challenges in the operation of a new business creation program, focusing on the organization, putting into the process, and accumulation/ sharing of know-how. The introduction on creating mechanisms to connect startups and companies. Also, NTT investment partners Funds No. 4(NIP 4) support an acceleration of the innovation and collaboration in its services and technologies by investing in venture companies with technologies and know-how for creating new value through IOWN, data-driven value creation, and the realization of a recycling-based society.

(Reported by Yuejie Tan, School of Engineering, D1, 2023 ISE student)