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Mission and Vision

To facilitate design-based innovation and change management, including digital transformation, connecting business interests in Silicon Valley, Japan and Europe

To mobilize design thinking and strategic foresight (Design Foresight) to work on the challenges facing businesses and organizations today

To put people and their values first in managing innovation and change

Who we are

Kimi and Michael have been working together since 2016 asking and answering questions such as:

  • How do we develop a lasting culture of creative experiment and innovation in our businesses and organizations? 

  • How do we build an innovation-savvy leadership team? 

  • How should we understand who might be our future customer or community member? 

  • What are the skills needed for creative and flexible response to uncertain futures, and how do we learn and apply them now?

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Kimi Iwamura

VBC Founder and Managing Director

Founder and CEO

Kimi's extensive expertise in Japanese business culture has developed over several decades of senior-level management roles and as a collaborative agent with esteemed Japanese corporations. His distinguished career encompasses multiple dimensions, underscoring his proficiency as a strategic planner and his skill in facilitating collaboration by bridging cultural differences between American and Japanese contexts. In recent years, he has transitioned from a technology-centric collaboration agent to a more human-centric approach.

During his tenure as a strategic planning manager for Fuji Xerox in Japan, a pinnacle of success in US-Japanese cooperation, Kimi played a pivotal role in
nurturing collaboration and promoting the exchange of ideas and innovations. With over 25 years of experience based in Silicon Valley, he has assumed leadership positions as president and CEO of two Japanese subsidiaries, spearheaded the establishment of research centers, such as FXPAL and Nissan, and executed intricate technology transfer strategies that leverage his
extensive networks in both the United States and Japan. These networks encompass a diverse range of institutions, including prestigious research universities like Stanford and UC Berkeley, national laboratories, and thriving venture communities.

Among his notable achievements are the cross-border collaborations he has initiated, most notably the groundbreaking partnership between Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Omron Corporation of Japan. This collaboration not only enhanced technological capabilities but also generated substantial revenue. Most recently, Kimi has played a pivotal role in promoting knowledge-focused collaboration for Nissan Ltd. since 2011, Aisin Corporation since 2014, and Biprogy since 2020.

Kimi's educational foundation is anchored by a Bachelor of Science in Liberal Arts with a specialization in Physics from International Christian University in Tokyo.

In essence, Kimi is a visionary and a driving force for collaboration, whose dynamic career has profoundly influenced the Japanese-American business culture and propelled technological innovation. His unwavering dedication to creating collaborative ecosystems continues to redefine the future of international business partnerships.

Michael Shanks

Michael Shanks

Stanford University faculty and collaborating Consultant

One of the most original and influential of contemporary archaeologists and an award winning communicator, Michael’s research into change management and innovation across cultures and through history offers unique and actionable insights for organizations and corporations who seek the foresight to adapt and innovate in times of complex uncertainty.

Michael is a faculty leader of the Strategic Foresight and Innovation group in the Center for Design Research at Stanford University, researching, developing and applying tools, processes and competencies in design foresight — next-generation design thinking. As well as sharing design foresight with start-ups, corporations, organizations and communities for nearly 20 years, Michael deploys the tool kit in his archaeological studies of antiquity and prehistory.

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