Lecture delivered by Dr. Saikat Chaudhuri, Professor at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and College of Engineering, on “Corporate Transformation and the Importance of Entrepreneurship and Innovation”

Berkeley Haas/BEE and Sophia University's partnership photo

On March 19, the Office of Sophia Future Design Platform (the Office of Professional Studies) of Sophia University welcomed Dr. Saikat Chaudhuri, Professor at the Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley (hereinafter called Berkeley Haas), to deliver a lecture on “Corporate Transformation and the Importance of Entrepreneurship and Innovation.”

Berkeley Haas, founded in 1898, is the second oldest business school in the United States, and offers world-class executive education and 6 degree programs including top-ranked MBA programs and the first online MBA option at a top-10 US business school, the Berkeley FLEX MBA. Berkeley Haas is known for world-class faculty with extensive Silicon Valley experience and their cutting-edge innovation and business research.

UC Berkeley is the top public university in the United States, leading the world in a wide range of fields including business, science, and technology, and more than 100 Nobel Prize Laureates have been awarded to its faculty and alumni members.

In collaboration with UC Berkeley Executive Education (hereinafter called Berkeley Exec Ed) and Berkeley Haas, Sophia University will offer a short-term business course “Innovation Boot Camp” in the fall semester of 2024, primarily for Professional Studies (PS) member companies.

This lecture was held to commemorate the launch of the “Innovation Boot Camp” and was attended by more than 200 participants, including employees of PS member companies, guests from Berkeley Haas and Berkeley Exec Ed, and Sophia students.

Opening remarks by President Terumichi

In his opening remarks, President Terumichi expressed his enthusiasm, saying that “Our PS offers a brand-new liberal arts program that will help to develop practical wisdom for those in the business sector. I am grateful for the partnership with Berkeley Exec Ed, a world-class institution offering executive education. We hope that you will be able to broaden your horizons and please look forward to collaborations between Berkeley Exec Ed and Sophia University.”

Lecture given by Dr. Chaudhuri

As Dr. Chaudhuri took the podium, the audience welcomed him with great applause, and he opened his speech with his grand expectations for Japan: ” I believe that the time has come for Japan. Innovation, entrepreneurship, intrapreneurship, or startups who drive disruption are going to flourish and once again take Japan to another new leadership position.” He also mentioned that the world has changed dramatically in recent years due to DX (Digital Transformation), and while giant tech companies are restructuring, startups are growing in areas such as AI, consumer tech, life sciences, green tech, and aerospace.

He emphasized the need to understand growth trends that vary from industry to industry. He also cited specific cases of large companies that successfully transformed their businesses by adopting new technological innovations, while those of former leading companies have declined. “The lesson for us looking at all these historical examples is we need to be able to spot when a change is occurring and then react very quickly, rather than trying to predict where technologies and markets are headed” he added.

He pointed out the characteristics of companies that have achieved successful innovation include: 1) Committed leaders (champions), 2) Getting new ideas and capabilities from outside the organization, and 3) Cultures of risk-taking and challenges to norms. He concluded his one-hour lecture by passionately calling upon the audience to seize the moment so that Japan once again leads in technology and innovation with the investment in the future.

Closing remarks by Vice President Irohara 

In his closing remarks, Vice President for Academic Affairs, Prof. Irohara noted that, in response to Dr. Chaudhuri’s lecture, “Once again, I realized that a willingness to take on challenges is the key to entrepreneurship and innovation,” and presented an overview of the “Innovation Boot Camp.”

Lecture venue
Lecture venue

Comments from participants (excerpts)

◆Member of Professional Studies:
“I learned exactly what I needed to know how to initiate innovation in large companies,” “I rediscovered the excitement of taking on new challenges,” “I was able to reconsider the meaning of a role in middle management,” etc.

◆Sophia Students:
“As a student, I gained courage for the future,” “The lecture and Q&A session were unlike anything I have ever experienced before, so I hope to learn more in greater depth,” etc.

About Sophia University Professional Studies

Established in April 2020 in a new attempt to create a place of learning through industry-university collaboration, the Sophia University Professional Studies Program is now in its fifth year. The program is designed to provide a new learning opportunity for students to sublimate the “liberal arts” required by working adults into practical wisdom by asking what type of knowledge supports the capacity to conceive and envision ideas centering on a theme of global compatibility and ingenuity. The program invites advisory partner/standard corporate members as well as individual applicants to participate. For details, please visit the following website.

About Innovation Boot Camp

This is a 4-day (3-day BEE program + 1-day Sophia program) short term business course, held in collaboration with Sophia University, Berkeley Haas and Berkeley Exec Ed, focusing on “Best Practices and Actionable Tools for Becoming an Innovative Leader.” This course is primarily for PS member companies. Specific details on dates, fees, etc. will be announced on the PS official website.

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