Lina (Sakai) Watanabe, the President and Representative Director of Fermenstation Co., Ltd. conducted a lecture and workshop for AppTech students last November 30, 2018. She shared her stories and insights about working with the local communities in Iwate Prefecture. Introducing technology into a community could be tough, that’s why it is crucial to work with the people and the local government for its implementation. She discussed about the importance of branding and design in promoting new technologies. She have given some advice on what are the funding options available for a seed technology and how to communicate with investors. She also tackled about the issues caused by wild animals especially in rural areas in Japan.
External mentors were also invited during this session. Felix Ipanaque (Entrepreneur/Engineer) and Marita Ibanez (Visual Artist/Designer) were there to advise students about the sustainability of their projects. During this workshop, students have presented the current developments of their projects and what are their long-term vision for it. Then each team received advice from external mentors and course facilitators.
The discussions focused on answering questions like: Why will their target users continuously use their products? Who will fund/buy their products, What is the business model? What are the strategies to be used in introducing their product to the community?
The take-home message during this workshop is to always include the community in the branding of your product and always seek the support of the local government for its implementation. To achieve this, the product should have a clear mission/vision that various stakeholders could easily relate to.