The rest of the 50 (in alphabetical order): Kazuyoshi Torii, head of open innovation promotion office, Hitachi

Kazuyoshi Torii is responsible for open innovation in Japan-based electronics manufacturer Hitachi’s research and development (R&D) group including strategic investments in startup companies.

Prior to taking up this role in April 2018, he had been based in the UK for five years from 2013 as chief technology officer and general manager of centre for social innovation in Europe, also part of the R&D group.

There, Torii oversaw approximately 70 researchers, working in five sectors – rail, automotive, energy, industry and healthcare. He helped define the group’s mission as providing innovation to solve the problems of matured society with leading customers and regions in Europe that have high ambition, and applying the solution to the global market.

More specifically, he helped solve issues related to decrepit infrastructure and ageing society using a co-creation approach collaborating with customers.

When Hitachi’s London office was launched in April 2017, Torii said: “Our new facility, a workspace designed to stimulate and drive ‘radical innovation’, is the hub for Hitachi’s social innovation activity in Europe by our multi-cultural R&D teams. We will pursue collaborative projects with our customers and partners by offering a structured innovation process – NExperience – and a unique blend of advanced research, data analytics and vision and service design expertise to resolve challenges that will be faced by matured society.”

Torii also managed an embedded laboratory located in the physics department of Cambridge University, which dealt with quantum information processing, spintronics and electron beam optics to develop breakthrough technologies.

He added: “Cambridge Consultants’ open and collaborative approach has transformed and energised the innovation culture in Hitachi R&D. Our global centres for social innovation now share a common language and agile innovation framework. This has accelerated our development process and empowered our teams to deliver radical and customer-focused innovation.”

His relationship with Hitachi dates back to 1988 when he joined as a scientific researcher, where he worked on process and integration of capacitor dielectrics for DRAM (dynamic random-access memory) and ferroelectric thin films for Ferroelectric RAM (random-access memory) at Hitachi’s central research laboratory.

In addition, Torii had been a visiting researcher at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne from 1998 to 1999. He holds a bachelor and a master’s degrees in physics from Keio University, as well as a PhD in engineering physics and applied physics from Tokyo Institute of Technology.

Edison Fu

Edison Fu is a reporter and Asia liaison at Global Corporate Venturing.