World Innovation Lab – WiL: Transforming Japanese Corporations

By Charles O’Reilly, Sheila Melvin, Ulrike Schaede
2023 | Case No. OB112 | Length 16 pgs.
This case features a protagonist (Gen Isayama - GSB 2003) who established and runs a VC firm/incubator called World Innovation Lab (WiL)that is based in Palo Alto and focuses on Japanese companies. The case explores the state of entrepreneurship in Japan; the launch of the VC, and its novel approach to LP relationships. It provides examples of corporations who have undergone successful transformation after working with WiL and of joint ventures in which WiL has invested.

Learning Objective

The case allows students to understand the strategy, philosophy, and inner workings of a successful Silicon Valley VC/incubator. It also provides them with insights into the Japanese business environment, especially as it relates to entrepreneurs. Students will understand what the VC founder learned: that it is possible to change people’s mindsets and, in so doing, transform the culture of a large organization—or maybe even a nation—to make it more innovative.
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