Moon Stories

First-Hand Experience Designing a New Business | Kickoff Event Key Learnings


ILLUMINATE, an event series by Moon Creative Lab, shines a light on the next generation of business creators. It’s our way of connecting with teams and individuals across Mitsui to create something that’s never been done before within the company.

On November 28, 2022, we hosted a kickoff event for the upcoming February ILLUMINATE at Moon Creative Lab’s Tokyo studio in order to inspire and educate future participants. Over 40 Mitsui & Co., employees hoping to create new businesses gathered to learn how to create memorable pitches and attend business design workshops to further develop their ideas. Through group discussions, participants exchanged feedback on their ideas and brainstormed together to explore ideas even further.

Kickoff Event Key Learnings

  1. How to create a memorable pitch 
  2. Define problems using design thinking 

All Mitsui employees were invited to share new business ideas with Moon through a company-wide open call. Once submissions closed, selected Idea Owners were asked to present their ideas for new business at the ILLUMINATE pitch event in February. If their idea is selected from the pitch event, they will be seconded to Moon to become Entrepreneurs-in-Residence (EIRs) and start their journey towards incubation. 

In order to grow excitement for the upcoming pitch event and help people learn more about Moon, we hosted a kickoff event with Moon Creative Lab team members. During this kickoff event, the Moon team provided a variety of programs to help potential idea owners and future entrepreneurs prepare for the upcoming event. 

Some of these programs included a workshop explaining the different types of Moon offerings and support towards business creation. Additional workshops offered tips on how to create a memorable pitch and how to refine ideas using design thinking.

1.How to create a memorable pitch

 Tomoyuki Takada, Head of Growth at Moon Creative Lab, explains how to create a memorable pitch.

Tomoyuki Takada, Head of Growth at Moon Creative Lab, gave participants tips on how to create a memorable pitch. He shared that in order to see your business idea come to life, you need to give a convincing pitch to receive any sort of investment. In order to do this, Tomoyuki stated that it’s important to create a memorable pitch, which you can do by following these six components:

  1. Keep it simple 
  2. Share the unexpected 
  3. Be specific 
  4. Share reliable facts
  5. Make it emotional 
  6. Tell a good story 

Tomoyuki emphasized that it's important for entrepreneurs to be able to explain their ideas simply in just a few words. For example, explaining your idea by comparing it to existing services and products that people are familiar with such as Uber, AirBnb, or Google. 

One example might be, "Uber that arrives at your home to watch your kids."

Tomoyuki also explained the importance of including unexpected information to surprise listeners by incorporating expressions using the five senses such as color, smell, taste, sound, and temperature. He also mentioned tips on including research to ensure reliability, telling personal experiences to convey emotions and reliability, and telling ideas in a story-based manner.

2.Workshop: Define problems using design thinking

Brainstorming using post-it notes

In this specially designed 90-minute workshop, participants experienced a condensed version of the design thinking process, which normally takes a few days or weeks. Similar to Moon's incubation process, participants went through several brainstorming sessions to identify challenges and their personal visions. Participants were able to identify the four key processes to prepare for research: 

  1. Painpoint mapping 
  2. User exploration 
  3. Bias check 
  4. Research preparation 

Participants need to not only identify issues and problems themselves, but also the reason why. Clarify motivations by answering questions like, “Who is impacted and how? What are their needs?” And by asking questions from various perspectives, as shown below, we can make ideas more concrete.

  • What are the users’ needs? 
  • Which of these needs are unfulfilled? 
  • Are there any needs that users are not aware of, but will notice once it’s mentioned?  

Identifying questions and using the answers to help clarify issues can make your pitch more convincing. 

Once issues have been identified with a painpoint map, examining market data can help understand feasibility. Analyzing the data can show how many people are experiencing the problem trying to be solved and find more details about target users. 

When brainstorming, it’s more about quantity than quality. It is important not to judge the quality of an idea right away, but to focus on visualizing the ideas. Map hypotheses and questions while being aware that ideas can be biased.

After identifying ideas, clarify the vision based on achievements, construct a story, consider what kind of hypothesis testing is necessary, and prepare for the next stage: research.

Participants’ reflections

懇親会 3.jpg
Kickoff social was held at Moon Tokyo Studio following the workshops

Some people who attended the event arrived with business ideas in mind, but there were also attendees who were genuinely interested in Moon and design thinking. A wide range of participants gathered, ranging from those with extensive overseas work experience to individuals in their first year at Mitsui. Moon team members also had a chance to interact and get to know participants even better. 

Be sure to stay up to date on ongoing ventures and newly selected ideas to be incubated on our website’s venture page. 


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