Dec. 07, 2016

Toyota to Launch the TOYOTA NEXT Open Innovation Program

Proposals Accepted on the TOYOTA NEXT Site Starting December 7


Toyota City, Japan, December 7, 2016―Toyota Motor Corporation will launch the TOYOTA NEXT open innovation program on December 7. Toyota will accept and review proposals for new services which are submitted by various companies and R&D organizations regarding their proposed topics, and will develop new services with the selected companies.

Japan is currently undergoing a variety of changes, such as low birth rates and a growing aging population, as well as an increased concentration of the population in urban areas with a corresponding depopulation of rural areas. The country is also advancing in terms of IT and technology. Against this backdrop, Toyota believes that as a business entity, it must respond in a broad manner in a timely fashion to the diversifying consumer needs.

The TOYOTA NEXT program is intended to promote joint development of new services by utilizing new ideas, technologies, and solutions held by various companies and R&D organizations regardless of scale, as well as by businesses that have already launched services, which departs from our usual practices of trying to be self-sufficient in terms of development.

Starting in 2017, Toyota plans to jointly develop and release in stages, a variety of services that focus on people and is able to provide a heightened element of Waku-Doki (excitement and anticipation) to the lives of customers in Japan in the future.

Overview of the TOYOTA NEXT Open Innovation Program
Proposal submission period

December 7, 2016 - February 20, 2017

Assets that can be provided by Toyota
  1. Big Data
    • Data that can be acquired from connected cars
  2. Points of Contact
    • Dealer Network
    • Owned Media (, LINE accounts, email magazines, etc.)
  3. Products & services
    • Smart Key Box (a device that locks and unlocks a car using a smartphone)
    • TransLog (a vehicle transport management service for corporate customers)
    • i-Road (a personal mobility vehicle)
    • T-Connect (communications services using navigation and other functions)
    • TC Smartphone Navigation App (a navigation service accessed via a smartphone)

In addition to the above, Toyota's product lineup (vehicles and accessories) can be used.

The above assets are indicated on the premise of investigation, and separate consultations will be necessary to determine if specific assets can be provided to create services.

Proposal topics
  1. Safe and secure services that eliminate the lack of security regarding mobility for all people
  2. Services that promote automobile use which provides a more pleasant and enjoyable mobility experience
  3. Services that will help attract car fans and enhance owner loyalty
  4. One-to-one services that make use of data in Toyota's possession
  5. Dealer services provided by Toyota dealers nationwide

Proposals for innovative services that do not fall under any of the above topics may also be submitted.

Website URL

Eligibility of Participants
  • Individual engineers, persons engaged in R&D, and others and organizations such as universities and companies that are developing innovative technologies, solutions, or services that can be expected to have business applications

Entrants are not restricted by age or nationality, as long as proposals are submitted in Japanese.

Individual engineers and persons engaged in R&D and organizations or teams that are unincorporated at the time of submission may submit proposals.

All companies ranging from startups/ventures, small and medium businesses, to large enterprises, or a single division of a company may submit proposals.

Submission requirements of the proposal
  • Expectations of potential collaborative business or synergy effects with Toyota Motor Corporation
  • Ability to allocate resources towards measures for carrying out joint development with Toyota Motor Corporation during the screening, and after the selection of the TOYOTA NEXT program
  • Ability to consider with a positive attitude, collaboration with Toyota including a capital tie-up or business tie-up over the medium to long term
  • Submitted materials, presentations, etc. are to be in Japanese.
  • Business details may not be contrary to established standards that maintain public order and morals
Screening process
  • Submission of documents (by February 20)
  • Document review (late February)
  • Initial screening (March)
  • Secondary screening (April-June)
  • Final screening (scheduled for mid-July)
  • Final selection of companies (late July)
  • Service development and launch (after August)

The number of companies to be selected has not been determined at this time.

Planned Screening members
  • Shigeki Tomoyama, Senior Managing Officer, Toyota Motor Corporation
  • Yasuhiko Sato, Managing Officer, Toyota Motor Corporation
  • Shuichi Murakami, Managing Officer, Toyota Motor Corporation
  • Rei Inamoto, Co-Founder and Creative Director, Inamoto & Co.
  • Tomoya Sasaki, Senior Vice President, Digital Garage, Inc.
  • Toyota Next Office (Toyota Motor Corporation / Open Network Lab)
  • A small number of experts in their respective fields have also been selected
Partner companies
  • Inamoto & Co.
    TOYOTA NEXT creative oversight and selection support
  • Digital Garage, Inc. & DG Incubation, Inc.
    TOYOTA NEXT operational office and selection support
  • Toyota will provide support for service development expenses. The resulting outputs (intellectual property, technology, and know-how) will be owned by both the selected company and Toyota.
  • Both the selected company and Toyota will be able to use the outputs without charge.
  • All outputs will be handled as confidential information (the confidentiality period will be determined separately).
  • However, separate consultations will be conducted in the following cases:
    • In the case where Toyota bears all service development expenses;
    • In the case where the other party's intellectual property, technology, or know-how is used; and
    • In the case where Toyota invests in the selected company.
  • Toyota will not respond to individual inquiries regarding details of the screening, or the screening results.
  • Entrants must pay all expenses relating to the submission of proposals.
  • In the event of any conduct that contradicts standards that maintains public order and morals during the program period, the decision of the selection will be invalidated.
  • Entrants must ensure in advance, that copyrights and other intellectual property rights of third parties are not infringed.
  • It is possible to submit an entry even if investment has been obtained from another company, but the investor's approval must be obtained.

The schedule is subject to change.

Please refer to the TOYOTA NEXT website for details regarding the program.

Overview of Partner Company
Inamoto & Co.

Inamoto & Co. is a business innovation studio that seeks to develop new business fields which is centered on design, data, and technology. Inamoto proposed the Toyota Next Program, and is currently developing next-generation business models with Toyota. Rei Inamoto, named one of the world's 50 most influential people by Creativity magazine, and one of the 25 most creative people in advertising by Forbes magazine, had previously worked as chief creative officer for R/GA and AKQA, which is among the most influential agencies in Europe and America. Rei Inamoto had co-founded Inamoto & Co. with Rem Reynolds in the spring of 2016. Based in New York, the company conducts innovation consulting for global brands, and develops its own products and services.

Digital Garage, Inc. & DG Incubation, Inc.

Since its establishment in 1995, Digital Garage has conducted business in three core areas: investment and development support for internet services, marketing, and global online settlement. Digital Garage has consistently anticipated future developments and conducted business in tandem with the growth of the Internet. The company was listed on the First Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange in May 2016.

The company is currently active in next-generation business fields, including artificial intelligence, block-chain databases, and virtual reality.

DG Incubation uses the extensive domestic and overseas networks of the DG Group to invest in and provide growth support for a wide range of businesses, and has provided support for business development in Japan to companies such as Twitter and LinkedIn. It launched the Open Network Lab in April 2010 with the aim of fostering startup companies that are globally active. The Open Network Lab develops and supports startups through incubation, which includes the Seed Incubation Program―a business proposal and screening program, events such as meet ups with startups that are active in Silicon Valley and other overseas regions and lectures conducted by invited specialists as well as setting up a community based on these activities.

Digital Garage company website
DG Incubation company website
Open Network Lab website

Downloads (Images)

  • TOYOTA NEXT logo
    TOYOTA NEXT logo