Since 2009, ME310/SUGAR at the Kyoto Institute of Technology have worked with many companies big and small from a variety of industries including agriculture, airline, automotive, consumer electronics, entertainment, healthcare, materials, technology, textile, and more. ME310/SUGAR is open to collaborating with companies applying design thinking to their innovation challenges to develop new products and services. For past sponsors, checkout our network page.
Every project in ME310/SUGAR begins with a brief defined by the company.
While there have been a wide array of project briefs, a majority fits under the following four categories:
for specific target users
In these projects, companies define a specific user group that the team should address. Often, these are markets that companies are interested in expanding into. Example project topics include "New product for organic farmers" and "new services for elderly air-travelers."
Conceptual projects start with an idea that the company wants to explore. Example project topics include "communication without languages" and "new waterside product and activity."
Some projects in ME310/SUGAR are conducted to investigate the future possibilities of certain areas. While the technology and market may not be mature yet, these projects shed a light into what the future may look like and what the company can do to prepare. Example project topics include "interior design of a shared autonomous vehicle" and "food x technology."
These projects enable companies to explore new applications for technologies that they have developed for other uses. Example projects include "new service concept for a IoT connected bolts" and "new applications for a new kind of plywood."
Project briefs in ME310/SUGAR cover a wide range of specificity. Experience shows that too broad of a project topic can be challenging, especially at the beginning, while an overly specific project is not a good fit for ME310/SUGAR. Part of the goal of ME310/SUGAR is for teams to develop new innovative products/services/features. As ME310/SUGAR is not a consultancy, projects that are focused purely on building a defined solution are not accepted.
Checkout how briefs became solutions in the projects page and contact us using the form below if you would like to discuss potential project topics.
Every project in ME310/SUGAR is conducted by students from the Kyoto Institute of Technology and a partner university abroad. With the growth of the SUGAR Network, there are now over 20 universities with different expertise and student profile. In the past, companies have picked universities that have strengths in the project topic or are close to the target user group (e.g. Australia with vineyards). Contact us to discuss which partner may be a good fit for a specific project topic.
As ME310/SUGAR is an international program, it follows the September - June academic year which is common across the world. The nine-month program begins in late September and the corporate projects kickoff in late October. The projects are completed in time for the SUGAR EXPO and ME310 EXPE in Silicon Valley in early June.
Discussions with potential sponsors for project topics happen throughout the year and final project briefs are due in early October. Capacity is limited and project spots for the upcoming year are claimed on a first come first served basis.
Below is the typical annual calendar for the ME310/SUGAR program:
In addition to the nine-month project, the ME310/SUGAR Teaching Team conducts workshops for current and prospective sponsors. The Introduction to Design Thinking workshop has been conducted more than thirty times in multiple counties. It is a great way to introduce a new approach to innovation and a new way of thinking to employees interested in gaining new skills.
Contact us for more information about our workshop programs.