Design Academia - 国公立デザイン系大学会議

What is the Best Way to Nurture Entrepreneurship?

Kyoto Institute of Technology runs “Kyoto Startup Summer School (KS3)” as part of its design education. Organized by KYOTO Design Lab, it is Japan’s most international startup program conducted fully in English. The mission of KS3 is for students to become excited about startups, learn how to build successful startups, and take the first steps in creating a startup.

Lecture on a hardware module



KS3 started in 2016 as a modest 2-day program that brought together 12 participants and 4 lecturers and workshop facilitators. The program was constructed out of different modules such as “fundraising” and “marketing for startups”.

After the successful beta test, the program expanded significantly the next year. KS3 2017 brought together 28 participants out of 199 applicants from 51 countries and lasted for three weeks. 16 lecturers and workshop facilitators from around the world ran the different modules. For the first time, Startup Weekend Kyoto was embedded in the program, giving participants the opportunity to collaborate with local aspiring entrepreneurs.

One of workshop about Lean Startup by Ajay Revels, a design researcher


Participants in 2017


Participants in 2019


CAD Workshop


Team work during the Design Thinking Workshop



Kyoto Startup Summer School (KS3) consists of different modules being taught and facilitated by entrepreneurs, professionals, and academics with firsthand experience in the startup world.

Design Thinking and Lean Startup are the two multi-day workshops at the core of KS3. Design Thinking is the new approach to innovation developed at Stanford University and Silicon Valley, and it is the basis for any teams trying to create anything new. Lean Startup is a methodology for building startups that focuses on rapidly testing assumptions to find the successful business model.

Shorter workshops cover more skill-based topics such as CAD and 3D printing or mechatronics prototyping using Arduino. Lectures are all about learning from the experience of forerunners, the successful entrepreneurs.

“Meet the Entrepreneurs” Mixers were designed for program participants to network with local entrepreneurs and listen to the real stories of success and failures. They also mentored teams that were just starting up.

KS3, in itself is an ongoing experiment to determine the best possible way of teaching entrepreneurship. The modules listed above are what has been done in the past, but we are always trying new formats to create a more engaging, enjoyable, and educational program.

In 2019, 31 participants selected from 141 applicants took part in the 2-week program run by 20 lecturers and workshop leaders.