It was an honor to hear from Mr. Ian Kitajima, Director of Corporate Development for Oceanit, a global engineering and innovation company.

Mr. Kitajima spoke about Oceanit and its four areas of focus—space and defense, engineering, life sciences, and information systems. We learned that Oceanit is a diverse company consisting of about 160 scientists and engineers with 75% of staff having Masters or Doctorates degree.

Ian KitajimaAs a company focused heavily on innovation, Oceanit has funded many interesting products which in-cludes a Hostile Fire Detecting System which can sense high speed events like a gunshot and can use to spot snipers, Passive Boot Drying System which can dry a pair of wet boots in 6 hours, and Nature’s Sen-sors which guides ants to sniff drugs and certain chemicals. One of their unfortunate innovations was a Synthetic Virus which can target solid tumor cells to deliver drug treatment. This is an unfortunate innovation because funding for this project was ceased.

He also spoke about Oceanit’s adaptation of Stanford’s Design Thinking philosophy. This philosophy is designed to get people to think in a different way; spending more time figuring out what a customer needs up front rather than jumping to the solution. Most startups fail because they create products and provide services no one wants.

Mr. Kitajima provided us with a few tips of advice which he learned throughout his career:
1. Marry the right person.
2. Have a direction, not a destination.
3. Make things people want instead of making people want things.
4. Learn how to connect with customers.
5. Be enthusiastic.
6. Find your passion along the way. Regardless of the circumstances, you will find success if you stick to your passion.

Mr. Kitajima ended his talk with a question worth thinking about: “With enough time and money, you could build anything. So the real question is if you built it, would it matter?”

 

Written by: Hogan Entrepreneurs Program student, Brian Denton
Speaker Session with Ian Kitajima 3/7/18