Kaoru Nishinakagawa

Co-Founder of Innovation Dojo, AGSM MBA 2016

Uniting bright minds around big ideas across the pacific

As co-founder and COO of Innovation Dojo, Kaoru Nishinakagawa is a creative entrepreneur working to foster cross-cultural entrepreneurship initiatives between Japan and Australia.

Kaoru wants to unite the skills and resources of the Japanese corporate sector with innovation-savvy Australians.

Her mission is to create an environment where innovation and testing is encouraged because you just keep trying until you get it right – or find a better way.

Crossing cultures to create opportunities

Innovation Dojo is tackling the biggest problems facing Japan and Australia by combining lean start up methodologies with cross-cultural consulting.

"Before the AGSM MBA I knew the word ‘innovation’, but I then discovered what it really takes to be an innovative person."

Innovation is a catalyst for revival and Kaoru says her MBA gave her new tools and frameworks to apply to the challenges of economic stagnation and an aging population faced in her native homeland. She’s passionate about helping Japan find its voice to open up opportunities for the next generation to learn innovation.

"The new Japanese generation is hungry to learn how to be creative and analytical at the same time,” says Kaoru. “I didn’t want to be just another entrepreneur – AGSM gave me the focus to find the problem I could work on and solve."

Innovation through the lens of empathy

AGSM’s tight-knit MBA cohort structure immediately appealed to Kaoru. Creating a sense of closeness and finding common ground is key to her work with Innovation Dojo.

She's helping students and young executives in Australia and Japan work with mentors via events and online collaboration to launch real businesses solving real problems.

Corporates have the opportunity to sponsor problems that need to be solved or tap into the talent pool of young Innovation Dojo participants in our community.

"I could always see the gaps between people and the problem to be solved, AGSM gave me new tools to do so."


There are so many entrepreneurs these days, and I didn't want to be just one more. My AGSM MBA gave me the confidence that I could bring something beneficial to the market and to the world through Innovation Dojo. Not because I'm smarter or more capable, but because I found the right problem to work on, and that I can solve.

Kaoru Nishinakagawa
Co-Founder of Innovation Dojo

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