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Free thinking leads to DX? |Human Resource Program for Innovation by Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry

Against the backdrop of restrictions on movement and increasing needs for operational efficiency due to the spread of the new coronavirus, the use of data and IT tools is attracting more attention, and the momentum of DX is increasing in Japan.

At the same time, the problem of “ lack of human resources to promote DX ” has become prominent.

In order to promote DX in-house, ” management reform ” is required, but the people who have the skill set and mindset to realize it are an overwhelming minority.

From 2020, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry is working on a program to develop people who will contribute to DX, and on reforming the research and development tax system to promote DX in the future .

This time, we interviewed Mr. Takishima and Mr. Shinomiya of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry about the human resource development program to promote DX, the purpose of tax reform, and the behind the scenes of program execution.

Table of contents

  • DX accelerated by the corona disaster
  • Measure 1. The government takes the lead in developing DX human resources
    • Supporting secondment from large companies to start-up companies and new businesses within the company
  • Measure (2) Tax measures to promote DX
  • lastly

DX accelerated by the corona disaster

ーーWhat do you think about the promotion of DX during the corona crisis, Mr. Takishima?

Mr. Takishima

The real world has changed due to the corona misfortune. Various attempts have been made around the world to deliver services using the virtual world.
Not only advanced companies, but also many organizations and companies have changed in some way, and in a year when it became necessary to work on DX, DX has moved forward for society as a whole.

ーーHow did the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry promote DX in 2020?

Mr. Takishima

yes. For example, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry certifies DX-Ready companies and announces companies that are making excellent efforts as DX brands .
DX-Ready refers to companies that are ready for DX by preparing new visions, strategies, and internal systems while promoting digital transformation .Furthermore, in the form of DX stocks , we support branding related to DX by making visible companies that are ready to discuss these initiatives with external stakeholders, including the capital market.

ーーWhile promoting DX stocks, what do you feel is the difference between companies that are advancing DX and those that are not?

Mr. Takishima

Is it possible to have a concrete sense of crisis with a clear timeline for your business ? The current coronavirus pandemic has provided such an opportunity. Also, I think DX is a means to deliver better value to more customers, so I think it would be painful if DX itself became an end in itself.
Being able to deliver better value to more customers can also be called innovation, but I think DX is at the baseline.In addition, I think that before that, it is important to have a system and a mindset to “take on new challenges” instead of “let’s create things and services as before” .

As with the government, most large companies have defined roles and scope of work for each individual. Without systematization, the organization will not run, and the quality cannot be kept constant, so of course, such a way of thinking is very important. However, if you systemize too much, you will not be able to try new things. I think it would be good if we could become an organization that has a good balance between the two. Easier said than done.

ーーWhat kind of thinking should large companies have?

Mr. Takishima

Roughly speaking, large bureaucratic organizations such as large companies were “doing things right (as decided)”. Instead, I believe that the organization of the future should “do things correctly (according to changes).” As mentioned in the 2020 White Paper on Manufacturing, Professor Teese of the University of California, Berkeley advocates this need as “dynamic capabilities.”
Dynamic Capability: The concept of “transforming one’s own assets and skills in response to changes in the environment.”

What specific measures is the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry implementing?

Measure 1. The government takes the lead in developing DX human resources

Promoting DX means putting customer experience first and reviewing the business model itself, so the organization itself or management itself needs to change. In addition to simply reforming the existing business structure, it is also extremely important for internal human resources to create new businesses with free ideas.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI ) has established a system called “ Development of Seconded Entrepreneurship ” and “ Management Human Resources Support Project for Startups ” to develop human resources like in-house entrepreneurs .

ーーPlease tell us about the overview of the “Management Human Resources Support Project for Startups”.

Mr. Shinomiya

The “ Management human resource support project for startups ” is a new policy that will be implemented from 2021.
Currently, the mobility of human resources involved in the management of startups is low because recruitment is mainly through personal networks. In order to solve this problem, we aim to improve the mobility of management personnel by efficiently and diversifying the inflow route of management personnel to start-up companies through this business .

ーーWhat exactly do you mean by “human resources are not fluid”?

Mr. Shinomiya

One of the challenges faced by start-up companies is that there are few people like the COO who can be the CEO’s right-hand man in management.
You have a CEO but no COO, you have a CTO but no CFO, which is common in early startups, but there are actually a lot of people out there who can fill those positions. For example, I think there are phases that are suitable for people who manage the business departments of trading companies. However, such people are not moving towards startup companies in the world.

Mr. Takishima

I think there are some people in large companies who feel stifled because they are not able to demonstrate their true abilities. In an environment with a small number of people, I thought that they would be able to share their dreams, gain the freedom to act independently, and be able to demonstrate their potential . Through this measure, we would like to increase such opportunities and make such trends bigger.
Also, at the same time that free and ambitious human resources move from large companies to startups, we would like to increase the number of “intrapreneurs” who can bring about change from within the organization by returning human resources with such experience to large companies. is.Without such human resources and organizational dynamism, DX that leads to innovation will not be realized.

Supporting secondment from large companies to start-up companies and new businesses within the company

ーーHow exactly do you match them?

Mr. Shinomiya

Venture capitals and human resource companies will form a consortium to work on human resource flow methods such as seconding human resources from large companies to start-up companies .
Matching companies and people can be difficult. Therefore, I thought it would be good to partner with a venture capital firm that knows good start-up companies and a human resources company that is in charge of recruiting . Venture capital and human resource companies combine their areas of expertise.

Mr. Takishima

In addition to the “Management human resource support project for startups” introduced just now, there is a project called ” New business creation promotion project by human resources such as large companies (subsidy for new business creation support for large company human resources etc.) “. It is a content that subsidizes business expenses when human resources of large companies start a business like an in-house startup in the form of secondment.
You can start your own company and challenge new business while working in a large company. Since the “Management Human Resource Support Project for Startups” will be released to different organizations to gain strength, I would like to create a flow of human resource development that realizes DX and innovation with these two measures .

ーーThe first human resource development program is an effort to send employees from large companies to startups.

Mr. Takishima

yes. For example, you will be assigned to a startup for half a year and actually work inside the startup. If it is a large startup, it will be the scale to be in charge of one business area.
In fact, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry itself also dispatches staff to such startups. From October 2020 to March 2021, I was dispatched to two companies: an AI-based startup and a company that uses natural plant-derived fibers to make outerwear that is as warm as down jackets without using down. . When I listen to the stories of people who have been seconded, some say, ” I had to do something on my own while repeating anguish and trial and error in a short period of time .”The real results of these human resource flow policies and, at the same time, development policies are linked to economic growth on the side of the companies that have been dispatched or seconded, or to the extent that returning employees and employees become like catalizers and change their parent’s organization. It ‘s a matter of whether you’ll get there or not.

It will have a positive effect on the startup, the individual, and the large company to which they are seconded, so I believe that the goal is to create a natural migration of human resources.

ーーDo you have an image of PBL for society as a whole, just as PBL for students became popular a few years ago?

Mr. Takishima

It’s an interesting way of thinking, and it can be said that we are preparing a place where working people can do PBL.
Originally, the issues that employees and staff are facing are all new issues, so all work becomes PBL. Therefore, it is necessary for all employees to do PBL, but as I said before, the system of today’s large companies is based on doing what they have done so far properly. So it’s not very realistic.Therefore, I think it is very good to be seconded to a start-up company and experience an environment where you can work on yourself. That kind of free energy is the driving force behind innovation in the world.

PBL: An abbreviation for Project Based Learning, this is a learning method in which students set their own problems, devise solutions for them, and implement them. A lot of knowledge can be obtained in the process of execution.

ーーWhen exactly will this business start?

Mr. Shinomiya

We are accepting applications from April 16th to May 20th for the management human resources support project for startups.
A group of multiple businesses such as venture capital and human resource companies (hereinafter referred to as a consortium) will reduce mismatches and seek a flow method for management human resource candidates that will lead to the growth of startups. Half of the expenses incurred (up to 60 million yen) I will assist you. We hope that the consortium members will use the efforts within this project as an opportunity to develop it in the market as a private business service after the project.If you are interested, please contact the secretariat.

Contact: General Incorporated Association Social Implementation Promotion Center, tel: 03-6435-8962, mail: Open application
page is here

Mr. Shinomiya

Regarding the secondment start-up subsidy (new business creation support project cost subsidy for large companies, etc.), the first public call for applications was conducted from April 16 to May 31 this year, and the second public call for applications was made on 9th. We are planning to do it by the end of the month.
The maximum subsidy amount is set at 5 million yen (10 million yen for projects involving hardware development). In a nutshell, the requirements are that an employee of a large company, etc., without resigning from the company he/she belongs to, will start a new business through a secondment to a start-up with independent capital, which he/she started by himself by raising external funds or investing personal assets. When developing, it depends on the subsidy target.In principle, the application is made after the registration of the new company and the conclusion of the secondment contract. ,Please contact us.

Inquiries: Industrial Human Resources Division, Economic and Industrial Policy Bureau, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, tel: 03-3501-2259, email :

Measure (2) Tax measures to promote DX

–In the sense of promoting innovation, this time, major revisions were made to the research and development tax system. Since it is also deeply related to DX, please tell us more about this content.

Mr. Takishima

In the first place , the “R&D tax system” is a policy that allows a certain amount of research expenses for one year to be deducted from the corporate tax amount .
For example, let’s say that research and development costs for a certain year were 100 billion yen. If the deduction rate is assumed to be 8.5%, 8.5 billion yen will be deducted from the corporate tax amount. Plus it has an incentive. For example, if research expenses were 100 billion yen one year and 108 billion yen the next year, the rate of increase in research and development expenses would be 8%.In this way, companies that increase their R&D expenses compared to the previous year will receive a higher deduction rate. In this case, the deduction rate for the following year would be 9.9%. If the deduction rate is about 10%, it will be possible to deduct nearly 10.8 billion yen from the corporate tax amount in the following year.

In other words, the more a company spends on research and development, the lower its taxes.

Until now, the R&D tax system had some restrictions on what types of R&D expenses could be deducted. Specifically, it covered only the budget and expenses incurred when developing package software, and did not cover research and development expenses when conducting a business such as SaaS.

In this tax reform, not only SaaS such as automatic inspection of infrastructure using AI, but also MaaS and other as a service are subject. In addition, research to improve the efficiency of operations by digitizing internal business processes is also subject to the tax system.

As a result, I think that it can be used not only by so-called vendors, but also by people in industries such as the distribution industry and financial service industry who are trying to deliver their own services through DX, and people in the plant industry. increase.


Some people may think that DX is a management issue or that DX is about IT, but that is not the case. Of course, it is also important for managers to formulate new business strategies, hold discussions with stakeholders, and prepare for digitalization.

However, since there is a limit to how much we can change within the company, it is also important for each individual member of the organization to take action based on their free ideas.

According to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, it has been announced that companies that do not promote DX internally will fall behind their competitors. Why don’t you all try to “make it your own” and take action in your company? DX will be realized by the cooperation of management and members.



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