Kobe Session Report


Resilient Human Resources Development Project Kobe Session Report
September 14-16, 2019 at Kobe University Nichii Gakkan

Contents: Refer to the guidebook
“Social Entrepreneurship Development Program for Leading Resilient Society” Working Group of Planning


The Kobe session of “Entrepreneurship Development Program for Leading Resilient Society”, the MEXT(Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology) common infrastructure project in 2019, was held at Nichii Gakukan of Kobe University from September 14 to 16, 2019. A total of 20 undergraduate and graduate students participated. They were from Hokkaido University, Tohoku University, Miyagi University, Kobe University, Kyoto University (University of the EARTH on EDGE Consortium), and also Kyushu University, Waseda University, Shiga Medical University, and Shizuoka University after being selected from other consortiums that are implementing the EDGE-NEXT project. The students are highly motivated, and they are immediately starting to design business plan by utilizing the knowledge and skills gained through lectures and work.

Director Masato Ogawa and Takamasa Yajima from Kobe University and Tohoku University made greetings respectively. The operation was carried out by the EARTH on EDGE staffs (see guidebook). The program consists of lectures and field work. On 14th, the first day, we learned design thinking, system thinking, and business design approach about “understating of social systems”, “prediction of extreme situation change” and “combining the value of disaster prevention / mitigation with economic value” of the four skills that we aim to acquire through group work with four lecturers.

In the morning of the 15th, the second day, we conducted fieldwork at the Disaster Reduction and Human Renovation Institution, and improved the skills related to “prediction of extreme situation changes”. In the afternoon, the workshop was held by dividing the participants into four groups. They analyzed the theme raised by one team member through brainstorming, and created business model.
Unlike the current university education that focused on classroom lectures, the active learning which combined the lecture and work, emphasized the continuous cycle of inputs and outputs in real time, required students to prepare well mentally. Therefore, the program organizer offered the information, workload and time allocation carefully by estimating the level of understanding and fatigue degree of the students.

On the final day, the 16th, all the students presented their business ideas as feedback of what they had learned in the past three days, and obtained thought-provoking advices from other students and faculty members.

Program development and operation for the future

At the Tohoku session, faculty members and facilitators were trying to turn the rough ideas from each student into the business model based on reality and met the community needs. We are preparing the program in Tohoku, which offer new learning and students can enjoy new challenges.

The point of the Tohoku session is the fieldwork of Onagawa Town and Ogatsu Town in Miyagi Prefecture. We focus on “perspectives of self-help / mutual assistance / public assistance” and “combining disaster prevention / mitigation value and economic value” among the four skills that we aimed to acquire. After understanding the system and approach of “self-help / mutual assistance / public assistance”, the students are expected to learn how to determine the possible resource for “self-help / mutual assistance / public assistance”, incorporate it into business ideas, and draw a plan to solve the problem. In the preparation for Hokkaido session, each student is encouraged to discover the point of “combining disaster prevention / mitigation value and economic value”.

Measurement of educational effect

This program utilized three evaluation designs, including (1) a satisfactory survey on the contents and management, (2) a survey on the proficiency level of the four skills, and (3) a survey on the ideal way and progress of problem solving. At (1), we measured the validity of the content provided by the program, time allocation, amount of information, expression method, facilitator’s approach, etc., and knew the problems in program management and the advantages and disadvantages that the students had gained. This data will be reflected in the next program, which makes real-time improvement of the program possible. Through (2), the proficiency level of each student was measured quantitively with the evaluation indictors in the rubric to determine educational effects. Each indicator in the rubric had 5 levels. Through (3), we measured qualitatively the level and speed of the business planning from the beginning to final presentation. The facilitator assisted the student who needed support to raise the level of the business plan. In addition, the evaluation results of (1), (2) and (3) will be reflected in the next stage of program development.

In the ever-changing world situation and in the local community that are facing the complex disasters, human resources who can respond to emergencies are expected, and it is a need to develop the relative educational programs. There is an urgent need to develop programs across different universities and cover multiple disciplines. The programs should be prompted not only in university education, but also in local governments, businesses communities.

Focusing on “human resources development leading disaster prevention / mitigation / reconstruction”, we are developing the educational curriculum, which can be implemented in real time, while forming network in wide areas. We believe our program meets the needs of the times.

Comments from participants (students from Hokkaido University)

We learned about the significance of disaster prevention resilience across disciplines with the keyword “entrepreneurship.” The natural disaster affects all types of capital, so the comprehensive knowledge that combines the humanities and sciences is required. There is also a need for “entrepreneur” who can respond the expectation mentioned above and realize social implementation. It is a good chance for me, whose major is public policy, to learn about entrepreneurship, and the program has been very beneficial.

Towards the Hokkaido session

The sponsors and support from local governments, universities, and companies in Tohoku and Kobe are being formed. The Hokkaido session is sponsored by the Center for Natural Hazards Research, Atsuma Town, Abira Town, and Abira Town Reconstruction Volunteer Center, but no sponsors from company. We plan to strength the relationship with companies, present the value of our program to get supports and understanding from business.