About How Design Works For
Fill In The Gaps of Design & Startups

In recent years, there has been strong growth in startups worldwide and it is becoming more critical for startups today to design, develop and manage with a comprehensive approach.
However, there remains a gap in startup business management and its design development caused by missing consolidated understanding or knowledge in every phase from theory to practice.

Having this as a challenge we share, Sony Design Consulting and Final Aim have formed joint research to explore creative and design development methodology and practices, and launched “hdw4 (How Design Works For)” to publish and promote its joint research outcome.
Through this research and “hdw4”, the partnership aims to promote aggressive investment to design, and contribute to a resilient and sustainable ecosystem for startups.

About Sony Design Consulting

Since its inception in 1961 as Sony’s in-house design department, the company has been delivering new value in a variety of forms, from design and concept development of high-quality products and services to brand communication, interactive design utilizing technology, business strategy visualization, organizational management for design-driven business, and more.
Through the long-established design capabilities to the world, Sony Design Consulting believes that the company can help solve social issues and contribute to the creation of cultural value in addition to generating new business opportunities.

About Final Aim

Final Aim is a startup with a mission to build a thriving startup ecosystem by enabling all innovators to go from zero to one by design and technology. Its efforts have been seen in great collaborations with startups, new biz dev departments in multinational corporations, and research labs in universities.
Since the foundation in December 2019, the company’s challenge has expanded from Japan to the US, Singapore, Indonesia, and Africa in various industries such as autonomous mobilities, robotics, digital manufacturing, and blockchain.


Asakura profile image
Masafumi Asakura
Final Aim, Inc.
Before co-founding Final Aim, he was the COO at an AI and 3D printing startup in Tokyo, Japan, which succeeded in being acquired by a company listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in September 2017. The total funding amount of the AI and 3D printing startup was approximately US$9.4M, and he was in charge as an Executive Director of Finance, Product Management, and Business until the closing of the M&A. He was also the Executive Director of Global Business Development, where he launched and expanded the digital manufacturing platform.
Previously, Masafumi lived in Singapore for three years and experienced two companies. One was in charge as a Managing Director, and the other as a CEO. He succeeded in several M&As and alliances in ASEAN in his tenure in Singapore.
From the experience of M&A, he has been consulting and supporting startups worldwide across many industries.
Hiroshige Fukuhara
Sony Design Consulting Inc.
Business Strategy Group
Creative Director
In his tenure at Sony, he created logos for the current Walkman and Bravia, and took charge of the launch of many businesses, including Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications (now Sony Mobile Communications) and Sony Real Estate (now SRE Holdings) from the design aspect.
He has planned the creation of Sony's corporate typeface and developed the SST® font for 93 languages in collaboration with Monotype. He was the chief art director of Sony's entire communication design area, including graphics, video, web, and space.
Currently, he is engaged in launching a design consulting business as a creative director.
He is also a member of Sony Computer Science Laboratories, where he has conducted a PoC for a hardware wallet for crypto assets and continues to develop blockchain-related businesses.
In 2018, he graduated from the Singularity University Executive Program.
Yasuhide Yokoi
Final Aim, Inc.
& Chief Design Officer
Born in Japan, grew up in Australia. He started his design career at a multinational optics and precision company. Then he joined an additive manufacturing startup as an initial founding member. After the startup's exit, he co-founded Final Aim, Inc. in 2019.
At an optics and precision company, he was in charge of industrial design such as professional digital SLR cameras. He took part in all kinds of sectors including design strategy, usability design, hardware development, and mass production. At an additive manufacturing startup, he played a key role in launching a digital manufacturing platform, service design, material and product development, and client consultation.
Collaborated with numerous multinational clients such Toyota, Honda, Kokuyo, Olympus, Microsoft, and Autodesk, and early to large size startups, to design new businesses and products.
Received multiple design awards such as iF Design Award, Red Dot Design Award, GOOD DESIGN AWARD, etc.
Eshita profile image
Shusuke Eshita
Sony Design Consulting Inc.
Business Strategy Group
Senior Manager / Senior Producer
He started his design career in 2000 in New York. He then joined Sony Corporation Creative Center, and involved in development work focused on interaction design, and took part in design strategy planning work and launching new businesses as a strategic producer.
After working as an associate professor at an art university and a management position in the design department of a healthcare product company, he rejoined Sony Corporation in 2017. He has been in his current position since April 2020. Currently, he is engaged in the management work of Sony Design Consulting that conducts design consulting business, and the development of design management/design education programs based on design utility theory.
Received multiple design awards such as iF Design Award, Red Dot Design Award, GOOD DESIGN AWARD.
In 2002, he graduated from Pratt Institute Graduate Communications & Package Design [Master of Science in Communications Design].

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