Experiments on the Moon Journey

No two individuals, whether an aspiring entrepreneur or project lead, will experience the Moon Journey in the same way. Though we may light the way for all of our creative potential, one must experiment the way forward. 

In order to truly learn and grow, we must continue testing and trying new things. This year we explored a few different experiments along the Moon Journey to capture business ideas and inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs.


The Dream Begins

A person has a dream to make the world a better place, create something new, or make something better than it was.

Getting There

The path to reach the dream seems too far away in the darkness.

Moon Shines a Light

Moon opens the door to unforeseen paths, new possibilities, and opportunities.

All Idea Owners Welcome

Ideations: brainstorming a wide range of possible paths forward

Conversations: consulting with experts in product discovery and exploration

Workshops: sketching tangible artifacts to allow visualization and testing


Idea Owners pitch their bold business ideas to Moon.

Invitation To Incubate

Select Idea Owners are invited to build together with the Moon Operating Team, becoming Entrepreneurs-in-Residence (EIRs).


Learn & Prepare

EIRs learn new ways of working and thinking, learning to ask the right questions such as, “What do we need to prepare for a successful Moon Journey?” and “What do we need to leave behind?”

Explore & Discover

Together with Moon members, the team sets a direction for further exploration into the idea and discovers new possibilities.

Focus & Define

The team works to clarify the business idea by making it clear and actionable. Together they lay out a roadmap for the experiments ahead.

Build & Test

Develop a minimum viable product (MVP) that can be shared with real people. Through user testing, the team listens and improves the product, and iterates the way forward.

Launch & Guide

The team is ready to launch the product and explore product-market fit.


To the Stars & Beyond

Every entrepreneur and dreamer stays within our orbit for continued support and guidance.

Experiments on the Moon Journey

125 Ideation sessions held

1 Design Challenge

2 Pitch events

18 Workshops

980 Workshop participants

From Asia-Pacific (Japan, China), The Americas (North, Central, South), and EMEA (Europe, Middle East)

*One face = 10 visitors

37 Space Camp sessions

1 Launched company



ILLUMINATE is an event series that shines a light on the next generation of business creators. It’s Moon’s way of connecting with individuals and teams across Mitsui & Co. to create something that’s never been done before within the company. This past year, we had three ILLUMINATE events, each one different from the last. ILLUMINATE allows us to experiment in new ways to engage and innovate with Mitsui to share knowledge, inspire, and bring new value to the company.  

The year’s first ILLUMINATE event in April featured an entire panel of project leads from some of our Organizational Ventures at Moon. The panel talked about their ventures, including e-dash and CaaV, and shared their experiences talking about the struggles they’ve had to face, the knowledge they’ve gained working with Moon, and the value they were able to bring back to their organizations at Mitsui. Mitsui's chairman, Mr. Tatsuo Yasunaga, was also there to share some inspiring words. 

August brought ILLUMINATE to Tokyo for our very first Design Challenge! Continuing to push the limits of what’s possible for Mitsui, we wanted to try something crazy and new. So, we held the ILLUMINATE Make-a-Thon Design Challenge, an ambitious experiment that called for new ideas involving blockchain technology. With the Make-a-Thon, teams from Mitsui business units were able to get firsthand experience of what it's like to work with Moon. In only three days, Mitsui employees teamed up with Moon designers, engineers, and specialists to ideate, build prototypes, and ultimately pitch their ideas to the Moon Committee. The Make-a-Thon brought about some new projects that are incubating at Moon including Tanekt, UNBLOCK, and ISSHO, so watch out for the exciting things to come from these ventures!

In February, we held an ILLUMINATE individual idea pitch event. After placing an open call for ideas across Mitsui group companies, we received the most idea submissions ever! Seven were chosen to be presented at ILLUMINATE where Idea Owners pitched their ideas for new businesses to a committee of executives from both Moon and Mitsui. 

Whether we’re hosting an individual idea pitch event in search of new business ideas or experimenting with the launch of our very first company-wide design challenge, the focus of ILLUMINATE has always been about illuminating bold ideas and the entrepreneurial spirit embedded within Mitsui. The most exciting part is that everyone at Mitsui is invited to ideate, collaborate, and innovate together with us here at Moon.


In 2022, Moon began an ambitious experiment to offer Innovation Workshops that help unlock the creative potential of Mitsui business units, group companies, and external organizations around the world. This past year, we ran a total of 16 in-person and online workshops with 980+ participants for organizations in Japan, U.S., Singapore, Hong Kong, Brazil, and 13 other countries around the Asia-Pacific region. These workshops explored a range of business-critical topics from Creativity and Prototyping, Entrepreneurship, Design Thinking, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Business Origination, and more. These hands-on experiences were designed to empower innovators to cultivate new ideas, refine their problem-solving skills, and drive progress in a rapidly evolving business landscape.

Feedback we heard from participants:

“[The workshop] systematically and objectively explained the steps necessary to give shape to ideas and start a business.”

“It activated a different part of my brain and gave me a different way of looking at things.”

“Creativity originates from problem identification, not solution generation. The time pressure was very helpful. Healthy constraints are actually good for innovation.”

Women’s Startup Lab

In July, Moon became a founding sponsor of the WSL Impact Foundation, a non-profit organization part of the Amelias Women’s Entrepreneurship Program. The organization was launched by Ari Horie, a known advocate for women to lead and thrive in business, to build a foundation of support for high school girls and women throughout Japan. 

Partnering with cities like Kobe, Hokkaido, Sapporo, and Shibuya, the Amelias program offers education, workshops, mentoring, and networking opportunities with former and current entrepreneurs from Japan and Silicon Valley. And when Ari shared her vision of creating a foundation for both girls and women to pursue entrepreneurship in Japan, we knew Moon Creative Lab could help. Our visions for creating a more inclusive and robust center of innovation, creativity, and new business creation in Japan were absolutely aligned. 

This was our first time running a workshop with participants outside of Moon, which was an exciting experiment for us! It was also the first time for Moon designers Maiya and Yui facilitating over 200+ women entrepreneurs across Japan.

Workshop participants learned about the importance of human-centered business design, the practical process to discover opportunities for innovation, and the importance of entrepreneur networking – especially for women. 

“I was able to experience the process of thought and the process of realization. A place where failure can be seen positively. I was able to experience that I was further brushed up by working as a team.”

Workshop participant