Takeda Superminds Program

About Takeda Superminds Program

The Takeda Superminds Fellows Program aimed to radically rethink the current solutions provided to depression patients in Japan. Takeda’s Center for Scientific Leadership & Innovation (CSLI) worked together with the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence (MIT CCI) to approach the issue by designing a new solution around collectively intelligent systems.

By harnessing the collective intelligence of 38 Takeda executives from around the world, a new theoretical technology was developed called CareNet.

Why Takeda Superminds Program?
Depression in Japan is a significant healthcare issue, impacting about 3.4 million potential patients per year.

The focal point of the work was on Japan’s working adults, one of the most important economies in the world. Working adults make Japan’s economy sustainable, and as a result, they are crucial in the economic success of the nation and to the maintenance of its prosperity.

The approach emphasized designing innovative collectively intelligent systems (Superminds) as opposed to traditional solutions that focus solely on technology (including pharmaceuticals), people (e.g. doctors), and respective processes.

Who’s behind the Superminds Program?
The Takeda Superminds Program was formed through a partnership by CSLI and the Collective Intelligence Design Lab (CIDL), an initiative of CCI. Later in the project, a group of researchers from the Community Biotechnology Initiative of MIT’s Media Lab also participated to verify the developed concepts and enrich the narrative.

How was the program structured?
The joint CIDL-CSLI project engaged 38 executives from across Takeda and invited them to apply concepts from Professor Thomas W. Malone’s book Superminds to an important business problem. A series of live meetings and asynchronous communications, inspired by ideas from the fields of Collective Intelligence and Design Thinking, were held with the Takeda executives. The Takeda group generated six business concepts to address the challenge.

Phase 1: Identification
In the first phase, the teams identified the core themes such as: the need for digital engagement of patients, doctors, and caregiver; the need to attract people who don’t self-identify as depressed; and the need to lower the perceived stigma hurdle.

Phase 2: Specification
Pulling from their issue expertise, the MIT and Takeda teams focused on different, but core, parts of the challenge and solution. This helped generate key infrastructural elements and a better understanding of the technology landscape needed. In addition, both introduced some unconventional ideas, for example the creation of a “national dreams database”.

Phase 3: Selection and Recombination
The ideas generated by the Takeda and MIT Superminds were selected and recombined by an innovation expert, together with the CIDL-CSLI project team. Afterwards a validation and refining by members of the Takeda and MIT Superminds was performed. The overall product is focused on the needs of the patient but also acknowledges the importance of doctors and caregivers to participate in a collective effort to strengthen the system that provides the answer.

Phase 4: Solutions
The final outcome was a theoretical technology called CareNet. It emerged as a viable option for further development, both for Japan and elsewhere in the world. CareNet is a technology-enabled platform that harnesses the ability of groups and increasingly AI-powered machines to (a) detect depression’s signals as soon as possible and (b) provide the right support to the individuals who are affected by it (patients, caregivers, doctors, and others).

Working paper on CCI-Takeda program

Laubacher, Robert, Gianni Giacomelli, Kathleen Kennedy, David Sun Kong, Annalyn Bachmann, Katharina Kramer, Paul Schlag, and Thomas W. Malone. 2020. Using a supermind to design a supermind: A case study of university researchers and corporate executives co-designing an innovative healthcare concept. MIT Sloan School of Management Working Paper, June 2020.

Synthesis report on program outcomes
Ammirato, Wendy, et al. 2019. How can the Japanese Healthcare System Deal More Effectively with Adult Depression? Harnessing the power of superminds. Takeda Center for Scientific Leadership & Innovation-MIT Center for Collective Intelligence.