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Human Centric Innovation: ICT creating value for people

Ginko Kobayashi and Kenny MacIver — February 2015

Putting people at the center of everything is the key to generating business and societal value, argues Tango Matsumoto, CTO and CIO at Fujitsu.

Many of the world’s top ICT companies put technology products firmly at the center of their vision for success, painting a picture of the transformational power of their innovations. But in the view of Fujitsu’s Tango Matsumoto, such a technology focus comes at innovation from the wrong perspective.

For the global ICT company’s CTO and CIO, the focus of innovation has to be on people. “Some companies make technology their primary objective — for Fujitsu, however, the human dimension is the foundation of our business,” he outlines in I-CIO’s Big Thinker video interview. “We believe that innovation is created not by things or technology but by people. It’s a process undertaken by people to create new value for people.”

Since early 2014 the global ICT company has been championing the concept of Human Centric Innovation, a new approach to realizing business and social value by creating solutions and services that, above all, empower people — whether as a worker, a parent, a student or in the many other roles in their lives.

“At different times, everybody plays various roles — in society, in companies and elsewhere. Ultimately, Fujitsu wants to support individuals in each of these situations and create new value,” says Matsumoto.

Human Centric Innovation is now the base from which Fujitsu will set its direction and values, he says — an approach that will differentiate it from many of its technology-focused competitors.
People power

There are plenty of examples of Human Centric Innovation from Fujitsu customers. Electronics giant Panasonic has developed cloud-enabled home appliances to provide customers with enhanced lifestyle services; Australian airline Qantas is reducing its energy consumption in the workplace through transformational ICT; and US-based Emory Healthcare is providing staff with safe access to patients’ medical histories anytime and anywhere.

But one of Matsumoto’s favorite examples of Human Centric Innovation in action is at Metawater, a Japanese repair and maintenance service provider for water and sewage infrastructure. In order to manage and maintain often-aging water and sewage facilities for local governments across Japan, it needs engineers who can draw on decades of experience. That highly valuable, but often-tacit knowledge, involving troubleshooting water leaks, low pressure and other problems within complex water facilities, is not something that can be easily shared across the company.

To address that Fujitsu worked with Metawater to capture the know-how of its experts, feeding that into a central database that can be accessed by all engineers on tablet computers, no matter their level of experience. The system also makes innovative use of augmented reality technology; by positioning the device’s camera in front of a relevant component, engineers are presented with relevant diagnostic information overlaid on the screen image.

The upshot, says Matsumoto, is that “someone joining the company recently can have about 80% of the knowledge of employees with 20 years’ experience.”

Article updated April 2015.

First published
February 2015
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About: Tango Matsumoto
As CTO and CIO at Fujitsu, Tango Matsumoto leads both technology and IT strategy at the Japanese ICT giant. Previously head of global marketing, he has also served as president of the company’s corporate planning office and president of telecoms business development.

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