Increased Attention on AI, IoT, and Work Style Innovation - Inside the Co-creation Workshop for Finding Clues to Achieve Them

The environment surrounding ICT and businesses continues to change rapidly. Given this trend, workshops are used to generate new ideas for use in business. At the Fujitsu Digital Transformation Center (DTC) located in Tokyo's Hamamatsucho, we offer a menu of various workshops to generate new value through co-creation with customers.

At Fujitsu Forum 2017, we held hands-on workshops under three popular themes at DTC, namely "AI," "IoT" and "work style innovation." On the day of the workshop, Fujitsu provided a shuttle bus service between Yurakucho, the site of Fujitsu Forum, and Hamamatsucho, where DTC is located, enabling many customers to experience the workshop. FUJITSU JOURNAL's editorial staff report on the workshop.
[Fujitsu Forum 2017 Hands-on Workshop Report]

"Examining AI Usage from Scratch"

The first workshop we explored was about AI (Artificial Intelligence) utilization. Today, AI is starting to be used in various fields. In particular, increased attention is being paid to AI these days because a technique called deep learning is become well known, and AI utilization is spreading across a variety of industries including finance, healthcare, and marketing.

Many who are interested in AI may not know "which businesses AI can be used for," "where to start," or "what concrete effects can be expected."

How can we come up with something new that does not exist today?

To answer that question, rather than diving straight into the topic of "what to do with AI," this AI utilization workshop began by defining the current challenges and future vision through a design approach. Discussion progressed by focusing on what must be done to reach the ideal state from the current state.

To facilitate discussion, colorful cards with various photos were provided at the site. These cards featured images of smiling children, natural landscapes, and modern buildings and other architecture.
Each participant chose one card each to evoke the "challenges you are facing" and the "ideal future state," and then in pairs, we explained to our partners "why those cards evoked our challenges and ideal future state."

By talking to others and then organizing and sharing, the current challenges and future vision began to take shape. We also wrote down key concepts that came up in the discussion that caught our attention. These key concepts were later used to generate ideas.

Next, Fujitsu staff introduced AI features and usage examples from various fields such as automobiles, traffic, manufacturing, and marketing. Based on knowledge from these specific use cases, we continued the discussion after spreading out the cards across a table and using the key concepts we previously had listed to generate ideas for utilizing AI.

AI utilization is a tool, not the goal. Discussion of the latest technologies may proceed based on technology, but to avoid losing sight of the original goal, DTC workshop participants first define their ideal future states. The workshop is held to generate ideas for AI utilization as a tool to reach such ideal future states.

"Envisioning the Future with IoT"

Next, we moved on to an IoT workshop held in a room in which various IoT devices were displayed. Once everything around us is connected to the Internet, it is said that lifestyles and society will change greatly due to "changes in the way people work," "streamlined processes," and "generation of new products and services."

Given these circumstances, how should we think about services and solutions that utilize IoT and create or realize new value?

This IoT-themed workshop began with participants first experiencing IoT devices by actually wearing Fujitsu's UBIQUITOUSWARE "location badge" and "vital-sensing band." When the location badge is worn, a person's location information can be gathered real-time. When wearing the wristwatch-like vital sensing band, information such as the pulse rate can be gathered remotely. As participants wearing these devices moved around the venue, their locations and pulse rates were all displayed in real-time on the large studio screen, allowing us to experience visualization of the "workshop's heat" with IoT. Technologies for detecting people's states are used at manufacturing, maintenance, and construction sites to prevent work-related injuries.

After experiencing various types of IoT devices and expanding our ideas about IoT utilization, we moved on to the next task.

At the IoT workshop, we employed Fujitsu's design approach to start by shaping our ideal future states. A digital wall displayed inspiration cards created based on over 500 ideas generated from conversations with Fujitsu customers. These included illustrations that suggested future factories, lifestyles, and devices.

Participants touched the cards that evoked the ideal future states they had in mind, moving those cards to the screen in the front that had been integrated with the wall. That screen displayed a timeline drawn up to the year 2020. Participants thought about what time they wanted to realize the future visions drawn on the cards they selected and then placed the cards on the timeline. Next, they discussed "why did you choose that card?" and "how close are you to realizing your goal?" to examine ways to utilize IoT to realize their ideas.

"Clues to Future Work Styles Found Here!"

Lastly, we attended the workshop on work style innovation, a theme that many companies have focused on in recent years. Companies have different departments, and which work styles are suitable differs depending on such departments' operations. To realize work style innovation, it is important for departments to share their work style visions. Based on this, the effects of work style innovation as well as new rules and ICT utilization methods must be examined.

This workshop began the same way as that for IoT--with discussion-style group work that used inspiration cards displayed on an interactive board.

Fujitsu prepared the inspiration cards, which distilled ICT introduction records from 7,000 companies into 300 work style innovation ideas. Based on these cards, participants were prompted to talk about their ideal future work styles and to discuss how they could get there.

First, each participant chose a card, stated the reason why he or she chose it, and then continued to discuss with others while categorizing the ideas into office innovation, mobile innovation, telework innovation, and so forth. As the discussion continued, some encountered trouble such as, "this belongs to both office and mobile" or "this doesn't match any categories, so we have to change the classification." By advancing the discussion based on such questions, participants envisioned their future work styles.

Connecting with the Fujitsu Forum Site! Watching a Co-creation Workshop from a Remote Location

In the "Envisioning the Future with IoT" workshop, we connected the DTC Studio in Hamamatsucho with the Fujitsu Forum site in Yurakucho via the Internet to demonstrate how a co-creation space can be shared among remote locations.

We displayed a view of the Fujitsu Forum site on the DTC Studio's screen. Information displayed on the DTC studio workshop screen was synchronized with and projected by the desktop projector at the Fujitsu Forum site. Any operation performed on the screen at the Fujitsu Forum site would update the screen at the DTC Studio. Going forward, Fujitsu is working to realize workshops among remote locations.

Workshop shared by connecting the DTC Studio in Hamamatsucho (left) with the Fujitsu Forum exhibition hall (right)

<From the Attendees>

Here are some comments from workshop attendees.

"Other workshops often use analog tools such as sticky notes. This one, typical of Fujitsu, made use of digital devices."

"The cards provided were varied and unique. Many made us think about what we need to do to achieve our goal; they expanded our thinking."

"Since digital tools were used, the discussion could be saved and shared with others. That makes it easier to explain what we discussed to those who could not attend."

"People from the same company may differ in terms of culture depending on their department or position. This can fill in such cultural gaps."

Most workshop attendees met each other for the first time that day. Nevertheless, it was impressive how actively opinions were exchanged, and the site was full of energy as people sought out new hints for their businesses.

DTC hosts various other workshops, including those on digital marketing, VR, and manufacturing. Please inquire if interested.