The Power of Spaces Made by Co-creation between Mori Building and Fujitsu

In 2014, Mori Building and Fujitsu opened the "HAB-YU platform" in the ARK Hills South Tower located in Tokyo's Roppongi as a space for people to engage in co-creation. HAB-YU helps create a new community for local residents by serving as a space for creating new business opportunities and generating new ideas that may lead to future town development.

[Fujitsu Insight 2017 "AI/IoT Utilization" Seminar Report] (titles omitted in the main text)

"HAB-YU" Connects People, the Community, and Companies

Iwao Tanaka
ARK Hills Area Management Group
Town Management Division
Mori Building Co., Ltd.

Mr. Tanaka: Mori Building envisions the ideal city as "Vertical Garden City," a super-high-rise city covered in greenery. This affluent, efficient, and compact city combines urban functions―such as offices, residences, commercial facilities, and cultural facilities―in a sophisticated manner so that they are positioned within walking distance of each other. Besides creating a city, it is also important to develop the city by fostering exchanges among residents to invigorate the entire city. We think that building a city involves a series of processes from developing to managing the city.

For example, as an effort to invigorate the city, at ARK Hills we hold a community exchange event, Hills Marché, every Saturday under the concept of "meeting producers." When Fujitsu first consulted with us about a desire to create a futuristic center that brings new things into the world, I had great expectations. The present "HAB-YU" gives shape to this idea.

"Vertical Garden City," the ideal city as envisioned by Mori Building. Mori Building places importance on fostering the city, not just building it.
Takashi Hirano
Experience Design Department
Brand Design Strategy Division
Fujitsu Limited

Hirano: HAB-YU is a space for co-creation where people (Humans), the community (Area), and companies (Businesses) are united (YU) in diverse ways with the aim of creating new businesses and value. This initially started in 2014 as a two-year joint study between Mori Building, which creates innovative cities, and Fujitsu. With HAB-YU as the starting point, Fujitsu strove to create a community for people who challenge themselves to innovate. HAB-YU holds collaboration events between companies, cultural projects, and regional activities and workshops; in addition, spaces, tools, and advanced technology services for accelerating co-creation are developed and provided. So far, around 1,200 social events and workshops, such as ideathons, have been held at HAB-YU. The facility is positioned as a space for co-creation with customers or within a company as well as for co-creation that connects the city to regional communities.

HAB-YU: a space to generate ideas

Case Study: Toyota's Technical Service Division Uses Design Thinking to Envision the Ideal Future Workstyles

Hirano: With advances in disruptive innovation and the diversification of values, society and business structures have been changing dramatically. The key to generating creative value in such circumstances is to envision an ideal state for the future and to develop specific measures to achieve that state and a theme for transformation. This approach is called the Design Approach; as a specific example of adopting the approach, Toyota's Technical Service Division carries out workstyle innovation.

Toyota's Technical Service Division provides professional service engineer development, servicing information, service technology development, and vehicle repair support. The Division consulted with Fujitsu about its desire to envision service engineers' future workstyles to raise employee motivation and to improve the environment for female employees. We invited them to visit ARK Hills and conducted several workshops, including one at their Tajimi City base, in order to envision the ideal service engineer of the future. Mori Building collaborated with us to hold an event that included an input session under the theme of "the future of city mobility." Through these activities, the Technical Service Division came to feel that service engineers also need the power to envision the future by incorporating Design Thinking methodology. The Division created an education program which they also use for professional development; they launched this the following year.

A Future Creation Approach That Designs Experiences Encourages Regional Communities

Hirano: To derive ideas that may bring about innovation, it is also important to create an empathetic vision with various parties, including companies, other organizations, and the final customers, as well as to keep users in mind. Thus, Fujitsu proposes "Human Centric Experience Design," which we evolved from the aforementioned Design Approach methodology by our own expertise. This approach is a procedure or methodology for creating a vision with the customer, verifying the concept, and developing a concrete business while confirming the understanding of all involved parties. Our co-creation with Yamaha gave birth to a new business concept called Sound Intelligence that focuses on "sound experience," it has now reached the business phase.

Case Study: "Minayoku," a Community Design Activity for Improving the Azabu Area (yoku) by Everyone (mina)

Mr. Tanaka: Mr. Tanaka: Minayoku, a regional revitalization project, was achieved through co-creation with Minato Ward in order to revitalize the ward's Azabu area. Given the current situation in which neighborly ties are becoming increasingly weak, the Minato Ward's general branch office in the Azabu area had a sense of crisis. Fearing the town council and neighborhood council may be dissolved if nothing changed, they consulted with Mori Building. This led to the launch of a project in which Fujitsu formed a team called Minayoku, which means "making it better with everyone."

Minayoku: a local community fostered by HAB-YU
(The photo shows a presentation at Hills Marché.)

The project aims to discover and foster youth who want to build the regional community in Azabu. Today, about 30 young people who want to improve the community gather at HAB-YU each term. They brainstorm and implement ideas in order to design relationships between people and the community.

The third term ended recently, and for Minayoku, the Azabu branch office and secretariat had secretly set a goal of realizing at least one idea that had been presented. For example, the idea presented by the first term members called "My First Errand at Hills Marché" aimed to connect people and the community; it was carried out immediately. The project, in which many children walked around alone in Hills Marché in ARK Hills to experience shopping, was carried out several times. The strong desire of the gathered participants to implement the idea was well suited to "HAB-YU," and I think it is a good regionally-oriented project.

Adding Technology to Co-creation Broadens Possibilities

Mr. Tanaka: Although open innovation abounds, whether all such activities are truly open innovation can be questioned. However, my relationship with Fujitsu made me realize Fujitsu's openness was impressive, and I wondered whether the company may be disclosing too much.

What I realized through the HAB-YU initiative was the great power of spaces. Without contact with the outside world, a company cannot go beyond itself. I think a space like HAB-YU to connect with people outside the company and create something new that is future-oriented creates a positive spiral. Thus, it also leads to the development of attractive cities with rich, affluent lifestyles that Mori Building aims to achieve. As each person, community, and company co-creates in a win-win-win relationship, the next phase becomes visible. Then technologies, such as IT, IoT, and AI, are added to further broaden the project. Here, Fujitsu's technologies and engineers become valuable assets.

Hirano: That's true. Fujitsu has engineers with expertise in various development technology areas, and they are committed to achieving digital transformation through collaboration. We will create mechanisms so that companies using a co-creation space like HAB-YU can become invigorated along with us and make progress.

  • Iwao Tanaka ARK Hills Area Management Group
    Town Management Division
    Mori Building Co., Ltd.
  • Takashi Hirano Experience Design Department
    Brand Design Strategy Division
    Fujitsu Limited