Over the last few months we have been working hard with our Fujitsu colleagues to bring more structure to our vision.
But as with everything in life these days, the future is not created by closed communities working in isolation behind closed doors – it is created through conversations, shared goals and an ability to discuss ideas with a broad ecosystem of customers, partners and colleagues. The world is now more connected than ever. Through this new space I aim to connect with you, share my emerging ideas and foster discussion about the future with anyone who wants to participate.
So why are we here?
Our ultimate goal is to change the way that wealth is created and shared in an increasingly digital economy.
More ‘insight’ articles to come will therefore explore a broad range of perspectives on the future of business in a connected world. I want to discuss the opportunity to transform today’s enterprises by empowering distributed teams to create value by connecting things. I want to talk about technology industrialization and democratization as a route to unleashing human potential and extending the benefits of economic participation to a wider audience. I want to talk about transforming business models and accelerating innovation in a world of limitless connectivity, smart contracts and artificial intelligence. And I want to discuss new ways of organizing ourselves that leverage digital networks to unlock exponential growth.
So there’s a lot to talk about – and through this process I aim to learn what we need to build in order to reach our goal.
But this also means that the ideas I share will frequently be exploratory – please don’t come here expecting to find polished articles that ‘digital-wash’ existing ways of working, surveys masquerading as insights that simply tell you that your peers are as clueless as you, or “best practices” built on luck, guesswork and an eye for a chance. Come instead for honest perspectives, open discussion and an occasional spark; while my thoughts may sometimes be poorly formed I at least aim to share ideas that might change the way you think about the world.
But where to start?
A journey of thousand miles begins with a single step
As this is the first ever blog article for our new ‘vision’ I feel the weight of responsibility that comes from writing the very first words that anyone will read… I wonder if there can ever be a more difficult job than taking the first step into something new – especially opening yourself up and starting a new discussion when you don’t know all – or maybe any – of the answers. But I guess every journey starts with a single step.
So I decided my first step would be to share a short story about our journey to date, particularly as it is relevant to the bigger themes I want to tackle in these articles – connecting, co-creating and looking beyond your immediate organization for new perspectives. I want to show that we are on that same journey.
The power of perspective
RunMyProcess was founded in Paris – and I guess that by looking at the picture at the top of this article you would immediately think of the Eiffel tower. It would be a reasonable guess. But in fact this is the Tokyo tower, built in the mid 20th century by renowned Japanese architect Tachū Naitō. Despite already being well known for the construction of tall buildings he decided to seek inspiration beyond the borders of Japan, importing design flair and engineering ideas from the west. But equally importantly he did not stand still and simply copy the Eiffel Tower – the Tokyo Tower is distinct from both a visual and engineering perspective. Essentially, Tachū Naitō created a range of very important innovations to ensure that the tower was earthquake proof – something that was unique to the demands of its Japanese location and therefore beyond the scope of Gustave Eiffel’s original design. And as I’ve stood on top of the Tokyo Tower to admire the view I can say it was a relief to know that these ‘mission critical’ enhancements had been applied.
For those who don’t already know, RunMyProcess is an innovation subsidiary of Fujitsu’s Platform Software Business Unit, a $1bn software organization which is headquartered in Tokyo and focused on the commercialization of mission critical technologies. Despite its expertise and world-class resources, the Fujitsu Platform Software Business Unit also decided to take inspiration from the west, acquiring RunMyProcess to act both as a cornerstone of its vision of co-creation in a connected world and as a window into the world outside Japan. Today, RunMyProcess has successfully combined its knowledge and technical capabilities with Fujitsu colleagues and customers all over the world. From retail to utilities, financial services to manufacturing and pharmaceuticals to government we have been privileged to work on fascinating problems with amazing people. And to solve many of these problems we have had to enhance our technology to meet new challenges – strengthening our capabilities by being exposed to new technical, cultural and organizational perspectives around the world.
Standing on the shoulders of ants
This story is just a little bit of fun but it also demonstrates the way in which humility and a willingness to look beyond your traditional culture and ways of working can bring new inspiration. Newer, smaller and more agile companies are creating value at unprecedented speed, creating a rich ecosystem on which to build higher order value. Having the humility to look beyond your own resources and take advantage of this rich ecosystem is no longer just a nice option, however – it is in fact becoming a core requirement for success in a world that moves too fast for us to try to do everything alone.
Fujitsu has traditionally been a company which strives to create technologies internally through its immense strength of R&D, a strength which has underpinned its proud history of innovation and reinvention over more than 80 years. But today, we are increasingly looking beyond our own boundaries, seeking to combine our expertise and assets with technologies, business knowledge and perspectives from around the world. By looking outwards instead of inwards, by seeking synergies instead of competition and by focusing on connecting customers with value from anywhere we are transforming our own business through the use of networks and co-creation.
We believe that this is the emerging business model of the digital era. And we believe that these new business models will bring unprecedented change to the way in which we create economic value, fundamentally changing the economic criteria for enterprise success and heralding the end of many successful companies. But we also believe that this transformation will unlock unprecedented new business models, redistribute wealth and accelerate progress across every field of human endeavor, enabling reuse of the work of others in order to reach ever higher heights. Less standing on the shoulders of a few giants and more being carried upwards on the shoulders of millions of ants.
I aim to look at this transformation from multiple perspectives – technical, organizational, economic and human – and share whatever ideas and insights come to mind as I work, read, succeed and fail. I hope you will share your perspectives in response and that together we can help each other understand this new and uncharted space.
(Dr. Ian Thomas, CSO of Fujitsu RunMyProcess)