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Revitalizing Tokyo's Business District with Data from Multiple Industries (Part 1)

Main visual : Revitalizing Tokyo's Business District with Data from Multiple Industries (Part 1)

The Otemachi-Marunouchi-Yurakucho (OMY) district that extends from Tokyo Station to the Imperial Palace is drawing attention as a key hub for people, products, and information. Mitsubishi Estate and Fujitsu are carrying out co-creation efforts with companies from many different industries to find new ways to enhance the OMY district's value.
[Fujitsu Forum 2019 Conference Report]

Accelerating Open Innovation in the OMY District

At the conference, Hiroshi Sano of Mitsubishi Estate was first to take the stage. He described the open innovation initiatives underway in the Otemachi-Marunouchi-Yurakucho (OMY) district.

Photo : Hiroshi Sano General Manager, Open Innovation Promotion Office Area Brand Management Department Mitsubishi Estate Co., Ltd.

Hiroshi Sano
General Manager, Open Innovation Promotion Office
Area Brand Management Department
Mitsubishi Estate Co., Ltd.

Situated in Chiyoda, Tokyo, the Otemachi-Marunouchi-Yurakucho (OMY) district spans 120 hectares with more than 100 buildings. A total of 92 listed companies are headquartered here, with some 280,000 employees among them. The area also features 13 stations served by 28 train lines. Thus, the OMY district is a key location for a large number of businesspeople and serves as an extremely rich source of activity data, particularly the Marunouchi area.

Recently, many companies are engaging in open innovation initiatives to create a wide variety of products at an accelerated pace. Mitsubishi Estate seeks to create an "Open Innovation Field" that can bring even more creative activities to the Marunouchi area over the next 20 years. The aim is to develop the area into a hub for people and companies that aspire to innovate and exchange ideas, thereby sustainably generating new activities.

Figure : Mitsubishi Estate's vision of the Open Innovation Field

Mitsubishi Estate's vision of the Open Innovation Field

I work in the Area Brand Management Department, which has the mission of focusing on creating new forms of value in the OMY district. Since around 2000, the department has managed facilities for startup companies. Two years ago, it established the Open Innovation Promotion Office to further accelerate these initiatives.

Let me showcase a few specific examples of our strategies. Under one of our hard strategies, we established locations called "Labos" (Labs) for people at startups to gather together. We aim to help startups meet major corporations at our Labos and proceed with inventing through open innovation.

Our soft strategies include investing in startups and holding events to create new businesses. We are also exploring the usability of advanced technologies. Going forward, we will strive to tackle social issues, including disaster prevention, tourism, and the SDGs by making full use of artificial intelligence (AI), the IoT, robotics, and other ICT technologies.

Data Drives Co-Creation and Demands a Reliable Data Utilization Platform

Next, Hiromichi Sasaki of Fujitsu spoke about the keys to pursuing co-creation.

Photo : Hiromichi Sasaki Vice President Service Business Division Network Solutions Business Unit Fujitsu Limited

Hiromichi Sasaki
Vice President
Service Business Division
Network Solutions Business Unit
Fujitsu Limited

Japan is forecast to experience a decline in its working-age population in the near future. Thus, methods to boost productivity are crucial to succeed in business. Customers often express a desire to deliver new areas of value by leveraging their strengths in their core businesses. To do so, co-creation is essential.

As a recent example of co-creation, Fujitsu participated with Mitsubishi Estate in the Open Innovation Field project. Situated between Tokyo Station and the Imperial Palace, Marunouchi is mainly frequented by office workers. However, the district also features visitors coming from Yurakucho, Otemachi, and other areas. With overseas tourists entering the area from Tokyo Station, there is a sense in which the entire district has its own ecosystem. I anticipate new value will be discovered in Marunouchi through combining and utilizing a wide range of data by the many companies gathered there.

There are four main reasons why past co-creation efforts did not succeed: first, competition prevented partnerships from forming; second, concerns about the reuse of provided data; third, customer privacy; and fourth, cost issues.

In 2018, Fujitsu announced the Virtuora DX Data Utilization Service* as a solution to overcome these four obstacles. This data distribution and utilization platform works to achieve digital co-creation and serves as a space for companies to use data safely and securely across industries. It employs blockchain technology to share information on the entities that have used each piece of data as well as how they did so. This ensures that data is used fairly. The service uses Data Jacket** technology developed in Professor Yukio Ohsawa's laboratory at the University of Tokyo. Data Jackets provide an environment in which data can be shared with anyone without disclosing the specifics.

Figure : Virtuora DX serves as a space for distributing and utilizing data safely and securely

Virtuora DX serves as a space for distributing and utilizing data safely and securely

* A cloud service that expands the use of blockchain technology, which practically prevents data from being falsified, in order to enable companies and organizations to make visible the value in the data that they have, to share such data, and to accelerate co-creation across industries by using summaries of such data. (Press release on May 14, 2018)

** A data description model devised by Professor Yukio Ohsawa of the University of Tokyo. This method gives a summary of the data as well as other relevant information (e.g., when and where the data was collected) without revealing the details. In this way, the method takes tables of digital data and reshapes them into a format that enables people to understand the data's value.

Producing New Services by Combining Multiple Industries' Data and Expertise

Eiji Ikeda of Fujitsu spoke next, describing the results of the OMY Data Utilization Project.

Photo : Eiji Ikeda Senior Manager, LCM Service Department, Service Business Division Network Solutions Business Unit Fujitsu Limited

Eiji Ikeda
Senior Manager, LCM Service Department, Service Business Division
Network Solutions Business Unit
Fujitsu Limited

The OMY Data Utilization Project began with an eight-month field trial that lasted from May to December 2018. This trial aimed to verify the effectiveness of cross-industry data distribution and utilization. With a view to the year 2020, the project's theme sought to identify the ideal way to express the OMY district's appeal to people around the world.

Figure : Field trial’s theme: "Share OMY's appeal to people around the world"

Field trial’s theme: "Share OMY's appeal to people around the world"

Though this project featured unique efforts that spanned multiple industries, utilizing data on a cross-company basis was previously thought to be an impossible task. It only became possible through the participation of Mitsubishi Estate, Softbank, Tokyo Gas, and other corporations with data in many areas as well as companies with expertise in analytics and marketing.

The University of Tokyo also provided support for the use of Data Jackets. A Data Jacket is information that summarizes a piece of data (also called metadata); Data Jackets are designed to be understandable by people. Organizations can share such metadata rather than the data itself, enabling many people to appreciate the data's value and facilitating utilization.

Figure : Data Jackets enable data to be used safely and securely

Data Jackets enable data to be used safely and securely

The image below depicts a portal page that was actually used by 12 corporations. Each company provided data in a format that was easily shareable and understood by all participants without disclosing the data itself. One of this project's significant outcomes is the development of an environment that enables such data sharing.

Figure : Data Jacket portal page

Data Jacket portal page

This project included a workshop where all 12 organizations met face-to-face early on to build mutual trust. These real-world efforts were crucial alongside the initiatives carried out on the digital side.

The workshop produced about 100 different ideas in total. We divided these ideas into three main topics: enhancing services at commercial facilities, launching tourism initiatives aimed at international visitors, and achieving safe cities through measures for disaster prevention and other issues. We created a subcommittee on each topic. One key to success here was appointing a leader of each subcommittee and creating an overarching management structure. As a result, each company continued to engage in the project over an extended period while maintaining their motivation.

Fujitsu served as the leader of the subcommittee on launching tourism initiatives aimed at international visitors. The project progressed through multiple stages: getting the facts, constructing a hypothesis, revising the hypothesis, and finally proposing a marketing plan. We used data on the flow of people to visualize the areas where many overseas tourists gather as well as how long they stayed in each location. As a result, we found that more visitors to the Imperial Palace boarded and alighted trains at Tokyo Station compared to Yurakucho Station. We also observed that these people did not stay in the Marunouchi area for very long.

Photo : Visualizing data on the flow of people to achieve a birds-eye view of densely-packed areas and the routes taken by visitors

Visualizing data on the flow of people to achieve a birds-eye view of densely-packed areas and the routes taken by visitors

We conducted interviews with international tourists based on the visualized data in order to collate the routes that they took. While many moved directly from Tokyo Station to the Imperial Palace, we also extracted movement routes that went through the Marunouchi area.

By analyzing these movement routes using social media data, we identified several hypothetical personas, each with different interests. For example, international tourists moving from Tokyo Station to the Imperial Palace were looking to see the sights. People coming from Yurakucho focused on shopping, while people staying at luxury hotels aimed for premium experiences such as visiting artistic and picturesque locations.

Figure : Revising the Hypothesis: Setting Personas Based on Movement Routes

Revising the Hypothesis: Setting Personas Based on Movement Routes

Using position analysis to compare the Marunouchi area with other districts in Tokyo, we reached the following conclusion: we could sell Marunouchi as a unique area by enhancing its artistic and traditional aspects. This idea ultimately resulted in the proposal of a marketing strategy to lead wealthy people toward art galleries in the Marunouchi area.

The other participating companies greatly helped Fujitsu move the project forward by providing support and insight on effective interviewing techniques, location settings, and social media analysis, among other areas. This project achieved significant results by logically combining many types of data, including the flow of people and social media. Participating companies provided expertise to develop this data and draw conclusions.

Co-Creation Has Many Hurdles But Is Worth the Effort

Lastly, Hiroyuki Okuyama of Mitsubishi Estate spoke about the issues encountered in the OMY Data Utilization Project as well as the new insights obtained through co-creation.

Photo : Hiroyuki OkuyamaSenior Manager, Open Innovation Promotion Office Area Brand Management Department Mitsubishi Estate Co., Ltd.

Hiroyuki Okuyama
Senior Manager, Open Innovation Promotion Office
Area Brand Management Department
Mitsubishi Estate Co., Ltd.

Through the OMY Data Utilization Project, I discovered that there are significant hurdles for companies to provide their data. When offering data to external parties, companies need internal consensus on how to process the data as well as the required level of quality.

I also realized that there is often little meaning in merely giving or receiving data as is. When offering data to other parties, it is essential for organizations to communicate with each other about their gathered data in real-world settings. Many companies have hidden treasures within their retained data, but to uncover these, it is crucial to have people who appreciate the meaning of such data.

The companies that participated in this project have an interest in co-creation. In other words, all participating companies and their representatives expressed a very positive attitude with respect to exchanges with external parties. Data analysis tasks are common at Mitsubishi Estate, though we previously almost always asked external consulting firms to prepare analysis reports for us. However, such an approach makes it harder to appreciate customers' real-world opinions as well as their general sentiment because these aspects get filtered out of the report. By building flat relationships like those in the OMY Data Utilization Project, one can obtain new insights regarding the difficulty of analysis work as well as the meaning of such data. These insights are hard to come by, so I feel that this was a significant outcome of the project.

Co-creation requires a management style in which participants can have discussions as a consortium with a flat structure. However, it may often be difficult for competitors to join the same consortium. It is unrealistic to expect competitors to share information on how to collect data or how often to update it. Thus, it is crucial to keep the project's theme relatively narrow and to develop an operational style in which competitors do not enter the same groups.

Mitsubishi Estate seeks to popularize open innovation within the OMY district, and we will engage in co-creation efforts together with many other companies. Of course, Mitsubishi Estate is not an engineering company, so there may be some missteps or unexpected delays along the way. Despite this, we will continue to push forward without fear of failure.

Part 2 features a panel discussion among the four speakers facilitated by Fujitsu's Atsushi Matsuki.

Speakers

Photo : Hiroshi Sano General Manager, Open Innovation Promotion Office Area Brand Management Department Mitsubishi Estate Co., Ltd.

Hiroshi Sano
General Manager, Open Innovation Promotion Office
Area Brand Management Department
Mitsubishi Estate Co., Ltd.

Photo : Hiroyuki Okuyama Senior Manager, Open Innovation Promotion Office Area Brand Management Department Mitsubishi Estate Co., Ltd.

Hiroyuki Okuyama
Senior Manager, Open Innovation Promotion Office
Area Brand Management Department
Mitsubishi Estate Co., Ltd.

Photo : Hiromichi Sasaki Vice President Service Business Division Network Solutions Business Unit Fujitsu Limited

Hiromichi Sasaki
Vice President
Area Brand Management Department
Service Business Division
Network Solutions Business Unit
Fujitsu Limited

Photo : Eiji Ikeda Senior Manager, LCM Service Department, Service Business Division Network Solutions Business Unit Fujitsu Limited

Eiji Ikeda
Senior Manager, LCM Service Department, Service Business Division
Network Solutions Business Unit
Fujitsu Limited