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Social Innovation

by Hu Yoshida on Jun 27, 2012

If you have been following my blog lately, you have seen me referring more and more to “social innovation”.

Social innovation has become a corporate strategy for Hitachi, Ltd. over recent years. Hitachi has grown into 900+ companies, serving diverse sectors, which include power systems, transportation systems, medical and life sciences, high-functional materials, construction machinery, home appliances, data centers, information and telecommunications technologies, and much more. Hitachi adopted social innovation at the time to stabilize its business performance and create a foundation for long-term growth based on its vision of contributing to the solution of fundamental global challenges. Hitachi wanted to ensure that the new strategy of “social innovation” provided a platform for innovation and sustained growth.

Since the adoption of this strategy, Hitachi has been reorganizing its businesses and making investments around social innovation. From fiscal 2010 to 2012, Hitachi has dedicated 1.6 trillion yen ($20.5 billion) to what is called “social innovation business”. During that same period, the company has also dedicated 1.2 trillion yen to research and development in the social innovation business.

Hitachi defines social innovation business as being at the heart of everything that Hitachi does.  Hitachi uses its “expertise in IT, power, industrial, transportation and urban development systems, to build community infrastructures that are more intelligent and environmentally conscious. Hitachi’s contribution to society not only support but also facilitate the transformation of the future of technology.”

Hitachi’s contribution to social innovation was recognized in January by an IEEE Milestone award for pioneering the development of the world’s “First Practical Field Emission Electron Microscope, 1972. This development eventually led to the initial observation of the AIDS virus which clearly benefitted and impacted society on a global level.”

Hiroaki Nakanishi, president of Hitachi, Ltd., took the occasion of this award to announce the sponsorship of a new IEEE technical field award recognizing “Innovation in Societal Infrastructure”.  Through this award, Hitachi and IEEE hope to “promote the worldwide advancement of innovative technology for IT based social infrastructure to contribute to the achievement of a sustainable society in harmony with the environment”.

Hitachi Data Systems CEO Jack Domme regularly discusses the importance of big data and social innovation to the future of HDS:

“Today our customers are facing greater challenges than ever before in terms of explosive data growth. When we talk about Big Data of tomorrow, we look to help our customers store, protect, discover, search, integrate and govern data – forever. This means all forms of data, including traditional database data, unstructured data such as video, voice, music, images and more to come.

Data is being created at faster rates than ever before, driving the need to access and integrate data like never before. HDS is creating the scale that can bring all this data together in a way that is meaningful so informed decisions can be made about the everyday things that matter most.

Our vision is to create a better world through social innovation technologies. This goes beyond IT, beyond Big Data, as we know it today, and beyond HDS. It encompasses integrated technologies and our expertise as well as across other Hitachi Group companies, whether medical, health and life sciences, energy, security systems, transportation systems or other synergy.”


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Comments (2 )

IT Support Kent on 19 Jul 2012 at 8:56 am

Great article and very informative on how Hitachi have incoporated social innovation into their corporate strategy.

Guy Manningham on 26 Jul 2012 at 3:24 pm

In today’s market, it’s crucial for all businesses to engage their customers via social innovation. Glad to see you are embracing it.

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