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Messages from Keidanren Executives October, 2018 Realization of Society 5.0 and Fusion of Diverse Knowledge

Kenichiro YAMANISHI Vice Chair, Keidanren
Executive Corporate Adviser, Mitsubishi Electric Corporation

As we enter the era of 100 year lifespans, the way in which healthcare supports personal "life design" also changes. Society 5.0 aims for a society in which people receive high quality services meeting the diverse needs of a "human-centered society" where life is lived vigorously and in comfort. It is urgent to realize Society 5.0 that fully integrates cyberspace and the physical world, optimizes society as a whole, and brings about revolutionary innovation.

However, creating the soil that gives rise to innovation is not a leap itself. Building an 'innovation ecosystem' that combines knowledge, technology and know-how in which various participants are proficient — and not one company or researcher alone — is the key. Revolutionary innovation is created with the "diverse knowledge" of multitudes of participants repeatedly interacting, bonding, and integrating organically. Furthermore, it is necessary to create a cycle of innovation and for-profit R&D that encompasses the private sector, joint ventures, universities, national research and development agencies, and medical institutions dedicated to specific issues, in order to collaborate, bring results to the market, and disseminate these results throughout society.

In particular, we are hoping to further strengthen our activities through national R&D agencies that are focused on bridging the functions vital to linking the seeds of innovative technology with commercialization. In addition, the foundations for open innovation also play a major role in the formation of an ecosystem that brings together R&D capabilities of national R&D agencies, universities, private sector, among others.

In order to establish a functioning ecosystem in which "diverse knowledge" is fused, however, it is also essential that a centralized, coordinating body takes on the responsibility of working with all participants. In particular, 'sophisticated generalists' who are not biased towards either cyberspace or the physical world are needed, and critical, to the realization of Society 5.0 in which participants are able to grasp technology, know-how and ideas, and link them organically.