Fujitsu at Thinkers50 Ideas, hope and the importance of innovation

Ichiro Aoyagi


6 minute read

Innovation is central to Fujitsu’s purpose, and to solving the challenges that face our societies. Fujitsu is proud to support the Thinkers50 Innovation Award, presented last month in London. SVP Ichiro Aoyagi reflects on the event and the importance of innovation.

Fujitsu SVP Ichiro Aoyagi speaks at the Innovation Award presentation at the Thinkers50 Awards Gala in London
Fujitsu SVP Ichiro Aoyagi speaks at the Innovation Award presentation at the Thinkers50 Awards Gala in London

From problems to opportunities, and from ideas to hope

There are many ways to define innovation. But one thing is always true. Any journey we make to solve a problem, or make something better, always starts with a single idea.

With this in mind, I was delighted to attend the Thinkers50 Awards Gala, in London in November, and spend time with some of the world’s best business thinkers.

The event, held every two years, recognises original management thinking and ideas. But if this wasn’t reason enough for attending, I was proud to be there to present the Thinkers50 Award for Innovation on behalf of Fujitsu.

Fujitsu has supported the Innovation Award at the Thinkers50 for over a decade, presenting awards to previous winners Vijay Govindarajan, Scott Anthony and Linda Hill.

Out of the many awards presented on the night, why do we choose to support this one?

Innovation is not only something we value at Fujitsu but is our reason for being in business. As a company with a long history, we have been able to remain relevant to our customers by finding new problems to solve and new ways to innovate. From a product manufacturing company to a solution services company, we are now changing to be a Sustainability Transformation company.

Delivering sustainability starts with understanding problems and challenges. We need wisdom and knowledge to see clearly what our priorities should be and where the solutions come from. Thinkers therefore give us hope. This for me is why ideas are so important.

Sheena Iyengar, who I presented this year’s Innovation Award to, is the embodiment of someone who brings hope.

She is the inaugural S.T. Lee Professor of Business in the Management Division at Columbia Business School and she has written many books on choice and decision-making. Here she was being recognised for her latest book ‘Think Bigger: How to Innovate’.

It is a framework for thinking more effectively, having better ideas, and making them real. Professor Iyengar is a true inspiration and thoroughly deserving of the award.

Thinkers50 Innovation Award Winner, Sheena Iyengar (far left) , speaks at the presentation ceremony
Thinkers50 Innovation Award Winner, Sheena Iyengar (far left) , speaks at the presentation ceremony

Changing mindset to transform our impact

Having the right mindset is essential if we are to transform our businesses to be relevant to both customers and society alike. In my recent report 'Sustainabilty Transformation for our Planet,' I argue that we need to shift from forward thinking to generational thinking. That means changing our focus to how we might create value over the next two or three years, to how we deliver positive outcomes for the next generation.

For businesses, this is naturally a hard choice to make, and sometimes even an expensive one. But just as organisations exercise discipline in their management of company resources, so we must do the same in living within the boundaries of our own planet.

By thinking about these problems, we bring hope. And by acting on our thoughts, we create opportunity. Technology and data offer genuine possibilities to reduce environmental impact while driving business growth.

For instance, we are working with Bayer Crop Science to rapidly accelerate the process of finding new strains of cereal. We are collaborating with Mizuho Bank to collect and visualise ESG data, so they can accurately measure and reduce their environmental impact.

Technologies like AI, Digital Twins and Quantum Computing will become the key tools in solving these issues, innovation that all of us at Fujitsu are passionate about driving.

At the same time, we are working to reduce our own impact. Fujitsu has succeeded in visualizing CO2 emissions throughout its supply chain through participation in the World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s Partnership for Carbon Transparency (PACT) Implementation program, the world’s first social implementation program to enable business-to-business data integration for product carbon footprint (PCF) information.

If you would like to know where to start and how Fujitsu can help you on your journey of Sustainabilty Transformation, download my recent report on the button below.

But for now, congratulations to Professor Iyengar and all the other worthy winners at the Thinkers50!

Des Dearlove and Stuart Crainer, founders of Thinkers50, speak on stage at the event.
Des Dearlove and Stuart Crainer, founders of Thinkers50, speak on stage at the event.

Sustainability Transformation for our planet

How do we go from forward thinking to generational thinking?
Unlock business growth with environmental sustainability in our expert report by Fujitsu SVP Ichiro Aoyagi. 

Image of the white paper
Image of the white paper

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