Industry-Academia Cooperation

Becoming a Knowledge-Creating Company Nurturing Skilled Professionals

KKE incorporates academic knowledge from universities and research institutes into the development of people and organizations that form the foundation of our business activities. Professor Tokuoka of Tama University Graduate School, who helped us create our personnel system and corporate philosophy, spoke about his evaluation of our corporate culture and his expectations for further value creation.

Koichiro Tokuoka
Koichiro Tokuoka

After graduating from the University of Tokyo with a bachelor's degree in Liberal Arts, Mr. Tokuoka worked in the Human Resources Department of Nissan Motor and Nissan Europe before becoming SVP (Senior Vice President) of Fleishman-Hillard Japan in 1999. He has been a professor at Tama University Graduate School since 2006 and Dean of the Graduate School since 2014. He will serve as Special Assistant to the President from April 2021. In 2017, he founded Life Shift Inc. and has been offering a series of lectures at Life Shift University.

A Knowledge-Creating Company through Management that Nurtures Ideas

With the transition from an information society to a knowledge-based society, the positioning of people in a company is changing from "human resources" to "human assets" as a management resource, and further to “skilled professionals” as a focus on individual talents. In order for a company to grow sustainably as a knowledge-creating company, it is important to build a strong corporate knowledge-creating infrastructure that nurtures, motivates, and evaluates diverse human resources, as well as business strategies and processes. The personnel system I was involved in at KKE incorporated MBO (Management By Objective) and MBB (Management By Belief), in addition to the performance-based approach that was the mainstream of conventional personnel evaluation. Everyone has a strong desire for work and life. With MBB, we aim to raise the quality of each person's thoughts, by verbalizing their thoughts in the form of a mission and vision and matching them with the direction that the company and society require through communication with their supervisors. It is also possible to encourage people to nurture their thoughts by encouraging "shadow work," where they find something they like to do outside of work and commit to it as if it were their work. These are progressive initiatives in which the desire for personal growth is key, and through my interviews with the staff, I was convinced that the KKE had the foundation to put MBB into practice.

Potential as a Group for Innovation

In this uncertain era, where digitalization and globalization are accelerating and various social issues such as global environmental protection are becoming more and more imminent, it is essential to keep innovating. In order to achieve this, it is important to discuss "what direction the future should take" from a broad perspective while firmly facing social issues at the turning point of the times. Even if we cannot come up with an answer right away, we can discuss and decide together what kind of future we want to achieve. By telling the story of the future in our own words, we can win the sympathy of the world, involve many partners and clients, and bring about innovation. I feel that KKE is a company that can do just that because I believe that a group of talented people who have developed their own ideas in an environment where "shadow work," "participation in academic societies," and "collaboration with universities and research institutes" are encouraged, excel at careful discussions from various perspectives and steady trial and error. In addition, through the connection with the academic world, I think it will be a great advantage to be exposed to values and time frames that are not confined to short-term results, which is not the case in the business world.

Maximizing Our Unique Position to Contribute to the World

KKE is in a unique position to tell the story of the future. Foreseeing the future can be described as "design" and constructing the future as "engineering," so telling the story of the future is consistent with the "design and engineering company" that KKE calls for in its corporate philosophy.

I also helped to create the corporate philosophy of the KKE, and I believe that "Innovating for a Wise Future," which was formulated as a Thought (an image and direction of the future that we aim for together with society), will resonate with many stakeholders as the company's message to our society.

KKE strives to innovate a wiser future together with its stakeholders
through dissemination of beneficial engineering-based technologies to society.

However, as we strive to adapt to the new-normal life under the Covid 19 pandemic, we need to redefine what innovation, wisdom, and future mean. In doing so, it is important to take a global perspective. As the raison d'etre and values of nations and corporations are shaken, it will be essential for Japanese society and corporations to have the competitiveness to compete on a global scale. Therefore, I hope to see those who help to support KKE to draw up a large-scale story such as how to contribute to the international society with their technologies and services and how to create solutions to enhance Japan's presence in the international society and strive to realize it.


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