Tokyo Tech News
Tokyo Tech’s Laboratory for Design of Social Innovation in Global Networks (DLab), a platform that brings the Institute’s members together with the public to design a more desirable future, hosted the DLab Partners kickoff meeting on September 15. The inaugural event was held online due to the effects of COVID-19.
DLab aims to unite people from all walks of life, and interested businesses and organizations form one branch of these collaborative groups. After joining DLab on a membership basis, DLab Partners can expect a setting where ideas are freely shared regardless of affiliation or position — an open place to think about the future. In principle, all information shared and ideas created during these sessions are open to the public.
Fifteen representatives from seven DLab Partners — Asahi Kasei Corporation, NEC Corporation, Sony Corporation, Nihon Unisys, Ltd., Mazda Motor Corporation, Inspire Corporation, and Curious Capital Corporation — participated in the September 15 event. These corporate participants were joined by 17 members of DLab.
Some objectives of the kickoff meeting were to familiarize these new partners with DLab’s long-term, future-oriented approach, summarize DLab’s activities thus far, and share both individual and collective hopes and expectations for the future. After DLab Director Isao Satoh’s warm greeting, DLab Associate Director Naoto Ohtake recounted some of DLab’s achievements, and introduced partners to the recently established DLab Research Grant.
DLab Team Create member Hajime Nitta, who also heads the Research Development Section at Tokyo Tech’s Office of Research and Innovation, then introduced a framework for DLab Partner activities for the remainder of academic year 2020.
During this kickoff session, participants were encouraged to choose one of DLab’s future scenarios, and to think about how components of a particular future vision can be used to solve current issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. At the next workshop, these ideas will be shared in groups and polished further while considering how science and technology can contribute to the solution. The third gathering will focus on presentations by and Q&A sessions with Tokyo Tech researchers who are engaged in studies related to ideas formulated in the previous workshop. The final DLab Partners workshop will culminate in the proposal of new businesses and services that support society in the COVID-19 era.
This was the first DLab event held fully online, and a relaxed atmosphere prevailed throughout the discussions. After the day’s program officially ended with closing words from Tokyo Tech Vice President for Research Development and DLab Team Create member Kaoru Kuwata, conversations continued among partners on the online discussion platform. After the meeting, participants commented, "In addition to the conventional form of industry-academia collaboration, this kind of engagement with companies allows us to consider the future from a wider variety of perspectives."
Tokyo Tech is already looking forward to hosting the next DLab Partners workshop planned for October 2020.
Designing our future together
By gauging the needs and desires of society through dialogue, and by designing our future together, DLab aims to create a brighter, more prosperous world.