Please enable JavaScript in your browser to view this site in optimal condition.
When displaying with JavaScript disabled, some functions may not be available or correct information may not be obtained.

Hiroshima for Global Peace

– Going digital is indispensable for solving social issues. Have imagination to think through the essence of issues –

2022 Hiroshima Business Forum for Global Peace: Speaker Interview
Ms. Naoko Ishihara, Director of the Working AI & DX Research Institute, ExaWizards Inc

1) Please describe your company’s business.

ExaWizards is a technology company that operates with the mission of solving social issues with AI to create a happy society.
The Working AI & DX Research Institute is an in-house research institute of ExaWizards. It has been established so that ExaWizards, which provides human resources and personnel-related services, can deepen its understanding of issues between companies and workers and disseminate information that presents the future to Japanese companies, the government, and workers regarding changes in the nature of work and employment around the world and the possibility of using data and technology in the field of human capital.

2) Initiatives related to the remarks delivered in the session

In your speech, you said that the proposition imposed on companies in the 21st century was to be a presence that solves social issues and that, to this end, it was necessary to think about “What” (what the world wants) and “How” (how to achieve it). You also said that imagination was important to understand the reality of the world and how digital technology could be used to solve customer issues. Could you please explain this with an easy-to-understand example?

“What,” referred to here, means to think through and identify what people are really struggling with and what the essential issues are. For instance, in order to solve the labor shortage at convenience stores and supermarkets, one company is conducting a demonstration experiment aimed at fully automating cash registers. Meanwhile, another company is trying to eliminate all cash registers by charging customers after they leave the store with their purchased products. A fully automated cash register seems to take longer to settle payments than a clerk-operated cash register. It also looks as if more space would be needed. The essential issue is not to mechanize cash registers but to settle payments without human intervention. In essence, it is questioned whether we can reach the point where cash registers are not necessary.
The purpose of innovation for any company is to improve the customer and client experience. Accordingly, it is necessary to think through what customers and clients want, what they are dissatisfied with or have a problem with, and what we can change to make them feel happier. Imagination is essential for us to think about customer issues from the perspective of customers. In particular, in the B-to-C field, it is important to make full use of your five senses to catch the emotions of the customer in front of you, and to use your imagination to think about why he/she feels that way.

“How” refers to the means of realizing “What” identified earlier. The power of digital technology is overwhelmingly strong and superior as a means of solving modern problems. There is very little we can do without the use of digital technology to solve issues, such as eliminating CO2 emissions, solving food and water issues, preventing epidemics, and treating intractable diseases. Accordingly, it is necessary to work hard to master digital technology and develop a digital mindset, understanding that innovation cannot happen without the use of digital technology. In a narrow sense, reskilling means acquiring digital skills necessary for future work, and reskilling all employees will be a human resource development strategy with a high priority for any company.



You listed five conditions necessary for a company to solve social issues: (1) trusting employees, (2) respecting young people, (3) allowing employees enough time, (4) allowing for failure, and (5) making all employees digitally literate. Please tell us more about these.


① Trusting employees
Those who are most familiar with customer and client information are the on-site employees. A company that does not respect the remarks and ideas of on-site employees (= a company that does not trust employees) cannot bring about innovation.


② Respecting young people
It is a fact that young people overwhelmingly have a high affinity with digital technology and a strong ability to master it. There will be more and more situations where young people teach you digital technology and lead its development. A company where young employees are not respected will definitely lag behind in the field of digital technology.


③ Allowing employees enough time
Acquiring digital skills takes time. It is unacceptable to ask employees to acquire digital skills on their own while having them work hard. Accordingly, reform of working practices is important for employees to have time for learning. Since digitization and the use of digital technology should have a major impact on work style reform itself, it would be useful to start digital implementation within companies from this perspective.


④ Allowing for failure
Innovation is bound to fail. Innovation will not happen in a workplace where failures are criticized or not allowed at all. A company should tolerate failures and learn from them through a cycle of trial and error.


⑤ Making all employees digitally literate
Digital power is definitely needed for any innovation to happen. Business people who cannot use or take advantage of digital power and who do not know what digital technology can do will not survive in the future. Companies need to improve the digital literacy of all employees.

3) Expectations for Hiroshima Prefecture

Do you have any expectations for Hiroshima Prefecture’s future activities toward the realization of a truly peaceful and sustainable international community?


Regarding Hiroshima’s competitive advantage over the rest of the world, I believe that Hiroshima’s right to speak out on peace is number one in the world. I therefore would like Hiroshima to become a model local government that identifies “What” is necessary to achieve peace and establishes a methodology for its solution ahead of the rest of the world. For instance, how about recruiting researchers from all over the world so that you can say that all sorts of research related to peace, from engineering to law and philosophy, such as the use of science for peace and food and water distribution strategies for peace, is carried out at the two prefectural universities? I believe that the dissemination from Hiroshima of methodologies for the promotion of dialogue for peace and the deterrence of conflict will have a great impact on the world.


ExaWizards Inc. Hataraku AI & DX Institute. Director

Tags associated with this article