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FUJITSU LIMITED FUJITSU Knowledge Integration Base PLY

FUJITSU Knowledge Integration Base PLY

Loftwork Inc. tackles challenges faced by our clients with creativity and open collaboration through diverse networks. While we work in various fields and design various things, such as the web, products, community and space, our general philosophy is always the same.

"Why is it needed?" "Who is it valuable for?" "What is really important?"

By asking these fundamental questions, and deeply pursuing these questions with team members that transcend the boundaries of large businesses, we put these values into words. In our case studies, we introduce our process of giving birth to value from scratch and how we added to those values with creativity through conversations between our project members.

Summary of the project

"FUJITSU Knowledge Integration Base PLY" was established on the 23rd of May 2016 in the Fujitsu Solution Square in Kamata, home to many of FUJITSU LIMITED's software engineers. It was created as one initiative towards the realization of "FUJITSU Knowledge Integration", the integration concept announced by FUJITSU LIMITED in 2015.

PLY is a facility that serves as a place for open innovation with the support of businesses from different fields as well as the local area. PLY provides various opportunities for its attendees, including collaborative projects such as ideathons and hackathons, sharing domestic and international trends in ICT, industry types and industries, and promoting the matching of people that visited this facility.

Loftwork Inc. has been collaborating on a project with the members of the FUJITSU GROUP since the November of 2015. We have provided support mainly in projects such as the grand concept design for PLY, directing the design of the space and the interiors, videos for promotional purposes, playbooks, and other various promotional tools.

  • Areas we provide support in
    - Deciding the grand concept/ requirement definition
    - Designing space/ interior design
    - Production of various promotional tools
  • Time period of the projects
    - November 2015~
  • Related services
    - Space design
    - Product design
    - Creating pamphlets of products
  • Project structure
    - Loftwork Inc. Project Manager: Hiroki Tanahashi
    - Loftwork Inc. Creative Director: Yumiko Ishikawa / Tomoko Sekiguchi
    - Art Direction/ Design: Masato Yamaguchi (IDEASKETCH) / Nozomi Akutsu (IDEASKETCH)
    - Copy Writing: Seiya Munakata (White Note)
    - Space Design/ Interior Design Direction: Yoshino Huruichi Architectural Design Office
    - Still Photographer: Keisuke Kitamura
    - Film Direction: Tokyo Drone / EXIT FILM

Project members (From the upper left) FUJITSU LIMITED Mr. Fukumura, Mr. Horie, FUJITSU DESIGN LIMITED Mr. Takasaki/ (From the lower left) Loftwork Inc. Ishikawa, Sekiguchi, Tanahashi

We visited the newly opened PLY, and interviewed the project members about the background and goals of the founding of PLY, the process of space making, and their plans for the future.


Grand concept decision/ Requirement definition

We started with a concept of creating new value with the people, knowledge, and the experiences that have accumulated at FUJITSU Knowledge Integration, and a metaphor where a collection of fibers created one string and begins transforming into new material. With this concept and metaphor, we created the name "PLY" and the concept for the space. We refined our concept through multiple conversations with the project members.

We compared dots and lines to connections in knowledge, and created a design that could unfold in many scenes. The art direction was headed by IDEASKETCH. The finished concept and visuals were used for various creative settings, such as space design and creating promotional tools.

Space design / interior design

Based on the basic concept of space created by the project members of the two companies, we asked Ms. Yoshino Huruichi of the Yoshino Huruichi Architectural Design Office to be in charge of the interior design, including original pieces of furniture.

We also designed furniture and household items for a prototype display to promote the activities of PLY. By purposefully maintaining a rough state, we propose a free space so that viewers can use their imagination on how the space can be used. The still image of the space was photographed by Mr. Keisuke Kitamura.

Inside the facility, we have set up a space where various prototyping can be done. By creating an open space, personal relationships are born, giving rise to interesting prototypes daily.

Creating various promotional tools


We have designed promotional tools to be used in PLY such as coasters, stickers, and polo shirts based off the general concept that was examined by FUJITSU and Loftwork Inc. We also created a concept book that turn the environment and the possibilities of the activities that are held in this environment into a message that communicates to outside of the company.

In the concept book, we asked IDEASKETCH to head the art direction, and the copy writing to White Note and Seiya Munataka. Through a series of debates with the project members, we worked together to create a message that best communicates the concepts and thoughts behind PLY.

The main visuals used on the web and the concept book were filmed on the roof of the Kawasaki factory of FUJITSU. The composition was designed by IDEASKETCH, and using drones that were directed by Tokyo Drone's Mr. Mitsuhiro Takeda, a total of 50 members of the cast including employees of FUJITSU LIMITED and Loftwork Inc. all participated in the filming.

We also created a video for promotional use. It tells a story of a boy that fell in love with an older woman and the members of PLY that work together to communicate that love to the woman. The video describes the appealing aspects about PLY such as its concept, worldview, and functions. The direction and filming/ editing was done by Mr. Yoshihiro Tamura of EXIT FILM.

Reflecting on the PLY project with the members

What was the background/ goal for founding PLY?

Mr. Kenichi Fukumura, FUJITSU LIMITED Global Service Integration Section Business Management Headquarters Strategic Planning Integration Department

-- Please tell us about FUJITSU's work with "co-creation." What fundamental challenges are you facing that prompt you to strive for "co-creation?"

New key words such as cloud computing, Big Data, and IoT continue to appear, and as these words turn into real practice, our company that works mainly with system integration is unable to maintain our traditional stance if we wish to keep up.

Since around 2012, we have challenged ourselves in many ways to create a structure that could flexibly correspond with the changing times. The many hackathons we have hosted are a part of this effort. Even more, through such efforts, opportunities to challenge ourselves to try new things even in the working sites are increasing, especially with the younger employees.

-- I understand, so you have tried many things in order to keep up with the change in environment. Through those efforts, the consciousness on site gradually changed, leading to this project, which is another new challenge. Why did you decide to create a co-creating space here in Kamata?

As the flow of digitization advances, the boundaries between industries, fields, and businesses become more blurred. Our company, which works in every field of industry related to business, proposed a new integration concept called "FUJITSU Knowledge Integration" that will be the drive of digital businesses in the future during the May of 2015, which gets rid of every type of boundary. Our aim is to create a place for co-creation in order to achieve this goal.

While there were some voices stating that the place for co-creation should be created separate from the office, but it is also true that we ourselves have to change. What we aimed to create was an innovation space for SE, and realized that the space that works as a flagship for such spaces should be easily accessible for our employees.

The process of space design

Loftwork Inc. Hiroki Tanahashi

-- What was the process that Loftwork Inc. took to shape the concepts at FUJITSU?

Tanahashi (Loftwork Inc.):
We started by thinking about the larger concept of the "environment" rather than "space." More specifically, we absorbed what the people on the field are thinking through a workshop held with the SE department, as well as other departments that are very interested in creating the environment. From there, we explored how best to incorporate everybody's thoughts and wishes.

What we gained from that process was the concept word "PLY," which condenses the term "FUJITSU Knowledge Integration." By using the keyword "ply" which means to gather diverse materials, we inserted a message of wanting to create "something" valuable through meeting new people, collecting knowledge, and accumulating practice.

Loftwork Inc. Yumiko Ishikawa

Ishikawa (Loftwork Inc.):
We welcomed IDEASKETCH into our group of project members, and advanced with developing the concept and the creatives. The image of dots connecting to create lines, which then spread to create a surface is used in various communication tools for PLY.

Sekiguchi (Loftwork Inc.):
What I found most refreshing about the workshop is that every individual at SE of FUJITSU had many thoughts and ideas. saying, "Actually, I want to try this out!"

We saw many possibilities for the direction of the project after the workshop, but we did not organize and articulate these directions on purpose so that we can leave the blank space of possibilities. This is because organizing things beautifully is not PLY-like. We believed that it is more like PLY to add, transform, and leave space for change.

Mr. Toru Takasaki, FUJITSU DESIGN LIMITED UX Service& Solution Design Division

-- It is wonderful that powerful ideas are born from the people working on site. I thought it described well the style, or the atmosphere, of FUJITSU. Please tell us, Mr. Takasaki, the points that you particularly focused on when designing the space.

We are aiming to create space that could change and continue evolving depending on the person using it. Therefore, we didn't pursue the detailed aspects deeply, and instead we put at forefront a good kind of "roughness." It was a challenge to express this type of roughness in a large organization like FUJITSU, but we really pushed the boundaries.

So it was a challenge to find balance between respecting the identity that Fujitsu has upheld, but still breaking the shell to innovate and create.

Loftwork Inc. Tomoko Sekiguchi

We advanced with the project while those involved continued explaining to Mr. Takasaki and Mr. Horie that even when the appearances were changing greatly, we were still loyally maintaining FUJITSU's identity and rules of design.

Another important aspect that we focused on was to create a unique value, or originality. We approached the process by not using something that has been completed outside, but to purposefully create using the materials that we find here. We realized that this way, the value of the environment increases.

We were inspired by the idea of "an environment where differing things meet," and used that inspiration by combining very different materials. Actually, for much of the materials that we used, we selected to fit the concept.

Various new challenges/ Hopes for the future

-- You have created not only the concept, the design of the space, and directed the interior design, but also the concept book for PLY, the PLY card where staff can write a message to the users, polo shirt for the staff, and promotional movies. Mr. Tanahashi, why did you create the concept book?

We created the book not as a guideline for using the space, but more for the users to feel the images and concepts PLY had for the space, and for them to agree with it. PLY has many possibilities that cannot be described with one phrase, ("a place where you can do ---") so we didn't want to provide an instruction manual or a guideline, but rather the vision for the space.

In PLY, the way we think and the process of the challenge is more important than the contents of the facility. PLY is also dependent on the connections and friends. In the concept, we call to those friends and let them know that there is a culture that embraces these kinds of challenges.

I agree, we did think about how PLY sounds like Play, so we can call out, would you like to do something with us? (laughs)

Mr. Takeshi Horie, FUJITSU LIMITED Global Marketing Headquarters General Design Center Chief Designer

A concept book that is not the typical explanatory book that explains the facility, but rather explains the vision, was a new challenge for our company. So in that way, we did face a challenge. Even more, the method and the concept of having employees come out and connecting their individual thoughts was new.

-- Why do you think the PLY Project was able to overcome these challenges?

The greatest point is how to communicate to our customers as the FUJITSU brand. If we deviate from our company's guidelines, the project would lose its axis, so by exploring the areas where we can venture out while maintaining FUJITSU's style we were able to merge properly the goals of the project and the brand. This was possible because we had a clear concept and goal.

-- The space just opened, but already many people are using it. Have you had any reactions from these people?

The general response from the company is good, but the overwhelming majority say that they still don't know how to use the space. I think there is still a gap between the content described in the concept book and how it is being used now. The next step is to fill those gaps.

In the future, I want new ideas to be born, create new things, provide new opportunities, and give birth to new services and businesses like the story that is illustrated in the concept book.

The whole process of thinking about PLY from the same stance, and making PLY and enjoying PLY was extremely calming.

Both the space design and the play book process was a series of trial and error, so I felt that the unification of the team that overcame these difficulties was amazing. It was really a fun project!

-- We will continue to pay attention to how PLY will grow and develop in the future. Thank you very much for today!