Vol.3 No.3 2010

Interview : Meta-engineering that promotes innovation−238−Synthesiology - English edition Vol.3 No.3 (2010) (Suzuki) Yes, exactly. They think that is the proper thing to do. I think it will be interesting to do education that removes that kind of framework.(Akamatsu) I think the shift in perspective is important, and engineers tend to get fixed perspective if they stay in one place too long. I’m sure there are many technologies in GE, but do people go to different sections?(Suzuki) At GE, mobility is fairly high. Someone in sales may go to marketing, or become in charge of acquisition, which we call business development, or do project management. People experience different types of work to enhance their own expertise. If one stays in a position for 18 months, you earn the right to move to another section.(Akamatsu) So it is a right. Are there incentives to encourage mobility?(Suzuki) We have an intranet web-site for recruitment. It is called COS or career opportunity system, and it shows which country, what position, and what kind of work types requires people. It allows people to obtain information about their destination easily. Also, the salary format changes when one changes position, and that can be a great incentive. If the person is capable, the salary increases for sure, and that is a powerful motivation. Of course, the person may also loose a position.Contact point of synthesiology and meta-engineering(Akamatsu) When considering the promotion of innovation through meta-engineering, the discovery of the potential issues is important, and shifting the perspective is important to make such a discovery. What else do you think other than case study research will enable this?(Suzuki) We don’t have any specific ideas yet, and I don’t know whether it is better to collect the successful innovation stories or find examples of failures of why something did not lead to innovation. Japan is good at manufacturing and many great products have been made, but what is its limit? It will be interesting to investigate this topic.Returning to the “what” and “how”, when we talk of monozukuri or “thing-making”, it is the multiplication of mono or “thing” and tsukuri or “making”. Japan concentrates on the “making” or the “how”, whereas perhaps the “thing” or the “what” may be more important. I think both “what” and “how” are needed to do “thing-making”.In the Unites States, the emphasis is on the thing they make. Therefore, if they are not good at making it, the making part can be outsourced. If many things are made, they can figure out a way of doing it well. If things are multiplied, that eventually leads to great innovation.(Akamatsu) In a company, even if the engineer has an idea, this idea may not go into the process of product realization, or the decision-making manager may not give the go to any product other than the one that already exists. I feel there is a lack of decision-making ability to create products with totally different way of thinking. In that sense, are there some relationships between technological management and meta-engineering?(Suzuki) I think there is a close relationship. The management in technological management is not necessarily the same as the management of business. It is how one can use a certain technology well. In the example of “thing-making”, I said it is the multiplication of the “what” and “how”, and I think “technological management” is the multiplication of “technology” and “management”. Even if you’ve got good technology, it won’t be useful without good management, and good management won’t be effective without good technology. It is necessary to build up this balance through multiplication. I think meta-engineering can play a significant role here.(Akamatsu) Then, can people who have been doing only management do meta-engineering? In synthesiology, we think that a person can take the next step because he/she is highly knowledgeable about the technology of the research subject. I think this is a prerequisite for a researcher, but how is it for meta-engineering?Dr. Motoyuki Akamatsu


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