The Current Status and Future of the Sekisui Chemical Group ~Part.1 About the Future

My Background

Since joining Sekisui Chemical about forty years ago, I have worked continuously in the establishment of new businesses and in R&D. The launching of new businesses is more difficult than I imagined, and there have been a series of setbacks and challenges. However, I have never believed in quitting when faced with adversity. In fact, it often instills within me a drive to try even harder. I believe there are two reasons for this. First, the more you learn about the difficulties in setting up a new business, the more you come to appreciate the challenges the founders of Sekisui Chemical faced when building a base for the company. Moreover, as you understand that the company is only where it is due to the struggles of those first leaders, you come to feel a certain sense of guilt in that you are benefiting from their efforts without making your similar contribution of your own. Of course, my aim is to launch new businesses and pass on my sense of gratitude to those who came before me to those joining Sekisui Chemical now and in the future. I strongly believe is the correct course of action and in this respect the company itself should be viewed as something of a dynamic, never-ending relay game.
The second point is that the bases for Sekisui Chemical’s main businesses, including housing, pipes, tapes, foam, interlayer films, and other businesses, were all built prior to 1980. To put it in more extreme terms, R&D since the 1980s has not been a primary driver in the formation of the company’s current mainstay businesses. I am driven by the need to not only reflect carefully on why this is so, but also enact strategies to fundamentally change the way we advance R&D.

Building a Sekisui Chemical That is Loved and Respected around the World

I think that the goal – and it is an achievable goal – of Sekisui Chemical is to be a company that develops businesses that offer strong levels of value for society, and to become a company that is both well known and loved around the world.
If the 1980s to 1990s was the age of the semiconductor, the years from 2000 were the age of IT. Now we have to ask what technologies will usher in the next age. I’m certain the answer is in chemicals. I believe keywords in adding value to society include “the environment,” “safety,” “comfort,” “health,” and “urbanization,” and Sekisui Chemical is well positioned in each of these areas to fulfill the hopes of society. I look forward to continuing to work towards this goal with a real sense of mission.
The Corporate R&D Center has the freedom to conduct operations that sometimes contrast with those at the company as a whole. As the company puts in its best effort in its operations, R&D is focused on producing results that are both socially responsible and add value to society, even if these efforts are in areas that are slightly beyond the scope of the company’s current businesses. R&D frequently asks itself whether needs or seeds should come first, though I believe the concept of “need to do” is especially important. The corporate nature of the Center allows research and development to focus its efforts in this direction.
On this same “need to do” basis, the R&D Center is concentrating its work on “the environment” and “energy” domains. We very much look forward to our work producing favorable results.

The "Future Information Box" as a Tool to Bolster Creativity

I have seen some dramatic changes in the 60 years I’ve been alive. I also note that the pace of change is becoming faster and faster, and it is very possible the world 20 to 30 years from now will be almost unrecognizable. Something else to consider is that those who are young today will be in their prime in 20 to 30 years. I’m really hoping that those working at Sekisui Chemical can not only anticipate these changes, but also play a leading role in instigating them. The future is always uncertain, but also inevitable. I believe it should be met head-on with no fear and a sense of anticipation. The future is, after all, part of one’s own life.
When I think of business, I think less of continuity and more of creation. Amid fierce competition, it is vital to employ extreme levels of creativity to move faster than other companies and to do things that no other company can do. Creativity is not a special term reserved exclusively for those in new businesses and those engaged in R&D – it is a vital concept for anyone in any kind of competitive environment.
The concept of a “future information box” involves actively sharpening creativity in every situation in order to play a leading role in a dramatically changing future. Learning from reading alone indicates passiveness, and passiveness does not give rise to creativity. Rather, I believe creativity comes from the ability to transmit what is felt, and we are of course looking forward to the active contributions of all. I will admit that when I was younger, I was not particularly creative. However, I have realized that I have come to consider how to best use creativity in many of the things I have thought about over so many years. By using the “future information box,” I believe I can little by little transfer my own experience to others.
It is my fervent hope that the Sekisui Chemical Group can continue to be a company worthy of the love of society, that those supporting the group can show leadership in creativity, and that they can spend happy and fulfilling days as they not only create but also play leading roles in our future.