*This is a transcript of Professor Shuichi Fukuda’s presentation at the Macedonia2025 Summit 2016*
Today I am talking about my idea. I am afraid my idea might not help Macedonia so much but I hope that it will work at least a little bit for the country. The topic of my talk is New Value Creation through Emotional Engineering. First of all I would like to talk how the world is changing from yesterday to today. Yesterday our world was very much small and closed; our world was one that was bounded, but now it is expanding very rapidly to become an open world. This is an age of exploration. We are exploring the new world that we are facing today. When we compare the transportation system, yesterday was an age of trains and with it came problems regarding speed and efficiency. Now is an age of ships – we set sail to the sea world, but the sailing is subject to unpredictable outcomes because of hurricanes and storms. This means that we have to adapt fast to the changing situations and that is what we are facing today.
We can compare this with other examples. In this case let’s take agriculture; the land is limited [for production], but if we accumulate experience then we can organize the knowledge in order to have a rich harvest. Decision making is very important for the challenges facing us today. So the quality is improving. Engineers put vast effort to improve the quality, but there is a law, called Weber-Fechner Law; according to this we need a small, proportional stimulus. If I raise my voice to scorn my students, they don’t care because I regularly talk loud – they don’t notice that I have raised my voice.
If we raise the quality of something to a high level our customers cannot see how the quality has improved and that is a challenge. So we should consider how we can convince the customers that we are providing them with a better quality. [The American psychologist] Maslov presented the Hierarchy of human Needs where at the bottom of the pyramid humans look for material satisfaction; but as we are going up the pyramid what we are finding is the need for mental satisfaction. People look for mental satisfaction in a product, but the attention [of companies] is how to provide a better product – the production is product-centric. There needs to be a shift in the focus of product engineering.
The American psychologists Deci (Edward L.) and Ryan (Richard M.) propose a self-determination theory, saying there are two kinds of motivations – intrinsic and extrinsic. The extrinsic motivation is a kind of reward, to use an economic term; there is a reward for the consumer if the company provides a very good product for the customers. What is more important is how to inspire intrinsic motivation. Deci and Ryan also tell us that humans have a need to grow, because we tend to forget about this. This session is about sustainable development, whose concern is, how can we keep growing, but that is very much related to human motivation and this is where intrinsic motivation comes in – how do we inspire the human desire for growth, how can we make people more satisfied? We are talking about how we can develop a better quality product, but that is not what really satisfies our customers. To really satisfy our customers we should think about the intrinsic motivation or there need and desire to grow. Also we should focus more on the process rather than the product.
And this can be practically seen in software development. One great example of a continuous improvement in user satisfaction is software design by continuous prototyping styling. Software design starts with the very basics to include and provide a feeling of confidence and trust in the user. When people feel confident and put trust in the system their level of satisfaction is going up.
If we come back to the basics of things we get to Lego. The company simply produces blocks and give them to the customers. So there is no final product but the customers really enjoy how they can combine the different blocks according to their needs and they come up with a different kind of final product. They are creating their own experience and that gives them joy. So this is a process-oriented product that is very cost effective while it provides people satisfaction. So this idea brings us to modularization.
If we proceed with this kind of modularization we can engineer various building blocks. This is evident in the fashion industry, which has come much ahead from the engineering world by creating emotional modularization in a way that enables people to pick and combine what they want to wear, at a range of prices. The Japanese kimono is an example of that – it is made of four strips of fabric that people can combine – a grandmother can wear a piece of the kimono that her grandchild is wearing but in a different style. And all this is very important when it comes to engineering. Daihatsu has produced the Copen, which is made of interchangeable parts. So tomorrow maybe there will be “car codes” in addition to “dress codes” that would require people to put together a car from specific parts to drive to the meeting place. That is not a dream, it is a reality.
There is also the coming of material digitalization. Yesterday we had a very limited range of material selection, so we had to find satisfaction in what we were provided by the producer of materials. Maybe tomorrow materials can be reorganized and combined in a very different and flexible way.
Yesterday raw materials created a very limited selection and to answer that we came up with manufacturing technology or intermediate components and a better product which is very much linear. But tomorrow we are expecting lots of different intermediate components which can be shared across many different industries and between ships, automobiles, airplanes. While today “final product” companies are dominating, tomorrow, medium and small companies that evolve can make different applicable parts and a wider market for that. Customers will be more interested to have products whose application doesn’t deteriorate from the day it was delivered. Like in the example of Lego, the process value enables the user to use the product across time that spans over a lifetime.
3D printing now can enable people to experience the joy of creation as a creative experience, which is essential for the growth of humans.
To summarize, what characterizes humans is this: humans see the future. This is why engineers are here to create a future and life style that gets us away from the traditional framework of one-time-satisfaction experience. We should move much forward in a way which will enable us to make our dreams come true. In the age of exploration we are getting to a low-tech technology that improves the human experience. A restaurant chef might be highly-skilled but he or she still has a limited menu, in accordance to this, when we have to cook at home we have to rely on our limited skills and make use of what is left in the refrigerator to make a delicious meal. Theodore Roosevelt said: “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are”. To describe this in another way I will quote a famous American football coach of the Notre Dame College team who said, to collect the best players doesn’t mean having the best team; to make the best team you need flexible, adaptable players who will adapt to the situations.
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Professor Shuichi Fukuda is Adviser and Professor of System Design and Management at Keio University. He is an expert in CAE, dynamics, reliability engineering, intelligent production, emotional engineering and the management of technology.
Professor Fukuda has a PhD in engineering from the University of Tokyo (1972) and after working there and at Osaka University (1972-1989) he worked at Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Technology (TMIT) for over 16 years. At TMIT he served as Professor of System Engineering, Department Chair, Dean of Engineering and Dean of Library and Information Systems. He also served as Director of the Center for University-Industry-Government Collaboration. He was also a visiting professor at Stanford University and West Virginia University.
From 2007-2014, he was a Consulting Professor at Stanford University, Visiting Professor at Osaka University, Open University of Japan and Cranfield University (UK).
Professor Fukuda has also served as President of ISPE (International Society for Productivity Enhancement), Vice President of the Reliability Society (IEEE) and Chair of Computers and Information in Engineering Division, American Society of Mechanical Engineering (ASME). Prof Fukuda has over 30 awards including a Lifetime Achievement Award from ASME.