A group of 22 Fujitsu employees visited the RCA to collaborate with ten Innovation Design Engineering students in a two-day hackathon.
The hackathon was initiated by Masahiro Fujimoto who leads Fujitsu’s design team in the UK. The project was managed by Kurosawa Yu and supported by Post Experience Programme (PEP) student Ippei Takami, who was delighted to share his IDE experience with his colleagues at Fujitsu.
“I recognised this as an opportunity to create and prototype real-world concepts aligned to Fujitsu’s future vision.”Fujitsu
Fujitsu are the world’s fourth largest company in IT services and the largest Japanese company in the UK. They provide technology solutions across various industries including healthcare, agriculture and transport management. Globally, their products contribute to a range of scenarios, from the utilisation of real-time data for solving transport issues, to the advancement of science through simulations created using their super computer technology.
The visiting Fujitsu employees, from both the UK and Japanese offices, included software engineers, Internet of Things (IoT) architects, programmers, business strategists and product, service and user interface designers. They joined IDE second-year students in the hackathon, which was led by Tim Corvin, senior visiting lecturer and RCA Design Management alumnus.
The aim of the workshop was to develop and test concepts for human centric IoT products and services, through the creation of working prototypes. The College fully organised and facilitated the event and provided physical prototyping expertise. This offered the Fujitsu team a unique opportunity to experience the fast-paced creative techniques and environment of the IDE Programme.
On the first day guest speaker Duncan Wilson, Intel Director at ICRI Sustainable Cities, shared his expert insight on the use of IoT technology within urban environments. Senior IDE tutor Yoon Bahk introduced participants to creative idea generating techniques. They were also joined by IDE graduate and former Helen Hamlyn Senior Research Associate, Ross Atkin and Wai-Chuen Cheung, a current InnovationRCA incubatee, who shared their IoT prototyping experience and expertise during the event.
‘Through idea sharing on the first day, we saw how an idea could be built very quickly from nothing’, explained Charles Leclercq, one of the student participants. Part of this idea sharing happened through speed pitching, based on a speed-dating format. ‘We had to pitch in just 30 seconds, followed by a minute of feedback before moving on,’ Charles explained. ‘This rapid feedback meant you could make instant improvements to your idea and quickly identify the essentials.’
At the end of the first day, participants were split into five teams of mixed skills and specialisms. They were tasked with collaboratively developing their initial ideas into working demonstrations over the course of the second day, with an emphasis on prototyping innovative elements.
The outcomes from the five teams varied, spanning the different sectors Fujitsu works within, from improving health and efficiency within the workplace, to educational and transportation concepts. The outcomes are currently undergoing further development and patenting by Fujitsu before being made public in the near future.
The two days of focused interaction provided a vital networking opportunity, both for the students and members of the Fujitsu team. ‘The creativity, inter-disciplinary collaboration, productivity, enthusiasm and excitement of the event is what was most notable’, explained Tim Corvin, who directed and managed the event.
The collaboration offered Fujitsu an opportunity to experience the innovative design methods that take place at the RCA. For the College, the hackathon provided the basis for building a longer-term relationship with Fujitsu.
“We were delighted to give the Fujitsu team a taster of what our students are capable of achieving in the commercial world and hope this will give Fujitsu employees the confidence to achieve their ambitious vision for the future of connected technology.”Head of Programme, Innovation Design Engineering
“It was wonderful to hear the feedback from my colleagues from all parts of our business, expressing their amazement at how much they had achieved in such a short space of time. They were especially inspired by the creative, technical and practical skills of IDE students and graduates.”Fujitsu
“It was fun, engaging and gave me perspective on corporate innovation cycles. I really enjoyed that everyone was able to step out of their usual perspectives.”Student