The seven themes for social value creation

Industry structures are evolving as typified by the changing environment surrounding consumers, the serious social challenges around corporations, and the acceleration of game changing events due to advances in ICT. NEC realizes Value Chain Innovation through the realization of a platform and co-creation for the sustainable development of corporations.

Looking ten years ahead

Creating new value through Value Chain Innovation

Social background

The game changing events from shifting consumer trends and values, serious social problems, and the development of ICT is bringing about a major transformation in the environment surrounding corporations. In addition to collaboration for the co-creation of the entire value chain spanning several industries, there is a pressing need to transform and rebuild the eco-system.

NEC’s approaches

NEC is actively promoting initiatives for co-creation and collaboration efforts for Value Chain Innovation and the sustainable development of corporations.

NEC’s vision for the future

NEC brings solutions to social problems and delivers new value through Value Chain Innovation that connects people, things, and processes to contribute to the realization of a brighter society and future where people can live comfortably.

What corporations need for sustainable growth?

The environment surrounding corporations changes from day to day. Although corporations offer optimal products and services to customers, they often lose market share within a short time after changes in the industry structure. The background to such occurrences is the complex relationship among the three elements below, which are also described in the chapter on megatrends.

The first element is the change in the environment and awareness of consumers. As consumer lifestyles and values become more diverse, they quickly shift from pursuing a better quality of life to pursuing material possessions, drawing increasing attention to consumption behavior (ethical consumption) with due consideration for the people, society, and the environment. There is also a growing trend for a sharing economy. Examples are not only in transportation as typified by Uber and Airbnb, but also in the sharing of unneeded objects and resources, such as money and labor by people.

The second element is the aggravation of social problems surrounding corporations. While society risks excessive resource consumption due to the concentration of the urban population, measures must be implemented to address food loss and disposal, and energy loss. In addition, some advanced countries, including Japan, face a decline in the number of people in the productive ages due to an aging population, which means the maintenance of a workforce is becoming an increasingly serious social problem. Because these problems extend across industries and corporations, the transformation and rebuilding of the eco-system is required, in addition to co-creation and collaboration in the entire value chain beyond industries.

The third element is the game changing events accelerated by the development of ICT. Industries are seeing changes at a faster pace where the rules of competition among corporations are changing and causing competition beyond industries. These changes are dramatically altering the industry structure. Interactions of information in the digital technology and the cyber world allow many people to quickly share and try ideas at low cost. In addition, the innovative services generated in the process are rapidly expanding across the world and driving out the existing business models and eco-system.

Transforming into sustainable corporations with Digital Transformation

Amidst rapid environmental changes and aggravating social challenges, Digital Transformation (DX) is one of the solutions for corporations to achieve sustainable growth. First, innovation of the value chain will be quickly realized through DX. The real world and society face many issues, such as food disposal and labor shortages. In the background, the mismatch of demand, supply, and human resources throughout the entire value chain causes severe inconsistencies. In order to provide the necessary products and services to the people who need them in the quantity needed and when needed, it is essential to understand the needs of consumers to share in the entire value chain. Based on the shared information, it is essential to realize innovation of the value chain by accurately predicting the future to eliminate inconsistencies and optimize demand, supply, and resources. This realization requires that each player in the entire value chain participate on a platform to co-create and collaborate in bringing solutions to such social challenges.

NEC contributes to the formation of a platform that optimizes the efficiency of demand, supply, and the use of energy with the help of Digital Twins. Digital Twins understand precisely the events of manufacturing, logistics, and retail to construct options in the cyber world in real-time. AI technology provides options for the real world to facilitate optimized manufacturing, logistics, and retail.

Moreover, DX promotes co-creation within the entire value chain beyond the boundaries of existing industries. To bring about Value Chain Innovation, networks linking corporations and experts to other organizations and groups, such as NGOs and NPOs spanning several industries, are essential. Through NEC’s Manufacturing Co-Creation Program, which systemizes and provides the experience and expertise for innovation of wide-ranging manufacturing and reform of the supply chain, NEC connects customers across the barriers of industries and corporations to link value.

NEC addresses social challenges in response to a diversifying consumer environment. By actively working to realize a platform for the sustainable growth of corporations and to promote co-creation, NEC delivers new value to the industrial sectors and contributes to the realization of a brighter society and future through Value Chain Innovation that connects people, things, and processes.

Initiatives for the future 01

NEC Manufacturing Co-Creation Program is used by over 1,000 corporations


For many years, NEC accumulated the experience and expertise in innovation of wide-ranging manufacturing and reform of the supply chain. The NEC Manufacturing Co-Creation Program systemizes and provides the knowledge and resources necessary to reinforce the supply chain and bring innovation to operational processes to successfully respond to game changes. A total of 1,132 corporations and 3,988 people*1 participate in the program. The program sponsors a wide variety of separate meetings, seminars, and factory tours of NEC plants. The exchange of information among customers helps create ideas free of the traditional approach and provides a system of collaboration that accelerates innovation. In addition, the NEC Industrial IoT Partners’ Program was established to develop a system for creating and offering higher value by combining NEC’s strengths in AI, IoT, and networks with the strengths of partner corporations. NEC also solves the needs (problems) that surface from cooperation research activities in the NEC Manufacturing Co-Creation Program along with the challenges faced by customers and society.

*1 As of September 2017.

Initiatives for the future 02

Collaborative research began with the aim of realizing air and a place for increased intellectual productivity


NEC partners with Daikin to launch a collaborative research and verification project to offer new value: air and a space for increased intellectual productivity.

NEC’s AI technology can visualize physical and mental states (sleepiness, stress level, etc.) based on the vital data (blood pressure, heart rate, etc.) of people in the room. In addition, by studying the correlation of temperature, humidity, scent, and illumination, the technology dynamically sets up an environment suitable for operations and the physical and mental states of people in the room to create air and space for increased intellectual productivity. NEC and Daikin will use the findings from the collaborative research to further study applications in other fields in the future. The cooperation will further expand to develop new businesses.

Social Value Creation Report