The second reason we decided to pursue collaborative innovation involves our history and DNA as a photographic film manufacturer. With a focus on materials chemistry, our technologies extend to image processing, optics, mechanical and electrical engineering, software, and much more. The majority of our current technologies originated in our photographic film business. With this business model, physical product quality is what drove the market. And we added services into the marketing mix and maintained a kind of self-sufficient system internally.
“The samurai become stronger by leaving the dojo and sparring with warriors from other traditions.”
With only a few film manufacturers in the world, in order to gain any kind of marginal competitive advantage, each company leveraged its unique technologies as much as possible to maximize quality. We Fujifilm researchers would shut ourselves in our research center near Mt. Fuji, like samurai who never left the dojo, just working on our swordsmanship all day. We were ceaselessly honing our advanced technologies. I am an organic synthesis researcher, and so I know how Fujifilm research really works. All the technologies our researchers have developed are truly world-leading, and they played a vital role in taking our photographic film business to the top of the industry.
Now, in our new digital society, photographic film has mostly been replaced by digital photography, and Fujifilm has launched successful new initiatives in healthcare and highly functional materials and become a much more multifaceted company overall. Opportunities to use our photographic film technologies in new businesses continue to expand. We need to look for any opportunities to leverage these technologies to create new value, and to make that happen, we need to meld our perspective with that of companies in many different fields. So it’s imperative that we match up the seeds of our future success with the undiscovered needs of the larger world out there.
So our second reason for pursuing collaborative innovation comes down to this: when samurai leave the dojo and spar with martial artists from all around the world, they acquire new weapons and strategies. Doing that over and over can create a virtuous cycle. Fujifilm’s warriors can embrace both old and new and grow in the process. That’s what we’re after.
Fujifilm is not a beginner when it comes to collaborative innovation. For example, take our WV (wide-view) Film, which widens the viewing angle of LCDs. Fujifilm currently boasts the largest global market share for this product. We developed WV Film by collaborating with panel manufacturer Sharp and materials manufacturer Daicel. Our goal going forward is to generate successes in every field.