In order for Sojitz to achieve further growth through the current and future medium-term management plans, we must not only discuss how to build off of past successes and existing businesses; we must also adopt a long-term outlook on global changes and world affairs in order to identify the best strategies and most important issues to tackle moving forward.
In FY2019, we launched the Hassojitz Project (Subtitle: Challenges for the World of 2050) with the objective of generating discussion about what “further growth” might mean for Sojitz and encouraging visionary and strategic thinking at the company. The Hassojitz Project was founded on the thoughts, perspectives, and ideas of the junior Sojitz employees who will lead the company in the future.
The Hassojitz Project is a part of our efforts to look ahead to the world of 2050 and create Sojitz’s two types of value through business and human resource development. We have positioned the project as one of a variety of initiatives for creating new value through a backcasting approach—considering potential futures and then working backwards to the present—in order to prepare for changes in the business environment and turn ideas into new businesses.
Hassojitz Project 2019
Project teams were formed through an open call, and each team was paired with a specially appointed management-level employee as they worked to refine their ideas. For Hassojitz Project 2019, the teams were tasked with first outlining major social and world megatrends expected for 30 years in the future. Participants then proceeded to formulate concrete business proposals and business models under a chosen theme or business area. Finally, the teams presented their ideas to President Fujimoto and division COOs in a contest format. The most promising and feasible ideas from the contest are now in the process of being turned into businesses. For example, a team who chose wireless battery charging as their theme have now taken the first steps towards turning their idea into a business, with the Infrastructure & Healthcare Division as their sponsor.
Hassojitz Project 2020
For the first year of the project, participation was limited to first year to 10th year employees. However, for Hassojitz Project 2020, we expanded eligibility to include all employees.
“Participation is open to all challenge takers. But do you have the commitment to see your project through until the very end?” This was the question posed to employees for the FY2020 project. The 88 ideas submitted were narrowed down into eight select themes, and a total of 65 employees were divided into eight teams to cover each theme.
Sojitz Alumni Chairman Yoshiaki Fujimori (entered Nissho Iwai in 1975, left in 1986, current Chairman of the Board of Directors at Oracle Corporation Japan, former CEO of Lixil Group), Sojitz Alumni Vice Chairman Masayuki “Mark” Kojo (entered Nissho Iwai in 1993, left in 2001, current President and CEO of Chip One Stop, Inc.), and Akie Iriyama (Professor, Waseda University Graduate School of Business and Finance) were invited to join the judging panel and provide commentary at the final presentation sessions in late May 2021.
Entrepreneurship was the theme for the FY2020 project, and the most outstanding teams are now in the process of turning their ideas into new businesses through sponsorship from Sojitz business divisions.
As part of the FY2020 project, a femtech team is currently working to commercialize their project idea. Utilizing technology to address women’s health issues relating to menstruation, pre-conception care, pregnancy, childbirth, menopause, and other gynecological conditions, the femtech team is creating a tech business that supports women’s health and empowers women to choose their own unique lifestyles and career paths.
Hassojitz Project 2021
Sojitz began accepting submissions for Hassojitz Project 2021—the third year of the project—in September 2021. The project’s theme was co-creation and its primary aims were to promote digital transformation (DX) and create value with partner companies.
Numerous new business ideas were received through the company-wide open call and six teams were ultimately chosen to develop their projects. As part of this year’s project, two employees were dispatched to a business incubation program held by Phoenixi Co., Ltd. with the aim of using cross-industry exchange as a tool for refining business ideas and accelerating innovation through co-creation.
Final presentation sessions for Hassojitz Project 2021 were held over two days on March 17th (Day 1) and March 28th (Day 2).
On Day 2, President Fujimoto and Executive Vice President Seiichi Tanaka were joined on the judging panel by Waseda University Business School professor Akie Iriyama, Sojitz Alumni Chairman Yoshiaki Fujimori, and Sojitz Alumni Vice Chairman Masayuki "Mark" Kojo.
Sojitz also incorporated the Hassojitz Project into its training program for prospective employees set to join the company in FY2022, and two standout teams from the program presented their projects at the final presentation sessions.
Evolution of the Hassojitz Project
Hassojitz Project 2022
The concept for this year’s Hassojitz Project 2022 is to creatively realize businesses that embody Sojitz’s slogan of “New way, New value.” Employees will be encouraged to take a backcasting approach to uncover what new business fields and business models Sojitz should pursue in the years to come with a focus on solving societal problems and paving the way for a new future. Sojitz began accepting submissions for this year’s project in April 2022.