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By Hicham Abdessamad, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Hitachi America, Ltd. Chief Executive, Hitachi Global Social Innovation Business

If the last eighteen months have shown us anything, it is that change is constant. But change can also sometimes be a welcome dynamic. During the last year, Hitachi has been deliberate in finding ways to utilize change to innovate and succeed in providing social, environmental and economic value in a number of ways. From learning new methods to work and communicate, to adapting our business focus to remain agile and efficient during a global pandemic, this global company of over 330,000 people has achieved what many deemed improbable, if not impossible.

At Hitachi, we are focused on delivering value by solving social challenges. For more than 110 years, Hitachi has used innovation and applied digital technology to find opportunities and solve issues in manufacturing, mobility, energy and agriculture, as well as other sectors. Wherever we can have a positive effect on people’s lives, we will look to help.

Climate change cuts across every aspect of our work, regardless of sector.

The greatest single challenge facing society now is man-made climate change.

Nearly 20 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions comes from moving people and goods around the world. Reducing that figure without compromising on the benefits is a significant challenge. Thankfully, we see huge potential for leveraging advanced technologies to optimize operations., Whether you want to move a fleet of trucks or an entire city system, the development of built-in IoT edge sensors and cloud connectivity means that with real-time data, we can help optimize operations.

Earlier this year, Toshiaki Higashihara, CEO of Hitachi Ltd, encouraged us all to add value through “environment, resilience, and security and safety.” To support and lead the stewardship of our environment, Hitachi is putting words into action, first by committing to becoming carbon neutral in our own global operations by 2030, and secondly, by helping our customers to reduce their emissions.

In energy, we’re helping our customers cut both their energy costs and their emissions. As the eyes of the world look to Glasgow and November’s COP26, the way we produce and consume renewable energy will be at the top of the agenda for leaders. At Hitachi, we’re already using our smart-energy platform to lead the way for business.

In agriculture, we have digital solutions designed to optimize the food production ecosystem. This is a sector that needs significant innovation to meet the demands of future populations. Estimates show that by the middle of this century, the demand for agricultural products will be 50 percent higher than it was in 2013. We have methods already proven to reduce operational costs and unnecessary waste, and that support a circular economy.

In the early 1900’s, our founder Namihei Odaira established Hitachi as a disruptor and innovator by locally building induction engines to meet the needs of a massive mining operation in Japan. Today, Hitachi carries on that tradition of industrial manufacturing innovation, as we design, support and help operationalize some of the largest manufacturing facilities in the world. We are fortunate to have built deep expertise in global, dynamic, customized industrial manufacturing across the value chain. Our work ranges from improving the efficiency of global production and supply chains to enhancing production capacity in ways that are adaptable to supply and demand changes. We believe that by utilizing digital technology, manufacturers can navigate the disruptive challenges that face the industry, mitigate inefficiencies, and improve their businesses, all while finding new ways to operate sustainably to help our environment.

How can Hitachi tackle these big social challenges?

Hitachi is solving global challenges through collaboration and innovation. We call this “social innovation”. Our global team delivers social, environmental, and economic value by staying laser-focused on helping our customers solve their business challenges. We bring the best of Hitachi Group companies to our customers so we can help enable sustainable growth through the development of partner ecosystems, new business models, and the next generation of digital solutions.

We are able to accomplish all this firstly because of our people - a world-class, global diverse group of technology and business professionals with a broad range of skills and deep industry experience, allowing us to examine and tackle challenges holistically. Our team is a mix of engineers and data scientists working alongside delivery specialists, project managers, marketers and business development experts. We work together to innovate solutions that really can make a difference to the environment and to society.

Secondly, we’re focused on industries we know. It’s not just that we’re familiar enough with them to differentiate ourselves, it’s that we can truly speak the language of our customers. We’re not selling a single product or a “miracle” piece of software – we apply whatever new capabilities and technologies are available and needed to tackle longstanding problems.

Finally, because we recognize we may not always have all the answers, we drive innovation by carefully cultivating strategic partnerships. We’re also fortunate to have Hitachi’s $4B annual R&D investment, capabilities and global teams at our back, as well as our own deep experience in Information Technology (IT) and Operational Technology (OT). We then bring our understanding of business, as well as our expertise, resources, and passion together with our partners’ knowledge, to embark on a journey of co-creation to build new businesses and new business models. This partnership model is crucial to successfully delivering value across the innovation ecosystem.

We co-create, incubate, and develop viable solutions and even new business models to solve complex societal problems. By addressing issues in manufacturing, mobility, and energy, we’re contributing to making society happier, our environment cleaner, and our economies stronger, by delivering social, environmental and economic value – the tenets of Hitachi’s core vision, and the essence of Social Innovation Business.

Whether the challenge you see is local or global, sector specific or cross-cutting, we want to hear from like-minded people who are motivated by helping improve people’s lives and contributing to a better planet. To find out more, visit our website: