Akihiro Adachi, a 31-year-old audiovisual equipment designer at Panasonic Corp, longed for some personal space during his lengthy train rides from Osaka to Tokyo. So when his company set out to encourage innovation, he joined with some colleagues and came up with “Wear Space,” a headset that limits noise and peripheral vision.
Many at Panasonic were puzzled.
“Someone said the office full of people wearing this would look weird,” said Kang Hwayoung, another member of the 10-person design team.
But the prototype unexpectedly won a global design award and received positive feedback from unexpected quarters, such as sake tasters who wanted to limit sensory input.
The project is among a range of efforts in the Japanese electronics industry to reinvigorate industrial design. After years of losing ground to design-first rivals such as Apple and Dyson, Japanese companies are now trying to recover the processes and creative flair that produced iconic products such as the Walkman.
Panasonic, Sony, and Mitsubishi Electric are among those implementing practices that have been routine at many U.S. and European companies, such as engaging designers at every step and treating packaging as part of the product.
“We used to have designers involved only in final stages of our product development process, just for an aesthetic fix,” Yoshiyuki Miyabe, Panasonic’s technology, and the manufacturing chief told reporters. “We are revamping the process so that designers can join us from the planning phase.”
The Japanese government is promoting the efforts: a report in May urged corporate executives to pursue “design-driven management, whereby a company leverages design as a primary driver of competitiveness.”
It also called for tax incentives for design-related investments and new laws to better protect intellectual property. The government is set to revise such laws next year.
“Of course, we had an argument over how much the government can do and should do with private-sector issues like this,” said Daisuke Kubota, director at the government’s design registration system planning office, who was involved in the panel.
“But a lot of design experts asked us for government initiatives, saying that this is really the last chance and Japan would never be able to catch up with global rivals if this opportunity is missed.”
Another member of the panel, Kinya Tagawa, visiting professor at the Royal College of Art and co-founder of design firm Takram, says there has been a sharp increase in major companies’ requesting design lectures for their executives.
“I’m seeing a sign of change,” he said.
New Zealand PM Welcomes Facebook Ban On White Nationalism, Separatism
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said on Thursday she welcomed Facebook’s decision to ban any content that praises, supports or represents white nationalism and white separatism on its social media platforms.
Ardern said these categories should always fall within the community guidelines of hate speech. She hails Facebook’s decision to now ban such content on its platforms after the attack in Christchurch.
Facebook’s ban was a shift in policy after criticism by civil rights groups that it was failing to confront extremism.
Ardern said fifty-nine countries will send diplomatic representatives to a national remembrance service on Friday.
Huawei To Build Two Data Centers In South Africa
China`s tech company, Huawei says it will build two data centers in South Africa from next month as part of plans to expand cloud services across Africa.
It says, the company is working with South African partners for the construction of the data centers in Johannesburg initially and later cape town.
Its cloud service will be available to organizations in South Africa as well as neighboring countries.
The Chinese firm, at the center of global security concerns, wants to challenge amazon, which is also expanding its presence in the emerging tech hub of cape town.
Facebook Removes Hundreds Of Accounts Engaged In “Inauthentic Behaviour”
Facebook said it has removed hundreds of accounts linked to spreading fake news and hate speech in Indonesian.
In efforts by Facebook Inc to prevent social network being misused in the build up to elections, 207 Facebook Pages, 800 Facebook accounts and 546 Facebook Groups accounts were removed for “engaging in coordinated inauthentic behavior.”
According to Reuters, Facebook’s head of Cybersecurity Policy, Nathaniel Gleicher said The accounts and pages were actively working to conceal what they were doing and were linked to the Saracen Group, “an online syndicate in Indonesia.”
“They have using deceptive messaging and… networks of concealed pages and accounts to drive often divisive narratives over key issues of public debates in Indonesia,” Gleicher said.
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