Inspiring Leaders of the Next Generation – One Young World; Future Leaders Look to the Future

Nov 10, 2022

Leaders in Action / Feature Story

People

Inspiring Leaders of the Next Generation – One Young World; Future Leaders Look to the Future

  • DEI(Diversity, Equity & Inclusion)
  • Panasonic GREEN IMPACT
  • People
  • Technologies

Story Highlights

  • Five young people from Panasonic Group took part in One Young World Summit 2022

  • They felt empowered by the success of global peers and inspired by the open exchange of ideas

  • Panasonic will continue to provide opportunities for young leaders to take on new challenges and help nurture the next generation of leaders who will contribute to solving diversity, environment, and other issues confronting global society 

Seeking to address the shortage of global human resources and next-generation leaders, One Young World (OYW), a UK-based non-profit organization established in 2009, created the first One Young World Summit (OYW Summit) in 2010. Held in a different city every year, OYW Summit 2022 took place in Manchester from September 5 to 8, 2022, and five young employees became the first from Panasonic Group to participate. Referred to as “Young Davos,” the summit hosted 2,000 young leaders from 202 countries and regions to deliberate passionately about a diverse range of social issues. We asked the Panasonic team to share their experience with us.

Taking Part in “Young Davos” with Other Next-Gen Leaders

OYW believes that “Today’s young generation is the most informed, most connected generation in human history.” OYW embraces talented leaders of the next generation—including social activists, social entrepreneurs, and young leaders from global companies—to give them an opportunity to exhibit their potential and leadership. From climate change to conflict resolution, the world’s biggest and most impactful youth leadership summit enables young leaders to constructively discuss how to address the planet’s issues and its future. 

Photo: The main stage at OYW Summit 2022

The main stage at OYW Summit 2022

Photo: (from left): Yoshimitsu Ikoma, Takeyoshi Tokuhara, Megumi Asakura, Chris Isonishi, and Sawaya Harigaya.

Five representatives of Panasonic took part in the four-day summit, which they described as “intensive but fulfilling” (from left): Yoshimitsu Ikoma, Takeyoshi Tokuhara, Megumi Asakura, Chris Isonishi, and Sawaya Harigaya.

Designer and Engineer Perspectives on the Summit

Sawaya Harigaya, and Megumi Asakura, both from Panasonic Corporation’s Design Division, said that OYW 2022 helped “soften our mindset, which had become a bit rigid.” 

“Initially I thought I would discover some new things about service design and innovation that could be useful to my work. But when I got there and felt the energy, I quickly realized that this wasn’t that kind of event,” said Harigaya. “In numerous sessions and workshops, the enthusiasm and willingness to engage was incredible. I realized that it was not enough to just expect to ‘receive’ something.”

“In one workshop, we built a model of the kind of city we’d like to live in 50 years from now and introduced it to everyone. I frequently work on town development projects, but I typically collaborate with other Japanese when coming up with concepts, so it was really refreshing to be able to exchange views with people from different countries and regions.”

Photo: Sawaya Harigaya, Panasonic Corporation, Design Division, Institute of Future Design

Sawaya Harigaya, Panasonic Corporation, Design Division, Institute of Future Design

Asakura, who works on insight research, said, “Every workshop/active session was packed, and full of energy. Themes ranged from the global environment to gender issues, including advancing women’s participation in society and discussion about the lack of women receiving STEM education. Seeing so many women actively participating in our discussions was inspiring.”

Photo: Megumi Asakura, Panasonic Corporation, Design Division, FLUX

Megumi Asakura, Panasonic Corporation, Design Division, FLUX

Photo: Asakura (center) taking part in an OYW 2022 workshop

Asakura (center) taking part in an OYW 2022 workshop 

Yoshimitsu Ikoma works in the Technology Division at Panasonic Holdings Corporation. He collaborates across the Panasonic organization, developing strategies for implementing Panasonic group’s long-term environmental vision, Panasonic GREEN IMPACT. “My job is to think about measures that can counteract the effects of climate change. So I think about the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ of this issue. In one session, a person who lost their home to a flood was presenting, and he stressed that environmental issues affect every one of us. I wanted to learn from him the ability to pull people in and passionately convince them why such activities are necessary.”

Photo: Yoshimitsu Ikoma, Panasonic Holdings Corporation, Technology Division, Platform Division, Strategic Planning Department

Yoshimitsu Ikoma, Panasonic Holdings Corporation, Technology Division, Platform Division, Strategic Planning Department

Chris Isonishi promotes the integration of IT and AI to bring about “gemba kaizen” (continuous improvement) for manufacturing and logistics. “I observed a session on blockchain and web 3.0, where participants debated passionately about security and management. I also took part in gender equality and diversity sessions, and the level of passion was something I rarely experience in Japan.” 

Photo: Chris Isonishi, Panasonic Holdings Corporation, Technology Division, Digital & AI Technology Center

Chris Isonishi, Panasonic Holdings Corporation, Technology Division, Digital & AI Technology Center

Takeyoshi Tokuhara conducts research on image sensors. He took part in sessions on leadership, a key topic at this year’s summit. 

“Nurturing the next generation of leaders is a globally important social issue. On climate change, we discussed how ‘leaders should act so that everyone will use renewable energy without consciously thinking about it.’ In Japan, we often say ‘Let’s do the same thing together,’ but the discussion at the summit focused on how leaders are expected to help create something that will ‘naturally encourage people to unconsciously behave in a certain way.’ It’s not about setting a rule and then following it. How should leaders engage with governments to help people make a natural shift to eco-consciousness? This kind of thinking was new to me.” 

Photo: Takeyoshi Tokuhara, Panasonic Holdings Corporation, Technology Division, Applied Materials Technology Center

Takeyoshi Tokuhara, Panasonic Holdings Corporation, Technology Division, Applied Materials Technology Center

Photo: A scene from a workshop

A scene from a workshop

Having Experienced OYW Summit 2022, What’s Next?

When asked what advice they would give to people interested in taking part in future OYW summits, Ikoma underlined the importance of dialogue. “This summit is for people who want two-way dialogues, not people who simply want an audience for their opinions. I hope people will take the opportunity to learn about the ideas and cultures of others and then be inspired to take action.”

After returning home, Isonishi immediately began to take action. “Our founder, Konosuke Matsushita, believed that social contribution should be at the heart of every business. The summit helped me realize that we must look beyond our day-to-day work and think about ‘what we can do as Panasonic group.’ Since returning to Japan, I’ve reached out to people who have created global networks and LGBTQ communities, etc. within the Panasonic group. As a member of a global corporation, I will start by actively communicating with people beyond the organizational framework.” 

Harigaya’s takeaway was that “interactivity” is the key. He learned that whatever the issue, you need to be able to think of it as your own and become passionate about it. “It’s partially due to COVID-19, but I didn’t travel abroad for a few years, so I felt as though I had subconsciously begun to only focus on creating ‘services for my customers in Japan.’ But people around the world have high expectations for Panasonic—and Panasonic has a lot to contribute in terms of the environment and energy. So, experiencing the summit firsthand has become a great asset.” 

Asakura felt empowered watching peers from across the globe taking action. “Bringing together young employees from around the world and working together to accomplish something is exactly what the Panasonic Group can try to do. It would be great if we could take advantage of opportunities like this to interact more easily with global colleagues, create an impact that contributes to global society, and present the outcomes at future OYW summits.” 

Panasonic aims to contribute to the realization of “an ideal society, one with both material and spiritual abundance.” Moreover, to nurture the next generation of leaders, Panasonic will continue to provide opportunities for young people whose “strong will” and “expertise” are aligned to the group’s management philosophy. 

Photo: OYW Summit 2022

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