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  • Regions and companies interact in new ways Joint experiments on solving social issues in Person Centered Living Lab

August 30, 2019
Omuta City, Fukuoka Prefecture
Omuta Future Co-creation Center
Nippon Telegraph and Telephone West Corporation
Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation

Regions and companies interact in new ways
Joint experiments on solving social issues in Person Centered Living Lab

Omuta City, Fukuoka Prefecture, an advanced city in a super-aged society *1(Mayor of Omuta City: Masahiro Nakao,), - Omuta Future Co-creation Center -(Below, Omuta FCC), Nippon Telegraph and Telephone West Corporation(Below, NTT West), Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation(Below, NTT) wish to make it known that as of August 30, 2019(Friday)the parties intend to start joint experiments on solving social issues by using the "Person Centered Living Lab", where communities and companies interact in new ways.

Omuta City has, for nearly 20 years, utilized its "Person Centered" *2 view of "personal life" in an integrated manner living in social connections with neighborhoods. By utilizing the benefits of the Person Centered Living Lab, which regenerates regions based on the human-centered view, these joint experiments will endeavor to re-design a society which can be created wherein everyone makes full use of their potential and has a worthwhile life. Working with the many citizen interested in health and problem-prevention we will implement projects to realize the well-being of each inhabitant while prototyping support devices and systems based on IoT technology and local resources that support local lifestyles.

  • *1: Omuta City: has over 100,000 inhabitants and the second highest rate of aging in Japan (36.3% as of April 1, 2019); it is a model city for the super-aging society as it is 20 years ahead of Japan. In July 2019, selected as SDGs Future City (Cabinet Office). [183KB]
  • *2: Respecting people with dementia as humans, thinking from that person's standpoint, and supporting them via person centered care (Kitwood, 1997)

1. Background and history

In Japan, the number of local government staff is decreasing due to the recent decline in population, aging and depopulation. Many local governments, including Omuta City, are required to solve local social issues through mutual assistance among residents, the use of technology, and collaboration with companies and related organizations by overcoming the division between groups. Companies are also paying attention to the creation of businesses that generate not only economic value but also social value as they pursue the essential issues and potential needs of consumers.

Against this backdrop, more "living laboratories" have been attempted by companies trying to establish co-creation relationships with local governments and residents. They wanted to discover key issues and develop and verify devices and system with residents. The difficulty lies in finding and resolving real issues that strongly influence the future of a region. Accordingly, Omuta City, NTT West, and NTT started a living laboratory joint experiment in February 2018 to verify a new co-creation mechanism that solves the above problems.

2. Details of Person Centered Living Lab

Conventional living labs face a number of very problems such as the difficulty of determining the life issues faced by residents, the administrative problem of coordinating the different departments of the local government as most departments see themselves as isolated entities, as well as inherent hypotheses and technology biases of the company. Successes have been few and only short-lived since it was not possible to determine the true barriers to the integrated lifestyles of residents and the sustainability of the community. The essence of these failures lies in the difficulty of forming true partnerships in the living lab where companies and the community must be directly involved to realize joint developments.

Therefore, we started a joint experiment based on the hypothesis that success demanded a living lab management organization that could facilitate task setting and service development based on the daily needs and goals of both companies and the community. The joint experiment focuses on the human viewpoint of "Person Centered", which has been advanced by Omuta City for nearly 20 years, and which comprehensively captures "the life that suits people in their environment". Key advances are the recognition that "1. Social workers and other welfare / medical workers are well experienced in facing daily life issues", and the need to remain "2. True to the community". The design of the experiment builds on the understanding that there must always be an organization that can identify issues and work to create solutions in the community by ensuring that all parties work together. We are building on past work in which we created a collaborative system with local and commercial groups who shared and sympathized with the person-centered view of people; our work carefully elucidated the life experiences of people with dementia. In several case studies local companies worked to provide welfare facility users with feeling of "living like a normal person".

In the "Person Centered Living Lab", which is a mechanism for dealing with social issues in new and innovative new ways that encourage the involvement of local organizations and companies; in fact, there are always organizations in the region that can collaborate with social workers to identify and tackle key issues. The Omuta Future Co-creation Center was established in April 2019 as an organization deeply involved in resolving social issues and developing services as a local entity.

Figure 1: Comparing typical living lab with the person-centered living lab

3. Omuta Future Co-creation Center

The Omuta Future Co-creation Center was established in April 2019 through the collaboration of public and private sectors. Omuta City first established the "Person Centered" as its basic philosophy to address issues raised by dementia care, but has extended its scope beyond welfare to other fields such as industry and education. As an organization, the Center will try to discover and create new regional value in Omuta City and resolve regional issues by breaking down various vertical divisions among the different parties and establish collaborative activities with various entities inside and outside the region including Omuta City. In addition, we will engage in demonstration projects and R & D projects, provide service development support for transferring the expertise of the "Person Centered Living Lab" to companies outside the region, and provide human resource development training based on the "Person Centered" human perspective.

4. Contents of joint experiment

(1)Outline of this joint experiment

This joint experiment is founded on the knowledge of NTT Laboratories about how to solve social issues *3, and addresses the structure of the "Person Centered Living Lab", which was made possible by the establishment of the Omuta Future Co-creation Center. We will work on solving social issues in Omuta City while utilizing key systems provided by NTT West and alliance partners such as their IoT technology. While conducting multiple dialogue-oriented workshops with residents who are interested in health and illness prevention and welfare personnel who support them. The workshops studied the ideal way of life for each person and examined system prototyping to support their life and realize the well-being of all residents.

  • *3: NTT has published detailed research results such as "the co-creation method technology for solving social issues" which systematizes the best practices of the living lab, where local companies and companies co-create and accelerate the resolution of social issues. This is based on collaborative research with the Danish University of Technology on living laboratories, joint research with Tohoku University, and practical knowledge research in a joint experiment with Omuta City in 2018.
(2)Four partners and their roles

◆ Omuta City
Solution of social issues (common)
Provision of field / regional issues
Providing access to people concerned such as residents

◆ Omuta Future Co-creation Center
Social issue resolution (common)
Determination of key problems based on regional issues
Support for local welfare staff

◆ NTT West Japan
Social issue resolution (common)
Provision of technologies (IoT technology, etc.) that can be used to resolve social issues

Social issue resolution (common)
Social issue resolution process design

Figure 2: Relationship and roles of the four parties in the joint experiment

(3)Engagement period

From August 30, 2019 (Friday) to July 31, 2020 (Friday)

5. The next stage

In the future, Omuta City, Omuta Future Co-creation Center, and NTT West will work with various partners in and outside Omuta City to resolve more social issues and promote service development. NTT aims to establish a comprehensive social problem solving process through this joint experiment and a method that can be deployed to solve social problems including the Person Centered Living Lab.

Contact information

Omuta City Health and Welfare Department Health and Welfare Promotion Office

Omuta Future Co-creation Center

West Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation Business Design Department

Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation

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