The Fieldwork tour was kicked off as a part of the Innovation Practice 2018, on Wednesday, October 17, 2018. The party of 17 participants in total left VBL Office, Hiroshima University, for Fukuyama City.
We visited the rooftop of Lucks, Co., Ltd., to get some clues on the first challenge, “how to utilize the rooftop in a certain area.” Lucks’ rooftop was filled with new ideas, from jet bath, astronomic observation, rooftop greening to beekeeping, which arose the participants’ interest and motivation.
Next we visited the rooftop of the Brain Attack Center Ota Memorial Hospital, one of the clients for Lucks, Co., Ltd.. Mr, Shimazu, Public Relations Manager, provided us plenty information about their rooftop in full depth and width, from its layout and current usage to the history of the region, city development plan and their business model. The hospital is located at the edge of the commercial district, right next to the residential one (without any tall buildings under regulation), which gave us a 360 view of Fukyama City. Enjoyed panoramic beauty, we’ve got different insights to think about the usage of rooftops.
We came back to Saijo and visited the Salon of Koizumi Shinbunho, to get some insights for the Challenge #3, “How to become a ‘Window’ of the Saijo Sakagura-Street.” We were all welcomed by the owners’ family, served with the mother water of sake. They were already acting as a ‘Window’ of the street! Mr. Keita Suzuki, the president of the company, then talked about the long history of the family business carried over for 4 generations, his thoughts/opinions against it, the facing crisis of paper media industry, background of the proposing challenge, etc. Lot of questions were raised by the participants, such as targeting audience as of today and in the future, possibility of IT implementation, the definition of ‘Window’, etc.
The party moved to the dormitory in front of Hiroshima University, which is run by Planning Supply, Co., Ltd., to understand the background of their proposing Challenge #2 “How to create an ‘AREA’ in Shitami, everyone wants to live in.” It was filled with amazing luxury, including Mr. Masanori Tagi, the Area Manager, answered questions raised from the participants one after another, against the luxurious dormitory. We were all surprised to know that the rooms have been fully occupied since it opened this year, despite the rent much higher than the normal properties, but we’ve got convinced in the end, knowing the full advantage of the property – homemade meals served every day, high-standard security systems, completely furnished, equipped with electric appliances, fun events organized periodically, etc.
The last spot was “Ripple”, the open event space run by Planning Supply Co., Ltd. We learned the project “Tanoshita” up and running to energize the Shitami region. The room was equipped with a projector, a copy machine and a kitchen – easy for event organizers to utilize it for any types of events. It is open to any residents in the region for free, surprisingly. The reason behind was shared with the participants, who have got some insights to tackle the challenge.
All the above five facilities looked completely different at the beginning, but they share some core values against the “region”. We also found some benefits of experiencing the end-to-end fieldwork altogether (i.e. three groups together) – it brought some new idea, such as “leveraging a Ripple rooftop for publicity!” Killing two birds in one stone – maybe.