Updated on August 29, 2019
To pursue its purpose of "Fill the world with emotion, through the power of creativity and technology," Sony must engage in innovation to win new customers. Sony continues creating new technologies so that its engineers can develop products that provide functional value while appealing to people's sensibilities and inspiring them.
Sony aims to create long-term social value, in addition to generating sustainable, strong revenues. In order to create sustainable value and continue growing, Sony must leverage the diversity of its businesses and employees to further evolve. Lively interaction among employees from different backgrounds who hold diverse values leads to their own continual growth and ultimately drives the growth of Sony. Technology strategy committees are given the role of sharing knowledge from various fields across organizations, systematically advancing the technologies, and promoting the growth of human resources. The committees are highly significant in Sony’s efforts to create sustainable value and secure ongoing growth. Sony formed field-specific technology strategy committees in fiscal 2015, and they involve approximately 800 employees.
A technology strategy committee is established for each field. Each one consists of specialists who are selected from across Sony Group companies. These committees work to achieve technical innovation and roll out organization-specific technologies across the Group. Technology is developed by people, so technology strategy committees implement related human resource measures. Sony offers talent development programs such as a key technology training course as well as personnel recruitment; this approach accounts for the special features of different technologies, and transcends the boundaries between different Sony Group companies.
At the Sony Group in Japan, approximately 200 Sony engineers with frontline expertise in key technological fields develop curricula and textbooks for use in core technology training courses, aiming to enhance the expertise of engineers. These courses, which are designed to provide a basic understanding of technical matters, have been in continuous development since the 1980s. In fiscal 2018, more than 8,000 employees took courses. The courses are used to expand their knowledge of specialized subjects, brush up on their knowledge for application in other areas, or re-learn subjects.
Sony develops the basic skills of its new recruits by offering them general technological training designed by leading Group engineering experts, as well as specialized training programs developed by each of Sony's business units, which are designed to familiarize the trainees with technologies specific to each business. Engineers are provided with various opportunities to gain advanced knowledge in related fields and foster their ongoing professional development by participating in sponsored courses, seminars given by outside experts, and employee open houses.
Created to further inspire engineers to take on new challenges, the Sony Outstanding Engineer Award is the highest form of individual recognition for Sony Group engineers. In order to develop products and services that appeal to customers' sensibilities, there is a wide range of technologies that Sony will have to work on. In addition to elemental technologies, there is also a need to integrate creative new technologies, and to optimize complex systems. Intended to increase the motivation of engineers, such awards have encouraged employees to be proactive in addressing challenges and have also promoted a corporate culture that emphasizes value creation.
The Distinguished Engineer (DE) designation is a group-wide system for providing recognition to employees who possess outstanding technical expertise in Sony's key technological fields and have made a significant contribution to Sony. The DE system shows that "the face of Sony technology" is important to Sony because it plays a leading role in resolving problems and technology strategies. By publicizing this system group-wide, Sony enables its Distinguished Engineers to serve as role models for younger engineers. The group-wide launch of this system has helped to provide solutions for issues at their respective departments, while creating technology-based inter-organizational ties which can be expected to contribute in many different ways, including talent development.
The annual Sony Technology Exchange Fair (STEF) provides an opportunity for employees from throughout the Sony Group to present their R&D work to other employees. Topics include branded hardware, semiconductors, professional solutions, medical solutions, entertainment (music, games and pictures), and financial services (insurance and banking). The fair gives developers and engineers a valuable opportunity to present the innovative research that will create Sony’s future, and to get direct feedback from other employees. The event has served as a launch pad for numerous business applications since it was first organized in 1973. In 2018, Sony started to hold seminars and panel discussions chaired by its Distinguished Engineers and Open Innovation Showcase for recipients of investments from the Sony Innovation Fund (SIF) concurrently with the STEF. Some 10,000 employees from Sony Group companies in and outside of Japan attended the fair in fiscal 2018, which buzzed with conversation among employees. Sony is committed to innovation that helps shape the future, and fosters it by encouraging employee interaction across product, service and organizational boundaries and by promoting integration of diverse technologies.
Sony rewards employees for their inventions by ensuring that they receive fair and suitable incentive remuneration as stipulated under the Patent Act. The remuneration serves as an incentive to realize inventions and increase patent quality to strengthen Sony’s business.