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President’s Message
Newsletter "SEI WORLD" Vol. 458

Masayoshi Matsumoto President & CEO

Nobel Laureates

Last month, this year’s Nobel Prizes were announced, and Japanese researchers’ winning such prizes again this year excited the whole nation. Nowadays, an increasing number of Japanese researchers have been receiving Nobel Prizes in the field of natural sciences. It is truly great that the underlying strength of Japanese research activities is highly valued.

However, many of the Japanese Nobel laureates in the field of natural sciences received their prizes in recognition of research results that they had achieved a long time ago. Dr. Shinya Yamanaka, who was granted a Nobel Prize only a few years after his development of iPS cells, is an extremely exceptional case. It takes some time to evaluate how far innovative research and theories have affected the progress of science. It is very difficult to determine the future value of ongoing research activities.

This holds true of research and development promoted at companies. Even though researchers might have finally attained innovative results after painstaking efforts, it does not necessarily mean that such results will be developed into successful business activities. Inadequate management in enhancing the probability of success of research and development is a serious problem that can plague any manufacturing company. It is not unusual for a company to be buffeted by short-run changes, to misread the market trends behind such changes, and to subsequently experience pain.

One of the ideas handed down to us as part of the Sumitomo Spirit is “long-range planning.” This means that no matter what we try, we must not be imprudent, and make far-sighted and in-depth plans. Even if we cannot achieve the desired results in our own generation, we must make efforts so that favorable results will be attained by a future generation. You may find that this is out of step with the present times, when almost everything is changing so rapidly. However, I feel that that’s all the more reason why we need to have a bold future vision, establish specific targets for realizing the vision, and prepare carefully, thereby achieving these targets step by step. This is the very essence of “long-range planning.”

Masayoshi Matsumoto President & CEO

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