SDM is a place where researchers in multiple domains are able to explore and think freely about solutions to even the most challenging problems.
Professor Kenichi Takano
Former Principal Research Scientist, Central Research Institute of Electric Power Industry. Areas of expertise: Risk management and human factors in large-scale technology systems. Publications (translations): "Managing the Risks of Organizational Accidents,” "Managing Maintenance Error: A Practical Guide" (JUSE Press, Ltd.) etc. Extensive practical and consulting background in organizational safety, analysis of fundamental causes and other aspects of safety management.
Reducing and relieving mental stress on workers
The equipment depicted in the photograph is used to study issues for individual workers within the larger scope of organizational management. Reducing the mental stress on workers and relieving them from stressful situations is a crucial part of improving the soundness and health of the organization itself. When human beings are tense or overworked for prolonged periods of time, biological defense mechanisms take over and psychological abnormalities may occur as they try to relieve the stress. Our research attempts to restore the autonomic nervous system to its normal state by providing "comforting" sensory stimulus before the person reaches that point.
More specifically, we show subjects videos of coastlines and forests together with the appropriate sounds, fragrances and natural breezes, and we use a combination of kansei engineering and biological approaches to investigate how this improves physical and mental well-being.
The "Laboratory of Organizational Management" investigates mechanisms that capitalize on the excellent skills and abilities of human beings
Many issues confront today's companies, and they are not entirely technical in nature. Indeed, some of the most pressing issues are at the individual, workplace and organizational levels. We visit workplaces at many companies and hold discussions and interviews with their employees to uncover how it is that motivation is lost and people become buried under routine work that requires no creativity on their part. Most of the policies and systems related to organizational governance management remain unchanged from what they have always been, but I believe that it is essential for us to incorporate mechanisms that take better advantage of the excellent skills and abilities of human beings. What I want to investigate is how real-life companies function, how they can be rebuilt into motivated, energetic organizations, and how they can create organizational systems that naturally discourage accidents and compliance problems.
More specifically, I coordinate with consultants, industry organizations, and academic societies to perform organizational diagnostics for companies and feed back the results. This ensures that my research is integrated with what is actually happening in the workplace.
Role of SDM
I think our role is to train people who are able to work boldly and without hesitation to solve even the most difficult, complex, and large-scale problems. In Japan, our only resource is people. We have a duty to create organizational and government systems that enable people to make full use of their talents and abilities.
Helping students with close communications
The "Laboratory of Organizational Management" works on an extremely wide variety of research topics. It is very important that research be self-directed and researchers be motivated, so the majority of our research topics are chosen by the students themselves. We support their efforts with very close communication. When people are confused or uncertain, we discuss what it is that led to the confusion and attempt to better understand each other. Most of the research in our laboratory examines social issues, and we emphasize the gathering and analyzing of field data from real-life companies and opinions and attitudes from real-life employees so that we can see how our research connects to society at large.
The ideal SDM student
I look forward to seeing students who are keenly aware of the issues confronting real companies and have the ambition to change how things work. I also look forward to seeing students who may not be as keenly aware of the issues but are very interested in the human factors and risk management practices that affect individuals, workplaces and organizations, and want to understand and solve the problems that arise. Diversity is essential.