Updated on January 7, 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 is technology-driven. To become even better at what Sony does, achieving overwhelming technological superiority is an absolute imperative. Toward that end, the entire group is pooling its efforts as part of the One Sony strategy. Strong inter-organizational ties accelerate technical progress, bring about technological integration, and yield new products and services unlike anything seen before anywhere. Business units have been spun off to operate as independent, autonomous subsidiaries. At the same time, Sony seeks to strengthen cohesiveness by creating arrangements that span the boundaries between Group companies. With that aim in mind Sony established field-specific technology strategy committees in fiscal 2015, and these committees are now in operation.
A technology strategy committee is established for each field. Each one consists of specialists who are selected from across 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 Employees 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. In addition, Sony has group-wide engineer certification systems—such as the Sony Outstanding Engineer Award*1 and the Distinguished Engineer system.*2 Discussion and judgement for these recognitions are done within the framework of the technology strategy committees.
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. Every year, more than 5,000 employees take courses 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 Employees development.
The annual Sony Technology Exchange Fair provides an opportunity for engineers involved in innovative development with implications for Sony’s future to present their work to other Sony Group employees and receive feedback. The event has served as a launch pad for numerous business applications since it was first organized in 1973. Some 10,000 employees from Sony Group companies in and outside of Japan attended the fair in fiscal 2017, which buzzed with conversation among employees. Sony is committed to innovation that realizes major business advancements and new businesses, by encouraging interaction between engineers across technology, product, and service lines and through technology integration.
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.