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A Communication Process to Connect Local Communities

After the March 11, 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, Fuji Xerox held nine workshops to aid the revitalization of Tono City, Iwate Prefecture. Dialogue between participants in these workshops allowed us to identify two basic types of conflict: local government vs. citizens, and companies vs. universities. Conflict was often communication-based, and arose due to differing objectives between participating groups. We also found, however, that temporarily setting aside these objectives and connecting on an individual level was effective in helping participants overcome conflict. Interacting in this way led conflict to ease, and in time, to the emergence of several new challenges, all in line with the original objectives of the parties involved. Based on these activities, we proposed a new cyclic communication process consisting of four steps: developing personal relationships, waiting for common challenges and desires to emerge, creating small-scale prototypes, and presenting the results. The process has been successfully demonstrated in several communities across Japan so far.

Author

  • Katsunori Kawano
    Communication Technology Laboratory, Research & Technology Group