Society 5.0: What To Do Today To Be Ready To Support Human-Centered Innovation

Society 5.0 was proposed in the “5th Science and Technology Basic Plan” as a future society to which Japan should aspire. It brings together concerns for people, planet, and profit equally in order to build a better world. In Society 5.0, we believe everyone can have an abundant and balanced life. A “new wisdom” will be developed from the data being collected about every aspect of our lives, which should enable companies to remove mundane mindless activities from our lives.

Our world is already moving to a more human-centered society. You can see it in news articles and in our conversations. In the future, technology will be based on human needs, not only on new technology as it has been for decades. This will change what we deliver to our customers.

To prepare for this new future, it is imperative that we align our organizations to deliver work as seamlessly as possible. We need to focus on how we build our products and transform our processes so that we can focus on the product redesign in the future. The true goal of Value Stream Management is to align the business so work can flow from idea to customer feedback.

Agility is the basis and foundation for flowing work. If you didn’t implement true agile practices and principles, now is the time. Next, good DevOps practices and alignment are needed to get product into the hands of customers more quickly. If you didn’t implement these processes well, now is the time. Make sure you have the data coming out of both your development cycles and DevOps cycles that you need to know if there are bottlenecks or silos and work to remove them.

Next focus on program-level planning. You have to understand what work can be done. Strategic estimations are always wrong, and you don’t get to a real plan until the people creating and delivering the product reply—they do so in the form of capacity plans at the program level. This program-level plan ties your strategic plans to sprint plans and gives a framework for data to roll back up. I have never seen a company successfully take a strategic plan for 9-12 months and break it down into 2-week sprints. You need to have intermediate stages.

Next focus on streamlining the strategic planning steps. Lean Portfolio Management allows you to determine the correct detail of your strategic plans to optimize the planning cycles and eliminate wasted effort.

Overall, keep an eye on removing bottlenecks and silos. Map the data you need at each level and the transparency into the process that you need all along the way. Status reports should be created by software and dashboards, not by people. We have seen organizations eliminate up to $100M spent on creating status reports against strategic plans by aligning their organizations and tools to create consistent data and dashboards.


It is essential that we align our organizations so we can flow ideas and innovation to our customers. Value Stream Management enables you to align work, eliminate silos and bottlenecks, and have the data you need to run your business as a natural outcome of standard processes. By focusing on improving how you create products today, you will be able to focus on new types of innovation in the future. Will you be ready for Society 5.0?  

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