10/1, 2008 Discussion with Telenor Messengers

On October first, Minerva Terrades Oliveras, Sumaru Niida (KDDI R&D Lab), Takao Sugimoto, Yuri Tanaka, and Shin Mizukoshi met Mr. Aske Dam and Mr. Birger Johan Nymo, the COO of Telenor Research and Innovation in Norway.
Aske and Birger came to Japan to attend CEATEC, one of the biggest Asian electronic consumer products show in Makuhari, Chiba prefecture (http://www.ceatec.com), and to meet several contacts of IT industries. Aske and I have known each other since 2000. This time, discussions took place mainly among Birger and members of Shin Lab.
Birger started his career first as a media researcher in 1980s, when Aske developed several citizen media projects in Denmark influenced by activities of new media of local communities in Japan. Birger did some research on Aske’s media activities. After that, he managed to work his way to today’s position. For this reason, he was very much interested in “Media Exprimo”, an interdisciplinary CREST project. The introduction of “Media Exprimo” project by Shin Mizukoshi was followed by a pleasant discussion in the red sofas of Fukutake’s Commons. Mr. Aske Dam was curious about the latest keitai technological developments, and we were very much surprised to hear that the Telenor project is not restricted to Norway, but it has different focal points in several places, such as Bangladesh, Malaysia and Thailand. Also, the users of Telenor extremely exceed Norway’s popula! tion, a very different picture from that of KDDI or other Japanese mobile phone companies.
In the restaurant, “Kongari” near Hongo San Chome crossing, we carried on our discussion while drinking. Mr. Niida and I found out that about 30 % of researchers in Telenor Research and Innovation are humanities and social scientists. In KDDI R&D lab, only Niida has insisted on the importance of crossing the border between natural and social science. We believe that Japanese companies and universities should develop more interdisciplinary activities from now on.
We promised each other to get together at Norway in the near future.



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