When the Business Connector programme was first floated as a concept in 2010, Fujitsu was amongst the very first businesses to recognise how important this work could be to communities across England. As a result, the pioneering technology providers committed to providing the programme with the use of a website that enabled Business Connectors from across the country to record their activity and measure their contribution.
2012 – Fujitsu CEO inspired by Prince’s Seeing is Believing visit
With his interest in the programme piqued by the visibility of the Business Connectors' activities Duncan Tait, then CEO of Fujitsu UK, led a Seeing is Believing visit to engage other business leaders with the programme. This visit, to a Boxing Academy in Tottenham with Sainsbury’s Business Connector Kay Horne, demonstrated - in a community reeling from the then recent riots – what can be achieved by these grass-roots secondments.
The visit resulted in more businesses seconding to the programme – including Fujitsu as Duncan Tait had been inspired by the personal exposure to local need and opportunity, which challenged his own pre-conceptions.
Reporting back to HRH Prince of Wales, Duncan pledged to sending Business Connectors from Fujitsu each year. To date, nine Business Connectors from Fujitsu have been seconded in total.
Duncan Tait, Fujitsu’s Chief Executive Officer: "It’s hard to go on a Seeing is Believing visit and then just walk away. It’s that personal experience that must guide our business practice".
2013 – Culture change inspired in Fujitsu
Fujitsu’s first two Business Connectors were selected through an organisation-wide recruitment process to work in communities of greatest need, which were in close proximity to the technology-focussed offices where the business is based. They worked in the communities of Basingstoke and Salford.
Duncan's experience of leading a Seeing is Believing visit sparked a realisation that the Business Connector Programme could “take us to another level of engaging with our business model.”* Duncan and Gavin Bounds (Chief Operating Officer, EMEIA) engaged their HR, Learning & Development and CSR departments to ensure that the Business Connector programme would be woven into its talent development programme.
Duncan Tait, Fujitsu’s Chief Executive Officer: “Previously we may have sent out potential leaders to Harvard or INSEAD, but now if people want to be a senior leader in Fujitsu, I will be asking: ‘have they been a Business Connector?’.”
2014 – Fujitsu develops its talent through the Business Connector programme
Fujitsu pledged a further four Business Connectors, and having been invigorated by his first experience, Duncan led his second Seeing is Believing visit to engage even more business leaders with the Business Connector programme.
Zoe Gill was seconded to Runcorn and has gone on to become just one of the success stories of Fujitsu’s returning Business Connectors.
The following May, after her secondment where she demonstrated superb business skills in bringing community organisations and businesses together, the former Service Delivery Manager was promoted into a global commercial role at a much more senior level.
Zoe Gill, Business Connector for Runcorn said at the time: "I have the new role due to my Business Connectors experience. I learnt how to influence without authority and to work with people who knew more than me. You learn a real tenacity and a resilience to go with that. I am now ‘connecting’ within Fujitsu. I don’t do the ‘doing’ – I do the connecting!"
2015 – Fujitsu expanding the movement
By the beginning of this year, Duncan had moved into a more global role within Fujitsu, and the baton for providing leadership with Seeing is Believing visits was passed to Michael Keegan, his successor.
Michael brought fellow business leaders to Southwark to meet a group of young people who had missed opportunities through their lack of education and observed how through the local Business Connector, businesses and local coaches could work together to overcome this barrier.
Fujitsu’s responsible business journey has been informed by a number of things; understanding the communities in which they operate, seeing the opportunity for collaborating with other businesses to make a difference, and making their own commitment to improve the opportunities for people within local communities.
Michael Keegan, Chairman at Fujitsu UK and Ireland: "At Fujitsu we see Business Connectors as having an important dual role, bringing our community investment strategy together with the development of our people."
2016 - Fujitsu engaging a global audience through Seeing is Believing
Fujitsu’s clients and suppliers from a range of global businesses are expected to attend a Seeing is Believing visit in London planned for Spring 2016.
Since 1990, The Prince’s Seeing is Believing programme has been inspiring and changing lives for the better. Find out more about how the programme has been a catalyst for change or join the responsible leadership movement by attending a Seeing is Believing visit; an experience which will inspire, support and challenge you to re-imagine the potential of your business.