Interview with:
Desiree Orum
Worldwide Olympic & Paralympic Marketing Groupwide Brand Communications Division Panasonic Corporation

Since 2017, Panasonic and IOC support youth social projects that contribute missions of both leading organizations in their fields – “creating a better world” through sport and technology.

Being the First

Can you tell us, how leading organization in the field of technology decided to invest in the projects that one may call “sport”. What is the common ground for sport and technology share in this case?

Panasonic became the first Worldwide TOP partner to provide additional support to International Olympic Committee Young Leader (IOC YL) programme pledging its commitment to support the next generation of young sport leaders around the world. Panasonic trusts in “A Better Life, A Better World” as stated in the corporate slogan. Partnering with the programme shows that we count on young generation and sports to realize that goal. At Panasonic, we’re passionate about making the world richer and more fulfilling place for everyone. The history of Panasonic is one of seeking out problems faced by people around the world as individuals and finding ways to overcome them through technology.

Very often, big companies ask how the effect of supporting youth initiatives or social entrepreneurship can be measured? Can you tell us your experience?

We do not think you can expect to get immediate response from investing in this program that tries to make difference in the world and future. You have to be patient. IOC young leaders program involves audience from very young age and experience in working in the program will surely influence the way they see the world. I saw this firsthand in different workshops we had with IOC YL in Japan, through comments participants later gave. It might be 10, 20 or more years from now that you see some type of feedback from the investment you made. But, as you see, you have to be patient.

Benefits of Social Entrepreneurship

And what companies may gain with investment in social entrepreneurship projects?

The energy of young people that you feel through engaging with these entrepreneurs is priceless. You can see how young talents are eager to make positive difference in the world. As a company, we need to keep updating ourselves to meet the needs of the people though technologies we provide. Engaging with theses talents, we see their passion, goals and indirectly we see where the world could be heading. It could be the great indicator for us to know in which direction we should be heading.

IOC-Young-Leaders-2020

IOC and Panasonic invested in 52 worldwide youth social projects in 2019 up to CHF 5,000 for one youth social project

It seems that investment in social entrepreneurship attracts more and more interest on a global level. Why is it the case?

I believe my answers above will apply to this question as well. And I believe society, as a whole, is willing to support companies that try to make positive changes in the world.

Why and how Panasonic has decided to develop “Sharing the Dream”? Why is it important for education and youth development?

KWN (Kid Witness News) is a global hands-on video educational program for students. Through out the program Panasonic aims to contribute to the realization of its philosophy and brand slogan “A Better Life, A Better World.” Since 1989, and for future generations, the program aims to stimulate children’s creativity, build communication skills and encourage teamwork through video production, based on children’s point of view. “Sharing the Dream 2021” was created through KWN and it is one of the official programs that is recognized by Tokyo 2021 Organizing Committee. It involves Japanese students into the Olympic movement under the same spirit.

Role modeling and Tokyo 2021

What lesson other organizations may learn based on the example of Panasonic and IOC?

I think the biggest lesson we learned through supporting the program is how talented and motivated young people are, and how much sports can take part in improving human connection. 

Olympic flame will be back in Tokyo in 2021. Can you tell us what is the biggest legacy of Tokyo 2021 and Panasonic as its sponsor? Tokyo 2021 is said to be one of the most innovative Games so far and we as a TOP sponsor for the past 30 years are very excited to make the best contribution to the Games. The organizing committee Tokyo 2021 provides different programs for youth to take part in, including those programs that we participate too. I believe it will be a great legacy to be able to pass on this knowledge experience to the future generation. Somehow the legacy goes beyond the Games, even in non-Game year, in non-host cities we will together make the world a better place.