We hosted the first session of the Innovation and Knowledge Exploration Series!!

Hello! I’m Keita, a backend engineer at Flagship Inc.

Currently, I am not only working as a backend engineer but also serving as the chairman of the AI Committee. The AI Committee is an organization directly under the CEO, and we meet once a week to catch up on the latest AI information, study theories and history, and hold enlightening sessions within the company. Through these activities, we aim to deepen our understanding and their applications among our team members.

On Wednesday, March 13th, our AI Committee held a study session titled “Innovation and Knowledge Exploration Series.” It was a significant event that changed our perspective on the information industry and I would like to report on the event and share our insights with you!


The scene of the first session

The “Innovation and Knowledge Exploration Series” was divided into three parts:

1. Why Apple Could Create Revolutionary Products - Innovation Begins with Liberal Arts

2. Philosophical History of Information Technology

3. A “Super” Introduction to Artificial Intelligence

The content for this series stemmed from an IT study session held approximately 12 years ago when our CEO, Mr. Jimba, founded the company. This session was co-hosted by Mr. Kensuke Hiwatashi of the NPO Talking.

Mr. Hiwatashi, who has been conducting liberal arts book clubs and training sessions for many years, and also serves as our consultant. I first met him in April 2023 when I attended his “Conceptual Thinking” workshop.

I am confident that restarting these study sessions now will have a positive impact on our future internal activities. When I asked Mr. Hiwatashi to host this session, he graciously agreed despite his busy schedule.

Thank you very much, Mr. Hiwatashi, for your time and effort!

The first session

I’d like to share the details of our first session with you!

Firstly, let me ask you a question: what kind of impression do you have of Apple?

When we asked the participants in our company to explain their impression of Apple, we got responses like these:

 Company that invented the iPhone.

 Company that brings innovation.

 Brand that sells high-end products.

I had a similar impression myself. I use a Mac for work and love my iPhone, so I thought I knew a lot about Apple. However, this session completely changed my perception of the company.

Source of Apple’s Innovation

The meeting started with a presentation by Mr. Hiwatashi.

The key figures in the exploration were Alan Kay and Steve Jobs.

(Left Image) Alan Kay by Marcin Wichary from San Francisco, U.S.A. - Alan Kay, CC BY 2.0,

(Right Image) Steve Jobs by Matthew Yohe, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Alan Kay is a pioneer who conceived the concept of the personal computer and laid the foundation for the modern computing era. His vision was to support education and creative activities through a portable multimedia device he called the “Dynabook.”

It is said that Alan Kay came up with this innovative idea in 1968. When looking at the sketches of the Dynabook from that time, one can see a device that closely resembles today’s iPad.

In the 1960s, computers were so large that they occupied entire rooms. It is astonishing that during that era, Alan Kay envisioned that “computers are media and will one day be small enough to fit in people’s hands, transforming their lives.”

Steve Jobs was greatly influenced by Alan Kay’s ideas and created numerous innovative products through Apple to realize that vision. At that time, Alan Kay was working on developing a prototype of the Dynabook at Xerox’s PARC research center. The result was the interim version of the Dynabook, “Alto.”

Xerox Alto By Joho345 - Own work, Public Domain,

Alto was not valued within Xerox and remained in storage, but it was Steve Jobs who accidentally discovered it and saw the potential for future computers. Jobs developed Alto into a commercial product, which led to the creation of the Macintosh. This marked the beginning of Apple’s history of innovation.

A Macintosh 128K, keyboard, and mouse By Sailko
- Own work, CC BY 3.0,

After Mr. Hiwatashi’s explanation, each participant shared their impressions. One participant mentioned that they understood the structure where Alan Kay created something from zero to one, and Steve Jobs achieved from one to ten.

Until I heard this presentation, I believed that Steve Jobs created products like the iPhone, iPad, and Mac from scratch with his unique ideas and charisma. However, it is more accurate to say that Jobs turned Alan Kay’s visions into reality with his overwhelming passions.

Alan Kay and Liberal Arts

 In the latter part, I learned that not only technical excellence but also deep insights based on liberal arts can be the source of innovation.

Particularly, Alan Kay seemed to have gained many insights from a liberal arts perspective. Books recommended by Kay, such as Marshall McLuhan’s “The Gutenberg Galaxy” and “Understanding Media,” have had a decisive influence on his thinking.

Cover of the first edition of ‘The Gutenberg Galaxy.’ By Scan of book cover, Fair use,

 When researching online, I found articles about books recommended by Alan Kay. The books mentioned span a wide range of genres, including media theory, education, psychology, art theory, science, and philosophy.

It appears that a broad knowledge across various fields formed the foundation of Kay’s innovative ideas. By adopting a liberal arts perspective, one can gain creative insights that go beyond mere technical abilities.

I would also like to read the books he recommends.

Impressions from the First Session

After the first session, I believe everyone’s perspective on Apple has significantly changed. I thought I knew a lot about Apple, but I realized that understanding Apple’s innovation requires a grasp of the relationship between Alan Kay and Steve Jobs.

I now think that Alan Kay deserves more recognition, not just Steve Jobs, and I’ve begun to question why the focus is predominantly on Jobs.

I also gained a sense that truly innovative ideas come not only from technology but from a deep understanding of human activity as a whole.

It was a very intense couple of hours, and I’m really glad we held this session!

Next time, I will report on the second session, “Philosophical History of Information Technology.” Stay tuned!


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