VCOM is an experimental research project on making network communities seeking to solve problems by the community. Why are communities formed? A community may solve some problems that cannot be solved with certain techniques such as making use of hierarchical organizations e.g. companies, relying on the government or on markets. This use of using the community to solve problems is called a "community solution." VCOM is a demonstration research project to seek fields that are possibly suited for problem-solving by a community so as to implement community solutions.

Number of participating organizations2


Major activities of VCOM include development of community-oriented tools such as a “Web-Mailing Lists Conference Room System” that links the web with mailing lists, operation and support of about ten actual network communities in such fields as support of employment services for the disabled, information related to women and citizen participation in local government.

Current status and future directions

VCOM, since its foundation in 1995, has been investigating the creation and support of network communities. At first, the idea of a “community” on a network was not understood well. But in recent years, interest in network communities has been growing rapidly in many fields. While this may indicate that VCOM attracts more and more attention, many of the roles that VCOM has been playing are becoming the “status quo”. For example, the fact that non-profit organizations (NPO) utilize the Internet as a contact or decision-making tool is no surprise and, it is no more rare that NPOs existing only on a network without having any offices or other physical elements play some roles in a society. For the future, VCOM will stress its significance in terms of its existence and the roles it plays in society, that is, it will present and implement leading ideas on community solutions for society.

Researchers, managers and professors

Masatoshi TamamuraDirector Professor, Faculty of Policy Management
Ikuyo Kaneko Professor Emeritus
Kan Hiroshi SUZUKI Professor, Faculty of Policy Management
Gen Miyagaki Professor, Faculty of Policy Management
Naohisa Yahagi Associate Professor, Graduate School of Media and Governance
Takashi Matsuhashi Senior Researcher, Keio Research Institute at SFC
Motohiro Iwatsuki Senior Researcher, Keio Research Institute at SFC
Takashi Kowata Senior Researcher, Keio Research Institute at SFC