Keisuke Maeda was recognized for his thought leadership and strong capabilities to fuse digital and physical workplace technologies. He has designed many physical spaces including data centers, large mobile vehicles to house ATMs, places of worship, and more recently — sustainable buildings for customers that have reduced their carbon footprint by as much as 23 percent. Keisuke was selected to be part of the inaugural class of Kyndryl Distinguished Engineers, leading innovators who are shaping the future of Kyndryl and driving change in the industry.
How would you describe your work?
My job at Kyndryl is unique because so much of it is about the physical places that people use every day. I lead a lot of conceptual design work that attempts to reimagine and innovate on how our working environments operate, and how we interact with those environments. It’s neat, and it allows me to focus on new technologies that enhance people’s experiences while also pushing toward more sustainable and climate-friendly offices and data centers.
What first drew you to this line of work?
My father died while I still in high school. He had worked at a general construction company where he helped build very large facilities. Before he died, he told me that he wanted me to grow up to be a building architect. So I did, and when I went to university I studied the history of architecture.
So you are an architect? A technologist? A bit of both?
I’m an artist. And I’m an engineer. After university, I worked at two architectural design offices before joining what would become Kyndryl. Since then, I’ve gained a couple decades of experience working with enterprises across many kinds of industries, including in financial services, distribution, and manufacturing. I also have a first-class building architect license certified by the Japanese government.
For much of my career, I have focused on fusing data and design to build a better future that is carbon-neutral. This has taken some shape in my design work developing prototypes for data centers that use mega solar panels. I'm incredibly interested in using off-grid energy to power the future.
How did being recognized as a Distinguished Engineer make you feel?
Becoming a Distinguished Engineer is a very high honor, an important role that I never thought I would achieve. When I first got into this business, I had the benefit of interacting with various mentors who served as role models that helped me through different stages of my career. Now, as a Distinguished Engineer, it is even more important that I continue to mentor others. I look forward to contributing to our talented technical community at Kyndryl.
I want to change the world, and for me shaping a better world involves leaning on my skills as an engineer and artist to develop new ways of working — to create something new out of nothing.
Is there something immediate you are eager to tackle as part of your work?
As you know, Covid-19 changed our lives and fundamentally shifted our work lives. This changed our relationship with our customers, too. I want to contribute to solving the problems that were created by the onset of the pandemic, and the workplace is a good place to begin that work.
The physical and digital workplaces have been on a collision course for a long time, and the pandemic sped up that eventual intersection. We can use my design principles to make a tremendous impact on society.