Interview with Our Product Development Manager (vol. 1)


Are you interested in our product development stories? I actually am! Due to specialization at work, I don’t know much about how our products have been developed. Under the veil of work, I asked our product development manager questions that I’m personally interested in the answers to, and will be sharing his answers. By the way, it’d be more about the value he has in product development, rather than concrete methods of product development. This is delivered in two times: this week and next week.

Q 1. Why did you decide to work in the product development of furniture, not other products?

A 1. When I studied at Collage of Arts, the most popular industries were cars and electrical appliances, but most people working there didn’t look so happy. As specialization progressed, some people always worked on door mirrors, others worked on switch knobs, etc. On the other hand, we can see a broader view if it’s furniture. It’s not only because of business scale, but because of the nature of furniture as a product. It’s simple, and structure is almost equal to appearance, which I really like.


Q 2. Don’t you want to design furniture on your own from scratch?

A 2. Yes, of course, but mind you. I really enjoy myself. I believe what is the most desired quality for product development managers is communication skills. I can understand the arguments of our production team and designers, and always enjoy communicating with both to find a compromise. In addition, it’s exciting and challenging to work with outside designers. They’re a breath of fresh air for us. It’s sometimes difficult for me to think out of the box, because I know too much about woodworking.

Q 3. Are you always convinced before release that a new product would sell well?

A 3. Not always. Funnily enough, the chance of my guess being correct is higher in an opposite case (a new product might not sell well). Don’t get me wrong. We always give it all we got, but I don’t think products good in quality and design always sell well.

This sparked my interest more about his opinion on design, and I dug it deeper.

To be continued to Vol. 2…


Shungo Ijima

He is travelling around the world. His passion is to explain Japan to the world, from the unique viewpoint accumulated through his career: overseas posting, MBA holder, former official of the Ministry of Finance.

Leave a Reply