The Background of Product Development: Products Made by Homo Sapiens


Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari

I assume many of you have already read the book, “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind” by Yuval Noah Harari. It’s full of intellectual excitement. Truth is always stranger than fiction. I can’t understand why I was bored with history class in my school days. The book has been sold more than 12 million copies in the world. It’s a must read for people full of intellectual curiosity like you, the readers of this blog.

Creativity is the advantage of Homo Sapiens

Homo sapiens were physically inferior to Neanderthals but won the battle for existence due to the superior ability of communication and cooperation. Before reading the book, I already knew the historical fact but didn’t know much about how our ancestors were superior in those fields. The book clearly answers the question. In short, it is an ability to talk about fiction. That makes us superior. Neanderthals were also able to communicate and share information, but it was only about existing things.

Our president, product development manager, and a designer are talking about a new item.

Good communication makes great products

We tend to forget it, but it’s very difficult to share information of non-existent things like fiction, mental images, etc. When we develop new products, for example, it’s challenging but a great opportunity to show off our inherited ability. Of course, the basic information of new proposals is provided numerically such as in CAD data, but that’s not enough. Perfect pictures are only in designers’ minds. In order to give form to them, we talk, talk, and talk for thorough mutual understanding. Even Neanderthals can make replicas, but our original furniture is something only for us.


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.