A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them. I’m sure you’ve heard this before: the famous words left by Steve Jobs. Sometimes, making matters more complicated, people say the opposite of what they want. The well-known example of behavioral economics is “Salad dish set launched by McDonald’s Japan in 2006.” The product development team of McDonald’s Japan was not smug, and not acting arbitrarily. The epic-fail menu was developed based on questionnaire results asking for healthy salad and saying no to junk food. Ironically, Quarter Pounder series (huge size burgers) debuted in 2008 and were a big hit.
People don’t know exactly what they want, even say the opposite of what they want. This would be the reason why we can never accurately forecast the market. It is always too chaotic because of human irrational behaviors. In that sense, our product development policy, “not market-in but product-out” may be right. Ex-chairman (the current senior adviser) often said “Proposing new designs to the market is our mission, our value, and our brand. It’s vital for us to find talented designers, build a good relationship with them, and keep developing our skills to realize their ideas and passions.”
The other day, the senior adviser came to me nagging “Why don’t you introduce more about designer profiles in our website?” I know he is right and we should do that, but the problem is it’s not easy to profile them. “Who are you?” is the question with which a world-wide smash hit novel (published more than 25 years ago, though) “Sophie’s World” began, as I wrote before. This is a simple but very difficult question for anyone to answer, and so, it’s very natural for designers just to send their study, job, and award history in reply. I guess nobody is interested in such dry and boring information. I wish I could interview each of our designers to dig deeper and share how attractive they are, like I did before with Michael Schneider. Today, can I pick your brains about a good question to profile them to reveal their talent, passion, and charm to you readers?
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.