Imagine a serene Sunday afternoon. You planned to escape the stress of the week, maybe months to relax and forget about everything. You pay your fee to tee-off at 10am, skies are clear. The weather couldn’t be any perfect for a ‘golf day’. You buy your snacks, your Arnold Palmer with ice, a nice Cuban cigar and a few of your best friends. For the first 2 holes, you have made it in on your 2nd or 3rd try. Now you are up and you bet your buddies that you will make a hole-in-one… All you hear is a bird in the distance and a squirrel chewing on an acorn. You get ready to swing and then you hear something in the background.
…..…zzzzbbdbdbrrrzzzZZZZBRBRBRBRBRRRRRRRRBADABADABADA!!!!!! What the fuck!? Watch the video below and you’ll see what i mean…
One would first think “pretty neat!”. But then when you’re on the green enjoying your day of peace and quiet away from everything, you have this noisy drone flying overhead. This is a perfect example where the user’s voice was not listened to and where the corporate managers simply executed a request from the CEO. Not all Japanese companies think this way nor execute ridiculous ideas forced upon them from keeping up with their competitors, but the majority do. The conceptualizations inside Japanese corporations are huge and are incredibly unique and serve great purpose for the majority of the users, but they mostly fall on Japanese Project Managers potential promotions. Where there UX Designers or Researchers there to provide the voice of the user? Yes. But the majority of Japanese Project Manager’s goals are not necessarily open-minded to the user. They have to make very difficult decisions in reaching out to his/her supervisors and CEO to inform them of potential flaws. Even though they voiced the potential flaws and have informed their teams, they must stick to their guns and stand up for the user. Easy? No. Why not?
In Japan (as i have experienced working for many companies in Japan for 14 glorious years), to “go against the grain” or to “think outside of the box” is 99% frowned upon. Ever since Japanese childhood, children are taught to be “as one” and to “be as the rest”. Anyone that goes against this type of thinking becomes an outcast. From kindergarten all the way up to the corporate world, this type of mentality remains. And in the Japanese corporate world, to “think out of the box” (especially if you are not a CEO) or to receive approval from the CEO about your idea, you WILL lose your promotion. You will be not invited to company gatherings. It is a very sad, sad corporate world that hopefully will change…but it will not change anytime soon.
If you have not watched this video (below), please do watch it now… though it may appear absolutely cool… take a moment and think about ALL of the potential scenarios and guess the only and single persona this would satisfy.