Our job is to solve medical problems. To do that, we have to think about what needs to be done and to tackle designs head on.
Creator's story - Keisuke Koyama

JobMedley is one of Japan's largest medical care job posting sites. A certain designer has supported Medley's mainstay services since its founding. His name is Keisuke Koyama.
Koyama joined Medley after he had built up his experience as a UI designer at a production company. He is acclaimed for his experience in leading significant changes in mindset—ranging from designs that respond to customer needs to designs that maximize our business growth.

Transitioning from the pursuit of creative quality to a commitment to business

Koyama specialized in spatial design while at university. He started his career as a spatial designer who produced planned exhibitions for the museum. Since he was in charge of the design of the company's website, he concentrated on website design and transferred to a design company.
"It was an environment where there were high expectations from designers. In particular, my supervisor, who was the creative director, was excellent, and it was hard to keep up with them regardless of how hard I tried. I expected to change jobs in about 3 years; however, I thought that I could learn things that I had yet to learn while there, and before I knew it, I had been working there for 7 years."
Even though he considers himself still lacking in the technology department, he continues to accumulate experience. Although clients and projects differed, to some extent, he became able to deal with projects on the basis of previous experience.
"I think it was about 5 years ago. I increasingly felt as if I was repeatedly doing the same work. Combining that tone and matter with this composition and with your own knowledge, you could basically see the path. Although the change meant that progress with work was easier, I began to become worried about whether continuing this way was the right thing for me."

He still thinks he is lacking technically. Despite this, there was a feeling of having become used to things. To get rid of that impatience and anxiety, Koyama started a second job, helping with a start-up.
"I think that the more extensive the design and the newer the environment, the better the designer's perspective becomes. I started working on several services, including real estate matching sites and medical imaging services. Of course, it was not only about UI. I was responsible for various tasks, from service design to branding, UI, and coding, as needed for the project."
"I was able to keenly feel the possibilities with design through my second job. On the other hand, I learned the hard lesson that it would be difficult for designs that pursued just beautiful styling up to now to contribute to the business and demonstrate great value. I wanted to go to an environment that is deeply related to the business rather than just ending with the creation of a product. This is how I began to feel."

Becoming keenly aware of medical information issues and considering design solutions

Koyama first thought of medical care when considering a job change. At the design company, he continued to be in charge of designing medical apps and QA services and felt that it was highly challenging and rewarding. There were also some changes to his environment.
"The birth of my child was a particularly important trigger. My child was born in a dangerous physical state. I went through the difficulty of wanting accurate information yet having trouble getting the information that I needed."
At the time of discharge from the hospital, each of the midwives and doctors had a different answer about what caring for a child was like. In some cases, depending on the person, they would say the exact opposite. None of the apps that he looked to in an effort to allay some of his fears were helpful.
"When you are looking for information about childcare or medical care, if there is incorrect information or information that makes you unsure, you become extra anxious. I was shocked about having to go through that. It was a moment when you suddenly realize the existence of an issue that you had not been aware of previously. I thought that we should not increase the number of people who feel anxiety just like I did." He had strong feelings about the issues with medical information and talked about his experience even during his interview. He strongly believed that "if it can be solved with design, then it must be done." However, he also worried about whether "his thoughts would be accurately understood."

"I had never tried to convey my ideas to anyone around me, and I was worried that I was the only one moving blindly. However, Medley had a big plan moving forward to change medical care in a way that was far beyond my ideas, and not only executives, designers, and engineers but all sorts of people in different functions were working seriously to resolve medical problems from their respective perspectives. I was very surprised when I heard the story,"
He also felt the palpable level of seriousness being shown when he heard that physicians were working in the company.
He had been in an environment where physicians had been used as external advisors, and there were not many companies who intentionally employed physicians. In this environment, Koyama was determined to buckle down and take on challenges.

In business, those related to design take full responsibility

Upon joining the company, Koyama was appointed to work on JobMedley, a medical and nursing care recruitment website.
"I checked every item with "design" in its name, including "banner, information design, as well as the UI," on a day-to-day basis." As the scale of business expands and the scope of responsibility expands on a day-to-day basis, the sense of balance between business and creative quality is important.
"There is only so much that one person can do. It would be difficult to be involved in everything 100%. That is why it is important to prioritize and streamline. For example, to enable even just engineers to create a UI, we prepared universal design parts, and to respond quickly to sales needs, we created a banner template, as well as creating an environment that allows not just designers to create designs. We are constantly conscious of achieving outcomes without compromising quality."
Medley moved offices in September 2018, and Koyama was also involved in the design of the new office. Koyama's first role was as a spatial designer. Utilizing this experience, he was also responsible for the concepts and designs for his new office. He focused on an office that expressed Medley's qualities. For more information, please read the blog.

Importance of a mid- to long-term design perspective

Koyama states that "The environment has changed, and the way of tackling design has changed significantly." It is different from when he pursued quality at the design company. Now there is a need to pursue creativity for business growth.
"You could go even far as to say that in the past, if you could create something good then that was enough. Back then, it was about how much attention should have been devoted to finding design solutions and raising their quality, but now we have to think about focusing creativity on business growth each time. After doing it for so many years, I had a habit of pursuing overwhelmingly good creativity, and I found it difficult to let go of this habit in order for me to let things go after expending an adequate amount of time and effort."

In designing services in the mid-and long-term, it is not about pursuing preferences for details but to design on the basis of the nature of the services. This attitude was very different from the mindset that he was used to when he was at the production company.
"In our business, we must design from a medium- to long-term perspective. If we focus on putting together each and every step, we would not be able to design from a broad perspective. My job is to solve the issues with medical care. We must think about what we should do today and tackle the design."

This change in perspective also greatly affected how he spent his off hours. Up until then, he had not gone out for a drink much after work; however, Medley began to deepen the relationships between the members of departments by encouraging them to go out every once in a while for a drink.
"At my previous company, I did not feel that I was growing regardless of how hard I worked, and I was very anxious. I put pressure on myself to keep up with the top and did not have enough time to take a breath. The excessive pressure that I put on myself disappeared, in a good way, when I came to Medley, and the way I study has also changed. I was able to talk about the design and business while drinking, and I gained a great deal of information. I realized how I had been stuck in a rut up to that point."

The idea of creating the future of medical care through design

The scope of responsibility of each employee in the field of business is wide. There is some distress; however, there is also responsibility and discretion. Koyama believes that it is only by the grace of other members that he is enjoying the present situation.
"In terms of resolving issues, I think all my colleagues appear to be designers. Among them, I think I play the role of the person who can draw pictures well, so it is clear where I can demonstrate my value."

The scope of one's value is not limited to the so-called "design." By using one's skills, an individual can commit to various parts and be in an environment where that is what is required. In large enterprises, people are given jobs according to the tasks. However, in a start-up, the norm is to do everything that you can do. Koyama believes that Medley's designers need the spirit of tackling business on that basis.
"You can go as far as to say that we think we need to be able to discard career experiences to date. It is good to use your career experience; however, if you become too career-oriented, it will narrow the scope of activities that can be performed. Even if you are a UI designer like me, the range of tasks required at Medley is very wide. We want to continue to engage in business by trying to create the future of medical care through design rather than by building up a career as a designer."

Interview, edit: Kazuyuki Koyama (weaving inc.)
Date: OCT 2018

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