BTC evolves into STC
Creator's story - Kuniori Maeda

Business, technology, and creativity: individuals who seamlessly link these three elements are called "BTC personnel", taking the initials of each.

The BTC proposed by the design firm "Takram" is considered to be essential by Medley's design department. This is the thinking of Kuniori Maeda, head of the design department.

Achieving more commercial designs and moving to a business company

Maeda's experience in his former role has greatly affected his thinking regarding ideal designers. As a designer, Maeda has held several roles in various design companies during his career. It was at Livesense that he encountered the idea of designing closer to the business.

At the time, he says there was momentum for accelerated growth toward becoming a publicly listed company.
"The CEO, who was in his early twenties, was boasting about aiming to go public. I really felt the momentum. I joined Livesense as I thought that here—a business company—I could gain a lot of experience and that I would have a great deal of freedom."

Livesense was an environment where a series of new businesses were being created and tested. In that environment, Maeda experienced designing for a wide variety of services. For him, it deepened his role in design for the business. "Creating new services meant creating new brands. It was a very valuable experience to repeat the cycle of thinking about the best branding for each service and working on the design."

An ideal designer

While gaining a full range of experiences as a designer, Maeda also worked on management as the head of the design department. At the time, the development organization was becoming larger, the design department was created, and he was selected as the department head. From there, he looked for optimum solutions for both his own growth as a designer and the growth of the team.

"We actively delegated authority to team members while keeping areas that cannot be delegated, such as personnel recruitment and employee evaluations, within our control. For example, if a member is interested in Art Direction, we leave the direction of that area to that employee. We developed an environment that makes use of each discipline and desired course without having to handle too much by ourselves."
We worked not only on relationships between designers but also communication with engineers and the business side involved in the tasks. Communication with other functional areas was considered to be important in order for us to be able to offer value to the business. From around this time, Maeda became aware of the importance of not only design but also perspectives.

A company's culture is created by the founder's philosophy

Maeda encountered Medley because of the field of "medical care." In his previous role, Maeda was involved in the launch of a medical information service. Therein, he keenly felt the pain that the medical industry was going through and felt that they could not let this problem pass.
"Through my involvement with medical care services, I gradually began to think of issues with medical care as personal ones. I had a vague idea that I may wish to be further involved sooner or later." His prediction soon became a reality.

A colleague, Hirayama, moved to the position of Medley's CTO. At the time of its launch, Maeda was asked to design the CLINICS Telemedicine app. Initially, it was simply assisting in the design. However, therein, Maeda was extremely impressed with the words of the representatives on the corporate site that he saw.
"The words of the two representatives, which included passionate ones regarding the sense of challenge for the industry and went on all the way to underscore the significance of offering services, were written there. I was impressed with the ability to specifically convey our thoughts up to that point and the focus on a single business domain while carrying out a well-thought-out business development strategy."
Maeda himself was engaged in CI in his former position and strongly felt the importance of the company's vision.
"The founder's philosophy led to the creation of the company's culture, and it is very important to assess whether or not that culture is suitable for one's self. Here, I felt that I could work to tackle medical care head on."

BTC guidelines required by Medley

On the basis of past experiences, Maeda deliberated over what could be the ideal design department for Medley. Therein, he sorted out the elements required of designers while simultaneously placing BTC in the core.
"Communication with engineers and the business side is key for business companies. Designers need to understand both technology and the business to communicate well with specialists in each area. Therefore, we decided to become a department that could produce BTC personnel."

It did not take much time for Maeda's ideas to percolate to the members.
"Fortunately, our design department was so excellent and well-balanced that we were able to quickly understand the direction of the BTC that we aimed to achieve. Each of them was able to move autonomously and build good relationships with engineers and the business side."

BTC evolves into STC

While emphasizing organizational development, Maeda also focused on the growth of designers.
"Even at age 50, I want to continue to actively work hands on, follow design trends, and update my skills. It is like being Kazuyoshi Miura, the soccer athlete. Typically, at that age, one would be a coach or manager. I think it is superb that he continues to keep evolving as a player."
Maeda believes that developing an organization that can share values ​​as a designer is essential to his growth. Designer values are not only related to design in a narrow sense. Maeda is continuing to deepen his thinking, considering relationships with business and society.

"At one time, I noticed that, in the case of Medley, we were aiming toward a broader perspective than BTC. The field of medical care that we were aiming for must create good things for society rather than just be for business expansion. What we should be aware of is not just business but society. That means it is STC not BTC."
Maeda's attitude toward STC came from the mindset of the development headquarters.
"Medley is a public institution within society. The path of achievement is not about pushing one's own cause or team growth but contributing to the challenges of society and people. It is a public mindset that continues to deliver value. It is natural for unexplored challenges to be difficult. Let us contribute to society."
This phrase represents the image of the designer that Medley requires.

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

Facing design issues to resolve medical care challenges

Return to index

Related business

Related articles