Depicting the ways of working in the future – Creating a highly sociable new project with Okamura
In addition to manufacturing and selling office furniture, Okamura Corporation (subsequently referred to as Okamura) offers consulting and design services to transform a variety of spaces into a comfortable environment. Okamura started a project in 2015 to rethink the ways people will be working in the future based on the vision to “become a company to create the new office culture of Japan.” Loftwork Inc. has been involved in the project since its inception, and continues to support Okamura’s project members create a new asset.
As the first step of the project, online media was created to spread Okamura’s vision and its new offerings to the world. The owned media is entitled, “WORK MILL,” to change the way to look at “work” and extract valuable things. In order to come up with the most appropriate way to work in the present Japanese society, Loftwork Inc. has continued to support planning and operation of “WORK MILL,” from the conceptualization stage to now.
“Why did it become “DRAW YOUR WORK,” and not “make your work” or “create your work”?
In Japanese, “Egaku” is used to convey internal amorphous matters
to others, like dreams, ideals, and pictures.
We believe that the phrase, “DRAW YOUR WORK” was chosen
because it contains the message that “ways to work” is not something given by others.”
At the start, the concept of the project was set with a broader perspective, since the aim of the project was not to create media, but to “draw new ways to work.”
Building the online media
Based on the concept of spreading the future of “work” by curating it from a variety of points of view, it was built with a capacity for the operators to arbitrarily curate, aside from the order of arrival, in order to flatly expose people to the contents, as though they are flipping through a magazine, rather than forcibly pushing information in the form of a ranking. With the bluish gray background of VI design, the worldview of the logo is emphasized.
Deciding on editorial policy/Operation
With Hara at the center, the editorial policy and the process of executing the plan were organized. During the decision phase of the editorial policy, Junya Mori with inquire Inc. was brought in as an external advisor to thoroughly set WORK MILL’s message and target, and the worldview created by the media.
As the leader of the editorial team, Hara made a variety of plans to continuously grow WORK MILL including a planning sheet used to document newly created contents, a communication tool for the editorial team, designing an editorial meeting committee, and a monthly strategy for the contents.
Discussions with project members
“DRAWING YOUR WORK” – the idea behind the project concept was deeplu rooted in what Osonoi, a project leader for Okamura, has always felt as topic-worthy in his long career. What were Okamura’s and Osonoi’s ideas behind the WORL MILL project? How were they being materialized with Loftwork? The members of the project, Osonoi, Yamada, Taniguchi, and Yanagikawa and Hara from Loftwork Inc. review the project.
Text: Takeshi Nishiyama
Images: Ryosuke Iwamoto
“Ideas behind “WORK MILL,” a desire to change how people work in Japan.”
“Aiming for a fundamental solution to the problem, where making media is not the goal.”
Yanagawa: When you joined Okamura, the preliminary form of “WORK MILL” was already in play there, right?
Osonoi: At that time, they had started working to “strengthen the ways to disseminate information to the world.”In order to create a fan-community that goes beyond the framework of “clients” vs “companies,”outward-looking communication is necessary. In January, 2015, this work took shape, and became a new project. At kick-off, the president proclaimed, “let’s become the company that creates new Japanese office culture!”. Based on his words, the business statement became: “DRAW YOUR WORK.”
Yanagawa: We joined the project around the time this business statement was set. I remember you telling me that you “want to create a platform to spread information.”
Yamada (Okamura): At the time, the only opportunity our company had to voluntarily spread information was at exhibits, thus, we that we first need a place where we can express our ideas and claims. Vaguely, we knew “it would be nice to have online media.” We consulted Loftwork Inc. with this proposal, and was a bit surprised to get a response asking, “is online media really what you want?”
Yanagawa：: We often receive requests to “create online media/owned media.” After a careful discussion, we learn that in many cases, “making media” has become the goal. Media is a “method” to convey something. If the purpose of the media is not clear, even a great-looking media is wasted. Therefore, quickly accepting a job to “make media” does not lead to solving client’s fundamental issues.
“Open collaboration brings about creative ideas.”
Osonoi: In actually managing media, I am grateful for the depth of Loftwork Inc.’s network. It has some sort of connections with everyone we have been interested in featuring on our media, which frequently makes negotiating for an interview easier.
Taniguchi: We were able to do interviews with the author of “Ashita no Koukoku,” Naoyuki Sato, and the founder of “CRAZY WEDDING,” Saki Yamakawa, because of Loftwork Inc.’s network.
Osonoi: I feel that Loftwork Inc. is very good at connecting “client network” and “creative network.” Rather than ending on a 1-on-1 relationship, they think, “it would be interesting for these people to work together,” and connect people outside of their own interest. I think they are offering unique values through this kind of involvement through “curiosity.”
Hara: That’s true, we have a lot of people who are dedicated to novel and interesting things.