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When you hear IDEO, you might immediately think of design. That’s not wrong, but in order for our work to truly create a positive impact, we need to share our story with the world and the people to do that are our Marketing & Communications Specialists.

We sat down with Kaoru Tanaka, Senior Design Director, to talk about the importance of storytelling and how the Marketing & Communication Specialist is central to this at IDEO Tokyo.

First of all, what is a Marketing & Communications Specialist?

Marketing & Communications Specialist is someone who designs ways to share stories about IDEO to the world in a way that is relatable to our audiences. Our vision is to create a positive impact through design, and there are many dimensions to that - for IDEO Tokyo, it’s through our consulting business, learning business, and D4V (Design for Ventures). Because of the diversity of our business and clients, what we do here at IDEO Tokyo may be seen as mysterious, but we want to share more of our stories out there so that people understand how impact is being created in Japan through design and creativity.

How is it different from a traditional Marketing position?

The Marketing & Communications Specialist position could be different from a traditional Marketing position in that they are at the center of it all, working closely with the project teams, our clients, leadership team, and the global IDEO Marketing Team. They get to learn and hear stories directly from the people involved and will have the freedom to explore how to weave a compelling story.

What are some things to get excited about being a Marketing & Communications Specialist at IDEO Tokyo?

First and foremost, you get the first row seat to witness and see the process of ideas coming to life from zero. We’ve been working with various clients from various industries over the past 10 years, but every project is a different one. Each project goes through a different journey, so we want our Marketing & Communications Specialist to experience those moments alongside our designers. And by working closely with them, I believe they will be inspired to curate and experiment with different ways of sharing our story to the public.

Can you give some examples of what storytelling looks like at IDEO Tokyo?

Last year we held a webinar series called Emergent Futures. As the entire world was going through an uncertain time during the pandemic, we thought we could inspire others by sharing IDEO Tokyo’s point of view about the future to come, post-pandemic. We had our designers talk about various topics, from Leftover Spaces to Radical Resilience, and it was a huge success.

Another example is Design Crossing. This is another webinar series hosted by our designers, an opportunity to share their passion and nerd out. These are moments where we can highlight our unique talent working at IDEO, whom we want our Marketing & Communications Specialist to help coach and define their story.

What would you say is the biggest challenge for this position?

The biggest challenge or opportunity for the Marketing & Communications Specialist would be to help IDEO Tokyo share its story to a wider audience. We just celebrated IDEO Tokyo’s 10th anniversary in March 2021 and it’s amazing to see how much IDEO, design thinking, and creative confidence has spread in Japan. However, there is still so much to do, so much we can still contribute. Now that the term design thinking has become more common, what’s next? How do we present IDEO Tokyo so that we can truly achieve our mission? How do we ensure IDEO Tokyo has a distinct voice and culture even within the IDEO global community? These are the types of questions we want our Marketing & Communications Specialist to think about.

Who do you want to see apply for this position?

A successful candidate could be from backgrounds as diverse as a marketing or PR person from a creative industry to a journalist specializing in tech, ventures, and design. We do value those who have prior experience in marketing or PR, but we would like to see those who are excited to challenge new ways of storytelling, going beyond the boundaries of traditional marketing.

IDEO Tokyo is currently in search of a Marketing & Communications Specialist to join our team. If you would like to work together with us and create impact toward our mission, to help enable change in Japan through design and creativity, please check out our careers page!

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