We asked him how he faces business challenges! What is the environment where you can exercise your sensitivity and seize opportunities?
We interviewed Mr. H, the designer in charge of item design for ” Pokecolo,” about Cocone’s approach to business issues.
They will talk about how to respond and what it takes to seize the opportunity.
Grab yourself a place to exercise your sensitivity.
Please tell us about your background.
My previous job was as a graphic designer at a novelty creation company, where I was in charge of extra items for plastic bottles and canned coffee. Most of the designs were mainly targeted at middle-aged men. However, I had a strong desire to utilize the sensibility of a woman’s point of view. Around that time, a friend who worked at Cocone told me that there were many female customers at Pocketcolo and that it was a place where designers could make use of their sensibilities and work with vigor.
I joined the company as a contract employee, but was changed to a permanent employee two months after being hired, earlier than planned!
At first, I joined a game project as a UI designer because of my experience in UI design and DTP.
I heard that you are now in charge of item design for Pokecolo. At what point did you change from UI design to item design?
After the first project I was involved in came to a close, my boss at the time recommended me to take on UI design for Pokecolo. However, I had always wanted to work in a job where I could consistently draw pictures, so I asked to see my portfolio and expressed my passion for the job. He gave me a chance, and I started working on the current item design.
Office at the time of H’s employment
Current Tokyo Office
Continue to face business challenges both in the past and in the future
Please tell us about Cocone’s business challenges. First of all, have there been any changes from the time you joined the company to now?
I joined the company 6 years ago (as of 2021). Since I joined the company, I feel that flexible systems have continued to be introduced and changed. For example, there was the introduction of flexible working hours, the development of the employment system, the evaluation system, etc., and there have also been flexible changes over the years.
How do you perceive the change?
First of all, the introduction of flexible work hours made it possible for us to work according to our individual lifestyles. I thought at the time that it would be great if Cocone could flexibly change the working style from the viewpoint of ease of work.
I set aside a day to come to work early to ensure that I have time to concentrate. By intentionally creating time to focus, I have been able to work more efficiently, which has resulted in less overtime and more personal time.
So there have been changes to the evaluation system as well?
When I joined the company, our main service, ” Pokecolo was finally getting off the ground and generating decent revenue, and there were many contract and part-time workers in various positions, not limited to designers. At the stage when the service was ready to go even higher, most of them became full-time employees. Now, there are people who choose to work part-time to suit their own lifestyles.
Compared to the past, I think that the environment and system in which designers are evaluated has become much better.
Could you tell us specifically about the changes in the evaluation system?
Previously, the evaluation format was one-directional from the supervisor, but now, through annual self-evaluation, I can appeal my contribution and achievements to the company. The skills and duties required for each grade, as well as the approximate annual salary, are disclosed and the criteria are clear, so I feel satisfied with the results of my evaluation. To achieve a higher grade, I need clear growth and contribution, and the ability to explain them, but I feel that the evaluation system is fair.
Evaluation presentations are taken seriously, even by board members
What are some of the issues you are currently working on at Cocone and what would you like to improve?
We now have issues regarding our response to the prolonged with-corona. It is mainly about onboarding and the need for voluntary communication.
Remote work, which started with the Corona Disaster, has many advantages, but at the same time, Cocone has always valued the fact that “something is born” when members gather together. Therefore, it is a challenge how to balance remote work and gathering of members. In particular, there is no precedent for onboarding new hires, so we are still exploring. For example, I gave a lecture for new graduates in April 2019, which was originally planned to be in a face-to-face lecture format. This was hastily switched to a fully remote web-based lecture. We made sure that everyone had a chance to speak and that we didn’t cram too much into the lecture, but it was frustrating to think that we could have conveyed our ideas more clearly in a face-to-face format. I was happy to hear the training director say, “That was a good lecture, thank you very much.
How about the issue of voluntary communication?
This may be an inherent issue, but I feel it even more so because of the remote environment. The item designers belong to a department called “Product Planning and Design,” but they are close to their bosses and naturally share problems and communicate with each other through morning meetings and extended chats. However, I want the next generation of members to be even more active and think “I am going to support Kokone and Pokecolo,” so I want them to be ambitious, have goals, and speak and communicate spontaneously. I think this is especially true because the core members who are active on the front lines have built up to date with such an attitude.
When the focus is on online communication, I feel how important it is to have “small talk” that we can usually do without being conscious of it, and I also feel the importance of face-to-face communication where I can see the “casual” expressions of people who are not speaking.
I spend my days facilitating meetings, etc., being aware of how to read the chatter and facial expressions in online meetings, and how to encourage the next generation of designers who will lead the future to speak up more actively.
First General Meeting Conducted Online Improves Employee Sense of Participation
An environment that encourages challenges.
You mentioned the evaluation system earlier. What kind of opportunities does Cocone offer to those who are self-motivated?
Yes, I am. At Cocone, you can seize any number of opportunities if you want to. In fact, some of our front-line designers are new graduates who have already made a name for themselves. They have the attitude to take chances on their own and have a firm understanding of their own strengths. Perhaps we have in common the fact that we believe that only we can bring out this ability and sensitivity, and we are paving the way for ourselves. Also, as I was impressed when I joined the company myself, the design environment is very well organized.
Could you be more specific?
I have a computer with high specs and two monitors available. I also have Adobe’s Creative Cloud installed, so I can always use the latest version of Photoshop, Illustrator, and Animate. I also remember I was happy that the pen tab was Intuos, which I personally like. And for hand-drawn illustrations, I can apply for and use CLIP STUDIO. It is not only a tool, but also an environment where I can concentrate on design. I used to design in between answering phone calls and taking care of general affairs at my previous job, so I feel it is wonderful to have an environment that allows me to concentrate on design.
It sounds like a fulfilling experience for you, and I’m glad that you were able to make your way up to the top designers in such a well-developed environment and with such good opportunities.
The year I moved to item design, we held Cocone’s first event to bring customers inside the company. I was in charge of the items distributed there, and I was really grateful for the opportunity. After that, I always paid attention to the reactions of customers through numbers and surveys to see what they wanted. I kept measuring the distance between me and the customers as I created items to see what would resonate with them. Gradually, I began to get a sense of what was going on, and the environment continued to allow me to take charge of art direction and “colony” design for ” Pokecolo and I was able to create hit items. As I did so, I became more and more precise, and I began to understand what would resonate even more with customers.
Fashion, interior design, colony, and new items continue to grow.
You have continued to produce hits in a good chain of events, haven’t you?
How about this? Isn’t it fresh? Through repeated trial and error, I have found that I am happy and enjoy the reactions of customers, and this is how I came to be here. I think that is how I have always talked with customers, listening carefully to their feedback, reading the numbers that appear as a result, and wanting to meet their expectations.
Let’s work together to deliver an application that resonates with customers full of sensitivity.
What kind of person do you want to work with and what kind of person is Cocone looking for?
First of all, you must be motivated and able to put that into action. As a designer, you should not only draw what you are instructed to draw, but also have the desire to give shape to your own sensibilities.
The team in charge of delivery close to the customer is eagerly looking for people who can work with attention to detail and care. Even if you are inexperienced, you will be fine as long as you have the right qualities! The delivery manager is a recently created position, but we expect that this position will help us increase the number of things that Cocone and Pokecolo can do in the future!
What is a Delivery Manager?
This is the work of organizing and converting illustrations of clothing, furniture, and other items drawn by designers into specialized data that can be displayed in apps .
We are looking forward to working with a sense of unity until the last moment of delivering services created with sensitivity and delivered to our customers with hospitality!
Cocone will continue to grow by flexibly facing business challenges. We hope that you will be able to demonstrate yourself at Cocone, where you will have many opportunities to utilize your strengths.
※This article is machine translated.