Sometimes someone shows up with an idea that he or she has really put a lot of thought into and thinks is great but you don’t think so.
Yeah, that happens.
Uh-huh. You must have experienced that a lot, Miyamoto-san.
Oh, yeah. (laughs)
If you have a grasp of what works and what doesn’t, please tell me.
Sometimes they’re all fired up and present something that they have thought hard over and I pick it apart, suggesting what should really be done, and then they say, “Yes, I thought of that, and...” Those ideas tend to improve.
Oh, uh-huh. They’ve already thought about it the way you point out?
Yes, it did occur to them how it should go, but for some other reason, they decided against it. When they say, “We actually did that, but...” and they really have thought about it - it isn’t just an excuse - it gets better.
The right foundation was laid, but as the proposal came together...
Right. If the person vaguely knows that as they were making the presentation materials it somehow went off the rails, then it will be fine.
If you point out the way it should be and they can say, “That’s what we intended, but...” then it will go somewhere. On the other hand, when you point out how it should really go and they shoot back, “No, I don’t agree,” then that’s the end.
Oh, uh-huh. I see. In other words, a win-or-lose attitude about their idea is no good.
Rather, if they have a good idea, they should wrestle with it and see it through. And sometimes I wish they would depend on people like us more.
When you say, “I don’t agree,” then it ends before you can even properly come to grips with it.
So in terms of product theory, take food, for example. There are things you love, but which have their flaws. Like yakisoba (fried noodles) that’s got burnt bits in it. If a big company were to bring out yakisoba, they would talk about how it mustn’t be burnt.
A rigid conversation ends with the conclusion that yakisoba must never be burnt. But when you keep the conversation rolling, someone says, “It’s inexplicable, but that burntness is fragrant and tasty.”
Then you can say, “Well, how should we handle the burnt part?” and pass it to someone else. But when you follow strict product guidelines in a meeting, you just lop off every imperfection.
Yes, that’s how it goes.
If you don’t get past “Yes, that’s right,” that’s what happens.
Because something without flaws is without character.
Ah, that’s right.
It doesn’t bear its creator’s imprint or have any personality.
So when you talk to that person about the burnt parts, if they won’t admit what you say, there’s no moving forward.
Yes, that’s right.
But when the conversation continues with, “Yeah, I know, but the complication is...” then you can discuss ideas for working it out.
Then you finally get around to hashing out ideas.
Sometimes they think, “This is what I really think, but society or the company won’t allow it!” So all you have to say at first is, “Yes, we will.”
Right. This has actually happened in meetings. I’ll ask Iwata-san, “That isn’t against company policy, is it?” and he’ll say, “No, I’m not saying that.” Then the discussion can move on to the next level.
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