An interview with Takashi Sasaki

About Takashi Sasaki

Takashi is a Partner at Infield Design, Japan. He joined infield design in 2005, bringing a rich experience of branding, marketing, and strategic planning. As a partner, he also manages the firm’s business development activities, public relations, and finance. Before joining the firm, Takashi spent five years engaged in start-up management in IT consultancy business. Throughout this period, he was heavily involved in business planning and development, corporate branding, and PR.

Prior to his entrepreneur career, Takashi worked for Coca-Cola Japan as a marketing manager, where he produced marketing initiatives for major sport events such as Olympic Games and World Cup. He started his career at GK as a graphic designer. He designed large-scale brand identity programs, major one of which is EUNOS, a dealer network for MAZDA. Takashi earned his MBA from Kelley School of Business, Indiana University Bloomington, and his BA in graphic design from Tama Art University.


Main points

  • When we started our company, we used to get a design brief on day 1 and then come with exciting findings from research. Clients usually said to us, “what are you talking about?”. We then realized it is hard to translate research results from one person to another.
  • We found that inviting clients to join us in field work is extremely helpful.
  • Ideation and documentation processes are also working well for us with stakeholders.
  • Our pitch for clients who ask to drop the research part of a design project is using the metaphor of a pilot asking to not use a navigation system before they take off.
  • Constructing a research question that challenges the norms or standards of your organization will always result in impactful research.
  • Luckily, we don’t have disrespectful clients who don’t understand the value of research. The practice of UX research in Japan is new so clients who approach us are convinced they need research.
  • At the end of a design or research process we collaboratively create a book with our stakeholders. A book summarizes and reflects on the project.
  • A book contains the entire set of deliverables from a project.
  • Everyone on the project writes the book. This makes clients engage with their achievements.
  • Writing professionally is not a goal. The goal is to learn collaboratively.