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Office-centric in a COVID World + Big Events: News from Japan, Autumn 2021

The winds of change blow in autumn, we feel active, we get hungry. Japan calls these months shokuyoku-no-aki (autumn – the appetite season). This year, we’re especially hungry for change, and change is afoot!

Japan’s experienced a remarkable turnaround in COVID cases, down to a few dozen new daily cases in Tokyo after being in the thousands earlier in the year. So Sansan headquarters in Tokyo has evolved to a modern office-centric model.

We’ve also run major events and continue to develop a pioneering new school in the countryside. Here’s what we’re up to in relentlessly hungry pursuit of innovation.

Back to the office, for real

Office-centric is the post-COVID way of working that combines remote work with face-to-face communication. The office is the hub of activity as of November, but it’s balanced with remote work.

This improves productivity and creativity of the organization as we continue to realize our vision of “becoming business infrastructure”. Some need the face-to-face interaction more than others. Some have families and appreciate isolation to concentrate. We can thrive by catering to both!

Engineers and creatives can work 1 or 3 days/week from the office. By working remotely for development work and so on, they can concentrate on being more productive in their own way.

More customer-facing and heavy-interaction roles, like sales and business operations, can work 3 days at the office and the others remotely. The simple reality is that these folks see a certain increase in productivity in face-to-face collaboration. As a result, they can thrive in a combination of both in-person activity and remote work while still staying connected.

And one more thing…

We’ve taken on another floor in the beautiful Aoyama Oval Building, our main base, to maximize the productivity of those coming to the office. In addition to seminar space, we added a room for face-to-face meetings and interviews. So our HR can easily find new talent and get to know them in person.

With this new space and efficiency, we’re ramping up recruitment as we keep an eye on how the COVID situation unfolds over the colder months.

Kamiyama Marugoto National College of Design, Technology, and Entrepreneurship (Shikoku, Japan)

Sansan has been supporting development of the Kamiyama Marugoto National College of Design, Technology, and Entrepreneurship (details in English here). The school has now submitted its application for approval from the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), eyeing an April 2023 opening. And the application has been accepted.

This approval was needed to establish the school as a private technical college in Japan. The application requires lesson plans, preparation of the establishment fund, and recruitment of faculty members.

To date, the college has raised 2.1 billion yen (US$18.5 million), eclipsing the 1.7 billion yen needed to apply for approval, mainly through donations from 24 founding partners from 25 companies, using crowdfunding, and through the government’s special corporate hometown tax payments. A diverse array of 21 talented people have also been chosen as faculty candidates.

Sansan will continue to work to prepare for the opening of the school in the spring of 2023. This included continued fundraising to create a top-notch educational environment.

Japanese press release here.

Climbers online event features MLB stars and business celebs

Amid the rapidly changing business environment in the 2020s, the future is often uncertain. It’s not uncommon for businesspeople to face continual challenges they’ve never seen before. Sansan holds a number of business events to support businesspeople and help them with this transition and with vitalizing their companies.

From last year, Sansan started holding what we call Climbers events.

These offer special lectures on the lives of leading people from all walks of life. It’s a way to energize businesspeople facing uncertain futures and inspire them to face challenges.

Climbers has been held twice so far under the theme of “Overcoming,” with more than 14,000 people attending the first event and 30,000+ at the most recent one.

This year’s “Climbers 2021 – Autumn” was held November 11–14, 2021, welcoming 40 inspiring leaders from various fields to speak about their lives. They included pro athletes, celebrities, many noted business figures. Each took the stage to share stories of overcoming difficulties.

We regret that we cannot share recordings from this exclusive event, but the response was spectacular.

Sansan Innovation Summit, online again and bigger

Sansan Innovation Summit is Sansan’s premiere business event, and it used to be held in grand style in-person in Tokyo, annually, for Sansan users.

This year’s conference was for the 3rd time held under the theme “DX: Changing the Way We Work.” This even was also held online and attracted over 3,000 participants.

Eleven selected “Voyagers” (inspiring users of Sansan) shared how they use Sansan to create innovation, how they overcame implementation challenges, and the positive changes these innovations brought.

Keynote speeches included “Creating Our Future Through Digitization – The challenge of a society where no one is left behind” by the new minister of digital affairs, Professor Karen Makishima.

A session was held to showcase how we develop the Sansan product and other DX services that change how we work. We continue to push forward with this work and the results will show. Sansan continues to strive

Keep climbing! And stay hungry.

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