An interview with Delivery Manager Naoya Yoshizumi; a former prefecture government employee using his previous experience to promote municipal DX.
Position: Delivery Manager (public policy sector)
Started with Bespoke: February, 1 2022
As an employee of the prefectural government, Mr. Yoshizumi worked in welfare, civil engineering, and industrial support. With a desire to contribute to the local community, he moved to Bespoke, a field of IT in which he had no experience. In this interview, we ask Naoya Yoshizumi about why they made their decision and what makes their current job the most fulfilling for them.
So, let’s start with your decision to change careers into the IT field, a field in which you have no experience! What made you decide to change careers in the IT field?
Naoya Yoshizumi: When I was on secondment externally from the local government, I learned about Bespoke, and although the company is in the IT and AI fields, its focus is on local communities. I had no experience in the digital field, but I thought this was a way to contribute to the community, not only through government or public service.
Recently, there has been a nationwide movement toward IT, such as the Municipal DX and the Digital Rural City National Concept, and I felt that it was a very important aspect of my work in local government. So I decided to organize my career and what I could and could not do within the local government, and I felt that I had to take on a new challenge.
Why did you choose Bespoke out of all the IT companies?
NY: I chose Bespoke because I thought it was global, local, and had a lot of room for growth. We can provide services to anyone, anywhere, without having to focus on a specific region, and residents and citizens can benefit from our services. I believe that IT has a high affinity for solving local issues. Bespoke’s product (AI chatbot) is a perfect tool to bring out the charm of a region and communicate it to residents and tourists. This was also the reason I joined the company.
It sounds like your experience from your previous job will come in handy!
NY: Yes, it is. At first, I was worried about whether I would be able to make it at Bespoke, but I definitely think I have the advantage of being from the municipal government. Our experiences and thoughts on the future of digitalization are shared with local governments, and they have expressed their reassurance and support. I think engineers don’t know much about local governments at all, so I hope I can contribute in that way as well.
Furthermore, the chatbot collects data on residents, tourists, and other visitors, as well as trends and tendencies, which allows local governments to explain vague concepts with facts.
What is your role at Bespoke, Mr. Yoshizumi?
NY: In the position of Delivery Manager, I am in charge of product delivery for the Public Policy Department. I create the content of the chatbot while making proposals to the customer, especially the local government, to make it more tailored to their needs. Since I have worked for a local government for a long time, I have an understanding of its internal affairs and its problems, so I am finding that I can contribute actively in certain situations.
Furthermore, I work closely with engineers, so I have many opportunities to learn how the product works, how the process works, who on the team is working on it, how long it takes, etc.
Have there been any changes in your working environment?
NY: I am now fully remote. Currently, I live in the Kansai region and meet with my colleagues online every day. I also go to clients’ sites, but we primarily work together online. The way we work is dynamic, and it is very interesting to be able to move at the speed of a venture company, and the fact that we can move forward at our own discretion is also different from the past.
However, what we are doing is similar to what we have been doing in our organization. Each community must be understood, information must be shared within and outside of the organization, and solutions must be crafted. I felt that such problem-solving processes are common. Although the tools and teams have changed, I am convinced that people from local governments can play an active role in IT companies as the municipal DX continues to advance.
How do you feel about Bespoke’s appeal?
NY: Although our headquarters is in Tokyo, I am in Kansai, my boss is in Fukuoka, some of my colleagues live in India, and some are on the East Coast of the U.S. Remote work without leaving your region is now the standard. Tokyo is exciting and nice to visit occasionally, but I don’t want to live there every day [laughs]. When I first started working, I was worried about whether I would be able to get things done without meeting my coworkers face-to-face, but that has been resolved thanks to technology. In 10 or 20 years from now, there will surely be more companies and organizations that adopt this way of working. I feel that being able to experience this now will be very beneficial, not only in terms of experience, but also in the formation of my values.
As a prefectural government employee, I worked with people with similar objectives and attributes. As a result, I now work in an environment that is diverse. I am a former civil servant, my boss is from a think tank, my colleague is an engineer, and my immediate supervisor is an American. It is one of the attractive things about Bespoke that we can use our backgrounds in such an environment. I like that we are involved in local government DX and community affairs, so even if you come from a public service background like I do, you can still make use of your previous experience. And of course, I get to learn about new fields and expand my world every day!
What kind of human resources are you looking for now at Bespoke?
NY: The same thing used to happen to me, but I was hesitant because I thought, “My experience as a civil servant won’t translate elsewhere”, but that’s not true.
The more I realized about civil servants, the more I realized that they are highly skilled in basic writing, operating software, and explaining things.
Besides, local government and community members may not know anything about IT, but they understand the needs of residents and travelers. In contrast, IT companies may not know the local community, but they are capable of providing IT assistance. I felt that the local government’s manners were so specific that it was difficult for the IT side to approach them. If we can get a civil servant with a sense of the field to come in, he or she will be able to understand quickly and work smoothly.
As the mobility of human resources will increase more and more, I would love to have more colleagues from the civil service side to come to private IT companies (preferably Bespoke).
If you are from the local government and are interested, please feel free to contact me for a personal discussion!
Ladies and gentlemen! Let’s join together from all parts of Japan!
For more information about employment at Bespoke, please visit https://www.be-spoke.io/careers