DV Faces: Takahiro Okada, Lead Product Manager, Tokyo
“In product management, collaboration is crucial.”
Meet the world-class talent building the game-changing businesses of the future.
At BCG Digital Ventures, we’re shaping tomorrow one game-changing venture at a time. From ideation to testing and launch, building game-changing businesses from the ground up takes a spectrum of different skills, a variety of expertise, and, of course, a lot of collaboration.
That’s where our talent comes in. BCGDV is home to a diverse community of high-caliber talent hailing from some of the most exciting companies around the world. Each of our multidisciplinary experts brings a wealth of knowledge and career experience, along with a unique perspective to each of our builds. Together, they’re creating innovative solutions to some of the world’s biggest challenges.
Our talent makes BCG Digital Ventures what it is today. In this series, we speak to our unique talents about their exciting career journeys, their unique BCGDV experiences, and why they’re passionate about creating the businesses that are changing the world.
BCGDV: Tell us about your unique background and journey that led you to BCGDV.
A: At BCG Digital Ventures, I’m what we call a “boomerang,” meaning I’ve joined the company twice. Prior to joining Digital Ventures for the first time, I worked as an engineer for Sony and a startup called Yukai Engineering. At Sony, I learned how to maximize the impact of my work on a global scale. At such a large company, the business processes were sophisticated and involved many people from many different departments. Yukai Engineering, on the other hand, was much smaller. Almost all my colleagues were engineers and we focused on product development. The startup culture was great, but I wanted to learn more about business and product development on a larger scale, so I joined Digital Ventures. I briefly left Digital Ventures to pursue global manufacturing, but returned as a Product Manager since I was craving a more multi-disciplinary environment.
BCGDV: Why did you choose a career at Digital Ventures?
A: Digital Ventures provided me with the opportunity to work with people from many different backgrounds. Working with such a diverse team has exposed me to new ways of thinking and taught me how to build products collaboratively. For example, as a Product Manager, I’m able to learn a lot about venture finance from my Venture Architect counterparts and BCG teammates. By combining these new insights with my product management skills, I’m able to build more cutting-edge products and ventures. Digital Ventures has also given me the chance to collaborate with global colleagues and work on international ventures outside of Japan.
BCGDV: Briefly describe your role and cohort at BCGDV.
A: Initially, I joined Digital Ventures’ Engineering cohort as an expert in IoT technology. In that role, my mission was to introduce venture teams to new perspectives on IoT tech during the innovation phase. I succeeded when I was able to expand a team’s point of view, leading to the creation of new IoT tech-based concepts and products.
As a boomerang, I returned to Digital Ventures as a Product Manager. In this role, I manage product builds with the General Manager, DV team members, and corporate partners. In product management, collaboration is crucial. While I love focusing on tech, it’s very important to collaborate with Venture Architects, Strategic Designers, and Experience Designers in order to maintain the equilibrium of a venture.
BCGDV: What is your proudest achievement during your time at BCGDV? Why?
A: In 2018, I founded Digital Ventures Tokyo’s Makers Club, a fun community where DVers are able to build products without any restrictions. I started the Makers Club to introduce Digital Ventures to open-source culture, wherein developers are able to build the products they want to build. Many Strategic Designers, Experience Designers, Engineers, and Operations team members were interested in the idea. We ended up building multiple products together, including a gaming machine that used cutting-edge drone technology. Of course, we didn’t have a budget for this project, so we internally crowd-funded and raised money for its development. We exhibited the game at Tokyo’s largest convention center and lots of children really enjoyed it.
The Makers Club allows us to test out cutting-edge tech and GRID in a low-risk environment so we can then use these tools more effectively in our ventures.
BCGDV: Tell us about a unique work opportunity you’ve had at BCGDV that you might not have anywhere else.
A: In 2018, I joined an incubation project with my Los Angeles colleagues. This venture was very special to me for two reasons:
First, it was a great chance to understand product development across different cultures. This cross-office venture brought together many people from various backgrounds, including DVers from New York and Sydney, BCGers from Singapore and LA, and a corporate client from Southeast Asia. We had plenty of opportunities to mingle in order to share our knowledge and better understand each other.
Second, combining digital and industrial categories, as we did with this venture, can be challenging. With this venture, we had the chance to visit real-world industrial sites and conduct our own ethnographic research. In the end, we were able to build the product from start to finish and deploy it, ourselves, on site.
BCGDV: How would you describe BCGDV’s culture? Why are you proud to be a DVer?
A: I think the best word to describe Digital Ventures’ culture is openness. Within our venture teams, we’re not tied to a cohort. Instead, we have conversations and make decisions as a team with respect to each other and our expertise. All team members focus on how to build successful, impactful products and ventures. There’s very little hierarchy. Everyone just wants to build an excellent product — that’s it!
To learn more about Product Management roles at BCG Digital Ventures, visit our Cohort page.
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