Things have changed for Megumi Kijima ever since she stepped out of her comfort zone to welcome challenges that push her ahead of her capacity.
It has been approximately 20 years since Megumi Kijima had lived in a constant lull. All along, life was serene and consistent but deep down, she always felt that something was lacking. She knew she could do more much. Each time she looked back on her journey, she pondered over the potential differences she could have experienced if she had challenged herself more. She knew that if she wanted a dramatic transformation, she had to tone down her conservative mind and step out of her comfort zone. Kijima-san wanted to increase her value at the workplace and contribute more in her role as a product specialist.
And her chance appeared. When she saw the sign-ups for the DBIC (Digital Business Innovation Centre) Innovation Accelerator Program in Singapore, Kijima-san plucked up the courage to apply for the opportunity. Before she started on the program, she set 3 goals for herself — learning the ways of developing business models to contend with the lacklustre climate that her team faced, bettering her English and to find the missing piece to fill the gap that she had always felt.
Through DBIC, alongside the motivation of likeminded members, Kijima-san stepped out of her comfort zone. Having to independently manage the project she had initiated through a compressed timeline and resource constraints gave her “no time to hesitate”. The learning curve was in no doubt steep, but she experienced and now values the benefits of challenging herself.
When asked about the biggest change since the initiation of her project, Kijima-sanshared that it was her mindset. From one that was extremely cautious and conservative, she has learnt to take the plunge. “I just have to do this… what I set out to do.” There were many ups and downs as Kijima-san faced numerous rejections on her venture to seek collaborations and partnerships. Regardless, she stands strong with determination, sharing that she will continue to challenge and solve the problem issue that she is currently working on even when she returns to Japan. This is just the start of a greater movement.
Regardless, she was not alone. With the advice of Yoshi Mitsui, the Director of the DBIC Program and Akihiro Fukuda, the manager of the program, Kijima-san managed to narrow her problem down to a more specific issue to be worked on. The team has also helped in the development of a minimum viable product in English for display on the DBIC Demo Day on 18 October. Together with the other members of the program, who have been constantly supporting her endeavour, Kijima-san will be sharing her project at the DBIC Demo Day.
Having gone through numerous occasions where she was misunderstood over email, Kijima-san is working on a project that aims to provide guidance to Japanese users through contextual and emotional analysis. By bringing to light sensitive phrasings that might convey emotions like anger, Kijima-san’s solution will better workplace communications, especially in the Japanese context where politeness is particularly emphasised.
This post was written by Narcissa Koh, Content Strategist of DBIC.