Intercultural Communication Center (ICC)Waseda University


Participant Report: If you keep at it, you can change people’s thinking – Takeshi Yamada, teamLab

(image by teamLab)

Graduate School of Political Science

As I am sure many participants also feel, I believe that this event was way beyond initial expectations. On top of learning about teamLab itself, we had the chance to have a deep dive into the company’s work culture and understand the minds of creatives who keep on pushing the boundaries of what we consume as art today. The teamLab event provided by the ICC stimulated me more than any other event I have joined as a  graduate student so far. 

As I have been involved in artistic ventures and creative projects (drawing, film, media etc.) myself, I was interested in hearing from the members of this collective about their interpretation of the creation process and learning about creating art as a group. From the first few minutes I was exposed to the サービス精神 (service spirit) side of art, that the company embodied best. 

By sharing past projects teamLab has been involved in, Yamada-san shared with us teamLab’s creative process and rationale behind each creation: they start each product with a simple concept that is easily understandable and accessible to a wide range of people (children, adults and elders). It may sound easy but it isusually what those in arts and media struggle with the most. 

Personally, diving into teamLab was also a challenge to my belief system. As they do not follow the traditional hierarcharchical structure found in many  corporations, it was an opportunity for listeners, including me, to rethink the workspace (office, tools, people) and understand that there is more than one possible organizational model. This talk session updated my belief system, by exposing me to “new” offices and work ethics that teamLab promotes (Yamada-san kindly took the time to show us from his webcam their colorful and mobile office). I believe it will affect my career path in the coming years. 

My personal highlight of the event was to have the chance to “meet” Yamada-san and learn from him as a creator. On top of the fluidity and completeness of his presentation, Yamada-san embodied the attitude a professional creator has toward his craft. He explained to us how teamLab members always open themselves up to receive review, criticism and comment from others (even slides from his presentation for today were reviewed by one of his colleagues). It was a simple and crucial reminder for me for my own creative endeavors. 

Finally, I believe teamLab’s work culture is an embodiment of the creative process itself: repetition of trial and error and attention to detail, time invested in practice, all with the goal of creating the best result possible. The presentation and how he was able to adapt (switching languages, providing complete answers on the spot) were all admirable. We all had the chance to have in front of us not only a member of teamLab, but also a professional of his craft.  


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Mon, 08 Feb 2021

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