Middle School Students Experience Being “Business Producers”: DI’s Social Contribution to Children’s Future

Dream Incubator (DI) Tokyo was thrilled to host a group of 3rd-year students from Oyugakuen Joshi Junior High School in Setagaya, Tokyo, on July 14, 2023. The students embarked on a journey to uncover the impactful world of “business producers” dedicated to shaping and transforming society. Engaging with industry professionals through insightful lectures and group discussions, both the students and DI’s team experienced a day filled with mutual inspiration and learning. This article captures the compelling dynamics and insightful revelations from this unique interaction.

Why Visit DI for Workplace Experience? 

In recent years, there has been a noticeable trend towards enhancing school curricula with a focus on “career education.” In line with this, third-year students at Oyugakuen Joshi Junior High School have been actively immersing themselves in activities centered around the theme of “occupation.” This includes a thorough exploration of diverse professions, firsthand dialogue with professionals in various fields, grasping the significance and impact of work, and laying the groundwork for contemplating their future career paths while envisioning themselves in those roles.

This endeavor culminated in the realization of a workplace visit, as the school’s enthusiasm to offer students an insight into “business production” converged with DI’s commitment to contribute to the future of children.

Middle School Students Express Interest in Consulting

The school’s workplace visits offer over 50 diverse destinations, encompassing embassies, IT companies, and even temples, providing a rich and varied curriculum that exposes students to a wide spectrum of “occupations.”

Students with an interest in consulting and those eager to understand the prerequisites for a career in consulting were given the chance to gain firsthand experience of DI as a “workplace” and insight into the work of “business producers.”

Initially, the students embarked on a tour of the office. In the open workspace, they engaged in discussions with employees about their respective roles and prior work experiences. This interaction revealed that DI attracts individuals with diverse backgrounds, including former employees of “railway companies” and “trading companies.”

The air was filled with surprised whispers such as “It’s intriguing how seemingly unrelated occupations are linked to consulting!” and “This job enables involvement across various industries, hence the diversity!” For students who had been captivated by the role of business producers, this experience marked a moment when their perceptions were evolving.

In the spacious and invigorating refreshment room, students were surprised to find a selection of coffee, snacks, and even free alcohol available for enjoyment after the workweek on Fridays. This revelation sparked excitement as they discovered a delightful and unexpected aspect of DI.

What Exactly is the Role of a Business Producer?

Next, Manager Yoshihara explained the business producer role undertaken by DI. “DI’s business production is about solving societal issues through business. To achieve this, it involves outlining significant strategies, engaging necessary stakeholders, and delivering results. This is what DI considers to be the job of a business producer.”

Essential Traits for Business Producers: What’s Needed?

Yoshihara explained the distinction between a Business Producer at DI and a consultant from another company. He elaborated, “While typical consultants propose strategies, DI’s Business Producers actually ‘do it together.’

In the case of a new business where currently no business exists, we ‘do it together’ to establish the business. As a prerequisite for this, it is necessary to be ‘1) positive and cheerful, 2) humble and sincere, and 3) have one’s intentions.”

Three main attractions of being a business producer were also highlighted by Yoshihara:

“The first is that projects are forward-thinking and encompass many significant themes. For instance, one can work on cutting-edge innovation and business models to improve the future 30 to 50 years from now.

The second is the opportunity for personal skill development and the ability to experience growth.

The third is the chance to connect with not only internal staff but also exceptional and passionate executives and business professionals, forming valuable partnerships.”

In response to students inquiring about the skills they should acquire, Yoshihara stressed, “This job starts with ‘having an interest’ in new and necessary things. Then, ‘thoroughly researching’ what you find intriguing is the foundation and strength of a Business Producer.”

He encouraged them to actively contemplate themselves as “actual players in business.”

Encouraging Real Consideration of “Business Strategies”

Next, students moved on to a group discussion with the challenge theme of “Developing strategies to increase sales at convenience stores.”

All students were divided into groups led by DI’s young Business Producers. The groups first dissected the convenience store sales structure, discussed what new measures could be taken, and summarized their findings on slides within a time limit of one hour!

Boards were filled with ideas, personal experiences were shared to attempt solutions, and approaches varied within each group as they refined their ideas while incorporating the input of Business Producers. As the discussions progressed, the initial tension gave way to fervent and engaging exchanges.

Presenting Strategies with Junior High Schoolers’ Unique Ideas!

Numerous distinctive ideas and perspectives unique to junior high school students were generated, sparking an engaging discussion. These included concepts like tailoring services to students with reduced nighttime usage, focusing on customer attraction rather than raising unit prices, and establishing smoking areas exclusively for in-store tobacco purchases.

After each team’s presentation, involved Business Producers offered comprehensive evaluations and customer-centric advice.

Insights from Experiencing the Role of a Business Producer

With the actual strategic planning, the workplace visit provided a real-life learning experience on the perspectives of running a convenience store and the necessary steps and mindset for creating businesses. As each group presented their proposals, the students listened attentively, reflecting on their ideas, thoughts they might have missed, aspects needing further exploration, and key points of interest. Their expressions while discussing were slightly different compared to when the office tour began.

Student A shared, “I recognized the intellectual challenge of ‘selling’ a ‘strategy’ as a profession, and despite initially finding it daunting, I also felt the thrill of creating something new.”

Student B expressed, “Understanding that business strategies permeate aspects of life we often overlook has made me more conscientious about them in my future pursuits.”

Student C conveyed, “The role of a business producer appears highly fulfilling. I find the idea of autonomously exploring various large-scale issues to be genuinely enjoyable. In the future, when I observe the introduction of new services or products, I would like to ponder the reasoning behind such approaches.”

Hoping to Contribute to the Future of Children

A business producer serves as more than just a liaison between companies and society. They also engage with various businesses and, at times, governments to tackle specific issues, working collaboratively from inception to completion. Our firsthand experience alongside active business producers enabled us to communicate the importance and value of the work in which DI is engaged.

We trust that this visit to the workplace will inspire the students to reflect on their futures and invigorate their considerations on how they can contribute to making the world a better place.

We extend our gratitude to all the students from Oyugakuen Joshi Junior High School for their participation.