SONY

Ryoko Shimokawa

General Manager
Imaging Products & Solutions Business Group
Sony Corporation

The moment users say 'WOW' is when our wish come true.

Creating WOW Moments While Approaching Challenges with Passion

Mirrorless Alpha cameras and the VLOGCAM series, for which I have led the user interface (UI) team, are highly regarded and supported by photographers, video creators, and other users around the world. After multiple rounds of prototyping and user feedback, when a product is met with a "WOW" filled with emotion, the ideas which my colleagues and I have been striving towards come true. In the process of creating WOW moments, many of my supervisors, seniors, and colleagues openly accept proposals, provide various advice, participate in positive and lively discussions, and create an environment where we can challenge with passion and receive full support to "get things done" to the best of our ability. I believe that the result of this process is what creates the emotional WOW excitement from our users.

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Where Products That Create Emotion Are Born

I majored in information engineering for undergraduate and graduate school and studied software algorithm. As a student, I was impressed by Sony’s highly entertaining products, such as WALKMAN®, VAIO®, and AIBO™, and it has led me to where I am today. As my desire to create products that inspire people grow, Sony became the company where I wanted to work. During my job interview, I remember communicating my strong aspiration to create big-hit products, due partly to my youth. After joining the company and gaining various experiences, I came to understand how Sony created that excitement I had experienced as a student. I worked as a software engineer in the mobile business unit when joining the company and then transferred to the camera business unit through the internal job posting system, which allows personnel recruitment within the company. I still remember feeling excited about this new challenge. After the transfer, I continued to be in software development and was involved in projects to revamp and standardize the camera UI. Later, I participated in developing applications and cloud services that work in conjunction with cameras, and now I am leading the business of those services as General Manager.
Looking back on my career at Sony, I have had the opportunity to take on a new challenge every three to four years. Some projects were entirely new challenges, and sometimes roles or responsibilities that made me almost hesitate, but I always saw those opportunities as a chance for growth. Receiving tremendous support from my supervisors, seniors, and colleagues around me, whom I respected, I was always encouraged in every occasion. I am interested in various things, think and try things out for myself, and want to create something that has never existed in the world. I have grown professionally with the support of Sony's corporate culture and the people around me.

Valuing the diversity of team members and respecting each individual, I encourage everyone to fully showcase their talents.

Leading a Team That Values Diversity

From my position as the camera software development leader, I currently take on the role of business director, identifying markets and realizing new business. My team members have diverse interests and skills, and some members get tips from them. They show curiosity everywhere, not just in their work but also in their hobbies, the things they are good at, holiday activities, and daily life, and they gain inspiration from them. Seeing this up close is an amazing source of stimulation and energy. In a team of fascinating people, I value the diversity of team members and respect each individual so that they can maximize their talents. The most important thing to remember when building a team is that a member should be diverse. People often prefer those similar to themselves, but this does not lead to creative ideas, and innovation can only be born from diverse thoughts. Although members with different viewpoints often don’t match opinions, in many cases, each opinion is not necessarily wrong and simply speaks with its logic. At such times, I try to lead members to look in the same direction and move forward by organizing the discussion, aligning the awareness of the original purpose and goal, and unifying what is important.

Various Learning Opportunities and Growth

Having interest in art and graphic design, I studied them at a distance learning university and obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in 2020. At Sony, there are abundant opportunities for learning and growth outside of work. "PORT," a learning and sharing platform for employees, offers a variety of lectures, social events, and workshops, which are open to all employees. In addition, there are also many opportunities to deepen our learning by actively participating in academic and other conferences. By sharing the importance of learning and growing with my team members, I invite them to a place of learning where they may be interested. The knowledge I have gained about design thinking, artistic thinking, and customer experience value has been invaluable in my work. Actively sharing my discoveries and inspirations and discussing them with those around me, I often become aware of ways of thinking and seeing things that I had not initially recognized. I am grateful for the environment blessed with such voluntary and open learning.
I strongly hope to continue learning and growing with my colleagues, who are full of curiosity and rich in personality, and to continue to passionately challenge myself to deliver users with new and unprecedented WOW experiences that nobody has ever experienced.

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