An abrupt start for the third project leader
“Say, Shigehara, would you mind being the project leader for the Birdhouse Project?” It was in October 2014 that Hiroki Shigehara, Principal Designer of Automobile Design of Honda R&D’s Automobile R&D Center, was approached by General Manager Yoshikazu Kigoshi. Shigehara, who was moving busily about the office, was flagged down by Kigoshi as they passed.
“He is always that way. He assigns important missions as if we’re talking by the water cooler,” says Shigehara.
The Birdhouse Project, a joint effort between Hello Woods and Honda Design, invites Honda designers to build birdhouses using wood thinnings from the extensive satoyama land managed by Hello Woods. The birdhouses are then set up in the forest at Hello Woods to provide valuable shelter for birds.
Shigehara knew of the project, but had never participated. Why Kigoshi had suddenly appointed him as project leader was anyone’s guess.
“I was concerned. How could I do a satisfactory job leading a project I knew little about, when I barely had enough time for my regular work as it was?” recalls Shigehara.
But there is no “can’t” in Honda culture. And Shigehara certainly didn’t want to turn down a request himself.
“Why, of course I will,” he replied.