It's important to move forward to the future rather than look back all the time at the past -- that's why the windshield is so much bigger than the rearview mirror. Let's create a better future! It's your turn now!
Associate Professor Tetsuya Toma
Former Advanced Product Development Specialist at 3M (US). Areas of expertise: Development of advanced communications systems for the broadband society and creation of markets. Extensive experience in project management overseas as a development engineer for a global company. Awarded numerous prizes for the marketing of products and their contributions to sales. PMP (Project Management Professional). Director for Education at the Japan Chapter of the Project Management Institute (PMI). Deputy Director at the Keio Photonics Research Institute (KPRI).
Using classes to communicate experiences in product development projects at a global company
"Project" is an oft-used word today, and we should probably step back and consider what exactly we mean by it. What is a "project," how does it move forward, and what are its objectives? Projects take place in constantly changing environments and may be confronted by many different phenomena as they progress. Managers need to understand the theory of how to achieve results within predetermined budgets and schedules, how to anticipate and deal with risk in advance, and how to adapt to changing circumstances. But it is not just theory alone; they must also be able to lead their teams. The SDM core subject "project management” is a practical class in how to do this and how to become that kind of leader. I hope that through the class I can impart some of my 20 years of experience in real-life product development projects at a global company.
I also teach electives on "human relations" that examines how people interact in organizations, including issues such as harassment and work/life balance. This is a discussion-based class in which we try to increase students' skills in tackling problems.
SDM's role in society, practical applications in the "Project Leader Training Course"
SDM's goal is to train the next generation of leaders. This is not limited to the people who enroll as full-time students. Two years ago, we began the "Project Leader Training Course" as a class open to the public that would help improve levels throughout society. It attracts mid-level employees working on a wide range of issues at a wide range of companies. One of our goals is to provide networking opportunities for participants who ordinarily have little chance to interact with people from other industries. As part of this, we hold a 5-day retreat in which we learn the practical skills required of leaders.
Day-to-day interaction with students
As an educator, I try to focus on the student's perspective rather than "teaching from on high." It's not so much "instruction" as it is "dialogue." I try not to tell students to do this or that. Instead, I want to be someone they can consult with as they try to determine, on their own, how to act. Sometimes students take the long way around; sometimes they make mistakes. I try to keep quiet and let them make their mistakes. Failure is the experience that leads to the greatest growth. But when people are only able to do what they are told, when they depend upon the instructions from others, they lose the ability to turn failure into something positive. If you think on your own and act on what you think is best, you will always move forward, because even if you fail, you will seek a solution. That kind of positivity is vital.
All students are welcome.
I basically welcome all students. Just as healthy people do not need doctors; talented people come out all right even if left to their own devices. The students who truly need education are those who think that they may be a little bit behind the curve, who are beset with unnecessary doubts and baggage. I cannot carry their burdens or heal their wounds, but I can give them encouragement and try to understand and work with their situations. That attitude, I believe, makes my seminars far more "bright and cheerful" than others. Or maybe the brightness is just because we study light (laughs).
Moving on to research, my laboratory handles a part of the studies conducted by the Keio Photonics Research Institute in the Faculty of Science and Technology. We use the Keio-original technology of "plastics that control light" and combine them with optical fibers and display materials to create a world of face-to-face communications where it truly appears as if the person is sitting right next to you.
The popular "Project Management Makeup" class (PMP test prep)
The "Project Management Makeup" (PMP test prep) is a new class that began in the spring of 2011 and has already become very popular with students. It provides support for students who are preparing to take the certification tests for "Project Management Professional" (PMP) or "Certified Associate in Project Management" (CAPM), both of which are publicly-recognized credentials of professional expertise in project management. We have already had many students pass the exams, which is itself a testament to the course's content.