The most difficult part of international collaboration with a client from overseas is how to manage the overall project.
An architect who is capable of constantly responding to meticulous requests from Japanese clients is capable of providing design and construction services in international projects. On the other hand, management of an international project is the most challenging work, and difficulties in communication due to cultural differences present many obstacles we have to overcome.
Because Japanese people have been customarily used to “unspoken communication” based on “tacit understanding”, many of them are not good at intercultural communication. It is understandable that some people prefer working with domestic clients who understand “unspoken communication” and concentrate their energy on improving the quality of work rather than working with clients who are difficult to communicate with. This kind of communication problem must be common to people in other countries, too. But what makes a big difference is whether such introverted communication attitude is publicly acknowledged and people can survive with such introverted communication ability.
Owing to such cultural backgrounds, very few small-sized architectural firms in Japan work with international clients. Only large-sized corporate architectural firms who economically benefit from such commissions are capable of implementing and managing international projects.
But why are we i-ado willing to undertake international projects?
Our answer to the question is simply “because we enjoy working with them.” To explain in more detail, the efforts to deepen mutual understanding beyond cultural differences urge us develop our abilities. They provide great opportunities to cultivate our senses while overcoming cultural gaps and friction.
It is the most valuable experience to open a door to the most challenging world beyond one’s ability. A man’s curiosity for the unknown knows no limits.