Loilo made tacit knowledge accessible
Loilo develops lesson support tools for education such as Loilo Note.
Loilo note has been introduced in more than 1000 public and private elementary schools, junior high schools, high schools, universities and cram schools to support the creativity, thinking and presentations of children. This time, we interviewed their CEO, Koji Sugiyama. All quotes are attributed to him.
Developed video editing software as a hobby during the game programmer era
Originally, I was developing a game for arcades at Namco as a game programmer. My brother (our Director) was working as a designer at SEGA. We were doing VJing (video jockeying) together as a hobby, so I often made videos. We've been making video footage since the first Power Mac came out, and making footage at that time was very difficult.
Actually, video editing and image processing are the same as game calculation methods. Since I was developing a game, I always thought, “While the game can operate in real time, video editing is much heavier. What's the difference?” The game uses a dedicated image processing chip called a GPU, and I thought that general-purpose image processing and video editing would be faster if the GPU were used. In order to prove it, we decided to develop the video software we use for VJ.ing We improved it, changed the route to a general-purpose video editing software, applied for a patent, and it was accepted. LoiLo Co., Ltd. was created as a company to develops and sell that software.
From video editing software to educational support applications
The video editing software we were developing, LoiLoScope, was intuitive to use and overwhelmed the image of conventional video editing software. Thankfully, we received a lot of inquiries and decided to develop a video editing application for children at an event sponsored by NHK's educational program. This was the catalyst for turning our attention to the education industry.
At that time, smartphones and tablets were beginning to become popular, so we set about developing an editing app that students could use on tablets. While trying out this editing app on a trial basis by a school teacher, I found that it could be used as a teaching material for lessons rather than video editing. For example, in a Japanese language class, a student collects and considers materials with this app for the task of "connecting the subject and predicate to make a sentence". It is also used to create presentations for use in classes because it allows you to easily combine photos, videos, and text into videos.
Inspired by how teachers and students used it, we improved the video editing app and released it in 2013 as a kind of future stationery app. That is the "Loilonaut School," where we are putting most of our effort. After that, we also made applications for Windows, Android, and Chromebooks, and are currently used in classrooms at over 1000 schools. We are a top runner in this field.
Introducing Scrapbox to share in-house know-how
I started using Scrapbox in earnest about a year ago, and I started using it to describe the know-how for new employees.
I used to share information with another document tool before, but I could only see it at the moment I wrote it, and it became buried when the information increased. Besides, it is difficult to add a link that cannot be found by searching. I had the impression that it was difficult to use for accumulating knowledge.
The tacit knowledge of individuals is naturally documented and shared within the company
At first, we created content specifically for sharing know-how, just as we did with conventional information sharing tools. However, recently, engineers are gradually adding their own work notes and investigation results more. Technical information that was only tacitly known until now is being written and shared internally within the company.
I think it's great that you don't have to put extra effort into maintaining internal blogs and documents.
Produce constructive suggestions and discussions among staff
For example, when one engineer was writing a memorandum, such as "finding the cause of a bad server," another engineer who saw it made a constructive suggestion.
I feel that we have created a culture in which constructive discussions are created by having a place called Scrapbox where you can easily output ideas.
Use Scrapbox to evolve development ideas
Tracking bugs is a good feature on GitHub, but when I was working on a new feature, I felt it wasn't compatible. I wrote down what I noticed so far, but even if I noticed it, it was often that the idea of improvement did not come up and it just became buried.
Recently, in Scrapbox, I made a tag "#Contemplating" to clarify the problem I wanted to think about, and added ideas as I came up with them. In this way, I often wrote the thought "I can go with this specification", and when I saw it the next day, I thought "Aha"
I feel that it is very nice to be able to completely forget things and then see the idea again from an objective perspective.
If it a feature is just immediately released in its first form, it will be difficult to rework, and it's fun if I can evaluate the idea from multiple sides and develop the idea to a clear specification.
Used for feature review during development
I try to write down what I noticed when I did user testing myself like a feature review.
While developing new features, there are many things you might like to change or to consult about with an engineer. First I write them in Scrapbox as a functional review, explain the contents of the review together with the engineer, and then decide the plan "Let's do this next time".
It's good that you can repeat such things over and over and continue developing. It also naturally remains as a log, so it is possible to trace the reason why such specifications were made later.
This is a translation from the original interview in Japanese on September 5, 2018
Scrapbox lets you instantly capture and find knowhow at any scale, both solo and with a team.
You can rapidly capture things like notes, manuals, tasks, code, meeting minutes, and research results. All pages are automatically connected with bi-directional links, allowing you to seamlessly work across even tens of thousands of pages.