NP Atobarai ("auto-payment" for B2C e-commerce), which started its service in 2002, is a risk-guaranteed payment service that is not bound by the conventional wisdom of payments, and it was unprecedented when introduced. Some even said it would never be possible. However, the service continues to expand after 17 years, and more than 16,500 mail-order operators have started using it.
The company is always looking one step ahead of the times and creating the "next obvious thing." The company is also actively working to improve organizational issues. While taking various measures, they officially introduced Scrapbox as a documentation tool to be used internally in July 2019.
Why did the company choose Scrapbox among its many tools? Also, what kind of efforts have been made to spread Scrapbox in the company?
We will talk with Tomoki Sawada of the Data Science Group who proposed and promoted the introduction of Scrapbox, and Kaoru Tsuboya, who joined the company as an intern since last year and is currently training as a new staff member this year.
Scrapbox was the best match for knowledge management in a young organization with an increasing number of staff.
Your company just recently introduced Scrapbox officially, right?
Sawada: Yes, from this month (July 2019), I signed a contract for 273 accounts, which includes 160 full-time employees and some contractors. I first learned about Scrapbox in October of last year. Two months after I made the decision to implement it, we reached company-wide use.
Please tell us why you wanted to introduce Scrapbox in your company.
Sawada: In a nutshell, “to accumulate in-house knowledge.” Our company is a young organization with an average age of employees of about 28 years old. For example, I am already a senior leader in my 4th year after joining the company. Information is frequently exchanged very quickly, and useful knowledge gained is passed on to other people. In this way, all employees can consider the management strategy and handle everything from planning and management. As a growing organization, each person has a very wide range of work, and there is a wide variety of knowledge to be learned. There is a big difference in the quality of work between those who can obtain information and those who do not, and personal knowledge can be used as property of the company. It was an urgent need for us to scale up our business in the future.
Your company's philosophy values deep communication between employees. From the atmosphere of the office, I can see a very open culture, but wasn't it difficult to solve the problem of how to accumulate knowledge?
Sawada: I always value communication. When I was planning, I held meetings many times and the young people learned the know-how from seniors. However, as the organization grew and the number of employees increased, I got too much information. The number of consultations is increasing, and the meeting schedule is filled up to two weeks ahead... This was the situation. Because of that we were searching for a tool for knowledge management that can assist meetings.
Got it. Did you try any tools other than Scrapbox?
Sawada: In order to enable online communication and knowledge accumulation at the same time, we considered introducing both a chat tool and a documentation tool. The chat tool was decided, and the documentation tool choice became Scrapbox. There was no other thing that beat these two combined... I tried lots of things with two of my coworkers.
Sawada: Many documentation tools have a one-way structure that is managed with directories, but when you want to share the collected information widely, it is more important to search than to organize information in a directory. It was ideal to have a structure that tags parallel information and searches all data crosswise instead of dividing by folders. It was also talked about whether to develop a tool that can be done in-house, but while thinking about the cost of maintenance and operation, I was caught in a stall and an engineer I know happened to post about Scrapbox on SNS, and I first learned of its existence. When I contacted . Nota Inc., they immediately came to explain it, and while listening to it, I said, "I want this" with our CTO Suzuki, it was decided almost immediately to introduce it. Then I became quite a big fan of Scrapbox.
Thank you very much. Sawada's feelings about Scrapbox are clear from the many Scrapbox stickers on their laptop (laughs).
It's used for meeting minutes, planning, documents, and task progress. Work became fun after introducing Scrapbox.
How is your company currently using Scrapbox?
Sawada: One is using it to record the meeting minutes. The minutes created in Scrapbox can be easily found by members who have not attended the meeting. This made it difficult for the project to proceed before but now it's possible for junior staff to search for and find meeting minutes on a similar agenda in Scrapbox and solve the issues themselves. It was hard to find before. Even if the minutes were recorded, I could not get information unless I actually attended the meeting. Thanks to Scrapbox, the number of meetings I needed to attend was drastically reduced.
Sawada: As another use, the Customer Success team uses Scrapbox for sharing work progress. The mission of this team is to support the introduction of services for active customers. We worked on sharing necessary tasks and having each person “defeat” them,, but it seems that the atmosphere has changed since the information became shared on Scrapbox. I heard that the work was fun because of the mood became like the “eve of the culture festival” where the team was excited as a whole.
So that's it. How do you use it in practice, Tsuboya?
Tsuboya: I mainly use it when creating minutes and plans. Since not only myself but many members write in Scrapbox, I often look at pages written by other members and often refer to them. You can pick up the knowledge of senior staff that someone asked instead, and it's easier to exchange information outside of meetings. It seems like the ease of writing in Scrapbox means there are many various kinds of knowledge accumulated.
Sawada: I feel that the quality of proposals has changed since Scrapbox, as it became an aid to check the proposals of my juniors. When I used another document tool, I had a lot of ideas. There were many well-organized plans and only carefully selected conclusions were written. With such contents, I cannot see the most important "thinking process" and I can not give feedback that any viewpoint is missing or insufficient. By adopting Scrapbox, which allows easy writing at the bullet level, we were able to visualize the thoughts of juniors and make appropriate points.
Adopted from the bottom up through new employees. What is the secret technique that spread Scrapbox smoothly?
When you introduce a new tool in a large organization like your company, there is always a backlash, but how did it go?
Sawada: I thought that the reaction would be quite large when I told him that "Scrapbox will be the standard tool for Net Protections" from the top down. Nonetheless, we absolutely wanted to use it, so we carefully considered our implementation strategy to minimize repulsion. I thought it would be impossible to "use it by all employees" if introduction failed once. Also, since Scrapbox is a tool with a feeling that isn't available in the world, I think that it will be used only as a memo pad unless you carefully convey its real value and use cases. As a result of my thoughts, at first I decided to invite new staff and student internships, and to introduce it from the bottom-up.
Why bottom-up instead of top-down? I think it seems faster to convince staff from above.
Sawada: Members who are more accustomed to conventional tools are more reluctant to change and the switching costs would be higher, so we decided to get new members to use it. In addition, we asked young people to use Scrapbox's "linking fun," and "the fun of finding new information." I first created about 300 pages of content for beginners such as tips and shortcuts.
I see. You mentioned earlier that you introduced a chat tool at the same time as Scrapbox, but what was the exact timing?
Sawada: I think that if you change two major tools used in your business at the same time, the repulsion of everyone will increase, so I asked most members to start using only the chat tool first. While preparing for Scrapbox, I always watch chat messages, and if anyone has any problems, I created a Scrapbox page to answer it and gave a link to gradually spread Scrapbox awareness. By adding more and more required information to Scrapbox, young people will be able to see Scrapbox and create plans with Scrapbox, and seniors who check it will have to see Scrapbox. I think it went pretty well (laughs).
That's a wonderful story. Mr. Tsuboya, what was your feeling when you first used Scrapbox?
Tsuboya: It was a very comfortable feeling from the beginning. I was a little surprised that there is no hierarchical structure, but it seems to be ike Wikipedia, which I used to use for link notation since I was a junior high school student, and it is rather easy to use as a knowledge management tool. I felt that I got used to it quickly and naturally. Now, when I find useful information in Scrapbox, I often send links to members by chat, and there is a lot of communication centered around it.
An ideal communication style was realized with Scrapbox.
Did your job change with the introduction of Scrapbox?
Sawada: Well, I think it's been a lot easier for me to work. Until now, when a junior asked me something, and when I answered it, I chose the language that suits that person. If there is a page related to Scrapbox, I will simply share the link. Once you answer with Scrapbox, that person will check Scrapbox the next time, and the cost of answering will drastically decrease. Since updating is easy, the amount and quality of information will increase as more people use Scrapbox. In addition, real-time collaboration is possible by updating from multiple accounts at the same time, such as minutes and sharing work progress. Our CEO, Shibata, often likens ideal communication to a park. Various people visit there at their favorite times and spend their time as they please. Children who meet for the first time start playing together, and people are naturally connected. I think the experience of using Scrapbox is exactly like the "park" that he imagines.
Finally, please tell us about the future prospects for using Scrapbox.
Sawada: From now on, I would like to use Scrapbox as a means to introduce our corporate philosophy and service contents to clients, not only for internal use, but for many people involved and developing various services. It is difficult to convey only one side so that the other can understand it. In the past, we often met and explained from various angles. By utilizing the Scrapbox link function, if we can create content that conveys everything in the structure of the company, the first contact with clients may change dramatically. We will continue trial and error while testing our hypotheses in the future, and we will make effective use of Scrapbox.
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.