Chōwa: Inedo’s Business Culture of Balance

Inedo is entering a rapid growth phase and the change of pace requires a change in culture. Our founder and CEO, Alex Papadimoulis recognized that the skills he needed to start the business were not the same skills needed to grow the business. He embarked on a journey to develop the right culture to foster a safe space to encourage curiosity and spark inspiration. The result of his journey is Chōwa: Inedo’s Business Culture of Balance.

Chowa Book Sample

調 Chōwa /cho-wah/ n. formal / Written with the characters 調 (tone or tune) and 和 (peace or harmony), roughly translates to “natural balance”

Inedo has offices in the United States and Japan with plans to greatly expand our presence around the world. Chōwa allows that growth to happen. The three pillars of Chōwa are Keikaku, Shintaku, and Kaizen, each of which help Inedoins (our staff and partners) work in sync across vast distances, mindsets, and languages. Each value emphasizes our dedication both to employee independence, openness, and business-level success.

計画 Keikaku: The Value of Planning

/ kayee-kah-koo /  n. formal  / written with the characters (to plan or to measure) and (a picture), roughly translates to “planning.”

Keikaku is our project planning and management framework and is the backbone of Chōwa. It guides how Inedo does business across all levels of the organization, even down to the day-to-day operations. This is to ensure every action is connected to our goal to grow into a top-level market player. Keikaku makes sure that every action is clear, worth doing, and is “visible” to others.

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信託 Shintaku: The Value of Trust

/ shin-tah-koo /  n. formal  / written with the characters (faith) and (consign), roughly translates to both “trust” and “entrust” 

Shintaku is how we work together, and it guides our collective success. Shintaku operates at every level of Inedo—all Inedoins are responsible for ensuring mutual respect for autonomy, ideas, and initiative regardless of role at the company.

Shintaku is both earned and given. It is inherently relationship-building, which develops incrementally over time. For example, when you apply for a job at Inedo, we trust that your resume is true and accurate. You trust us to respect your time and have a good process for interviewing. When we offer the job, we trust that you have the tools and heart to do a great job. You accept the job offer because you trust we are a good company that can offer growth and learning opportunities. And the trust building continues from there.

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改善 Kaizen: The Value of Continuous Improvement

/ keye-zen /  n. formal  / written with the characters 改 (change) and 善 (good), roughly translates to “change for the better,” a term pioneered by Toyota

Kaizen is a simple concept originally developed by Toyota that revolutionized the way manufacturers saw and interacted with their employees. Kaizen is based on the idea that frontline workers, the people who are physically making the product understand the process best and, therefore have better ideas about potential problems or improvements. When these employees are given the freedom to speak up, the safety to criticize, and the greater picture of the company goals then the company is more competitive. Kaizen is the heart of Chōwa.

As a software development company, we think of Kaizen as the human side of continuous integration/continuous delivery. It encourages incremental improvements over sweeping changes. Small wins over big wins. Collaboration over isolation. It is Agile.

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Check out the Inedo Blog’s Chōwa series to learn even more.