Towards achievement of Leave a Nest mission, Advancing Science and Technology for Global Happiness, we propose an innovative communication approach to encourage more people to initiate new things. “Science Bridge Communication”, a concept and soft skills to enable people to communicate beyond knowledge borders, create a bridge between different parties to generate new knowledge. We have been applying this principle of Bridge Communication to achieve sustainable development in the world. In this article, Dr. Kihoko Tokue. Head of Leave a Nest Asia (Managing Director, Leave a Nest Singapore Pte. Ltd.) and Mr. Abdul Hakim Bin Sahidi, newly appointed Director of Leave a Nest Malaysia Sdn. Bhd. will share the essences of bridge communication and how applicable it can be in the society for everyone.
First step is realizing the gap
Hakim : In Malaysia, I’ve seen many students find jobs which are not so relevant from what they have studied in universities. I feel that it is very difficult to pursue our vision or to find right place to continue our challenge. In Leave a Nest, we are collaborating with various partners such as schools, universities, corporates and government agencies to identify their vision and solve issues in the world together. Today I’d like to explore how we can share this knowledge with interested parties.?
Kihoko : That’s a good topic to cover. I’m curious as to how you found Science Bridge Communication as new member joining Leave a Nest 2 years ago. When I first joined Leave a Nest Co., Ltd., I was bit “skeptical” about usefulness of the program for non Japanese. I was proven wrong very quickly. Let me share my own experiences. I’ve been in field research about birds behavior for over 10 years, and honestly I was not really sure how knowledge as PhD holder can be utilized to contribute back to the society. The very first project after joining Leave a Nest, I realise the importance of bridging knowledge gap through science workshop project planning. Later I was assured that same principle can be applied for developing the program overseas too. In addition, internship students who joined our workshop commented they enjoyed Science Bridge Communication. I will not go into details but for the first workshop I used firefly as a study species. .
Hakim : That sounds fun exercise for children. I would love to find out about firefly.
Kihoko : Although the workshop was very simple one, I really wanted to tell difference of seeing and observing. And through developing this program for school children, I could learn a way to fill the gap between my message and expertise in Behavioral Biology to pique interest of young researchers.
Hakim : I see. In my case, I learned another thing from school children. The first workshop I conducted was at KLESF (Kuala Lumpur Engineering Science Fair) in 2016 with a Malaysian IT startup called Brain Bites. The content was very new to feature Mathematics, to calculate Pi (π). Although we recommended young school children to join the workshop, we had 20 kids each time, ages varying from 9 to 16. But this was a key experience which forced me to change the way I talk to different background children. This made me realize that filling interests and knowledge gap can be the first step for us to attract more people join to achieve vision.
A missing piece to achieve your mission
Kihoko : Wow, Hakim you had such a wonderful experience early on.. It is indeed essence of bridge communication which we realise by interacting with children. This is exactly what the founders realized when they started science workshops as the first business. Then founders themselves as young researcher could gain some skills to share frontier scientific knowledges for children as future generation. Children are great teacher to adults since they show whether they understand, got interested in what you share via bridging knowledge gap.
Hakim : I heard that the program was certified by the Japanese government as well.
Kihoko : Yes, at the time they focus more on biotechnology, then Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry selected our “Bio Communicator training program” to apply for more young researchers. Around that time, government was trying to promote advanced biotechnology research such as gene modification but general public had difficulties understanding. So there was a huge needs in the society to produce more communicators who can bridge knowledge gap. After 10 years of experience and improvement, we have lecture line-ups, Leadership – Communication – Presentation – Writing – Management module.
Hakim : Now in Japan many universities and corporates are applying this training program?. I think I can localise the program and implement in Malaysia well.
Kihoko : That’s a really good idea. In Japan as examples, some of the major corporates in Engineering industry utilize this for all the freshmen training to share company vision and technologies, in hope that members learn how to communicate beyond their divisions. In universities, incubator managers invite us for entrepreneur course and business talk. I’m really counting on you and other Leave a Nest local members in Singapore, Malaysia to help me understand cultural background and needs to customize to suit the needs of South East Asia region.
Global issues can be solved by new generation communicator
Kihoko : Hakim, you are now focusing on finding and nurturing university based startups in Malaysia. What do you identify as the key challenges for researchers turned entrepreneurs??
Hakim : Well, in many cases, university researchers tend to bring hundreds of slides when they want to explain about their technology.
Kihoko : Guilty. As a researcher, we can never be satisfied with the amount of time given. We just want to keep talking about it. It is universal challenge in deed, same thing happening in Japan TECH PLANTER.
* TECH PLANTER is a Real-tech Seed Acceleration Program
Hakim : Through conversation in mentorings, we can understand their core technology and extract the message, vision they really want to deliver. Then we create business plan together,to bring potential business partners from industry. This is the value that Leave a Nest can provide through our program.
Kihoko : Can’t agree more. This is what I think, the key point for early startups especially in deep tech field is an ability to identify and share the vision of the team to the society. Once you have identified the quality question such as what kind of future you can imagine applying your core technology to provide solutions to the challenges will turn into great business as a result..
Hakim : True, I feel university incubators also need to change so that they can support startups to deliver it in easy to understand manner so that industry side can also imagine future vision with the startup.
Kihoko : Sometimes corporate partners side also don’t know how to communicate with startups because it’s difficult to identify the gap. And there will be more needs in corporate for open innovation and startup investment. As bridge communicators, what we do is identifying the knowledge gap, passion and mission through the dialogue with our partners. .
Hakim : With the core competence as bridge communicator, I really would like to help more startups in Asia to realize their mission. In turn I also accomplish mission of bringing good to the society through power of engineers. Well, ultimately, I think bridge communication means filling the knowledge gap to create better future, and this can be applied not only for startups, corporates but for university researchers, teachers and businessmen. For all in the world
Recent years in the world, many organization are expected to create something with partners beyond disciplines or organizations, such as joint R&D, new business collaboration, open innovation. Yet no one knows of the solution.We believe that our training program Science Bridge Communicator and its principle in bridge communication can be a new solution to encourage everyone to become key players to bring change to the world.