Kazuhide Iwasaki

President and CEO of Z-UpResearch Co., Ltd.
Specialist in Industrial Designer Education

I am engaged in education and consulting to enhance technical and presentation skills for designers within various automotive and automotive product manufacturing companies. With nearly 40 years of industry experience, I have been part of the current company for over 20 years since its establishment.

Having spent 14 years as a designer at an automotive manufacturer, where I contributed to the design projects of large trucks, passenger cars, and new vehicle development, I transitioned to a new role driven by the aspiration to elevate my experiences and skills through the integration of 3D design and CGI. Pioneering the shift from analog to digital methods, I worked on projects for numerous automotive companies both domestically and internationally. Concurrently, I provided on-site consulting and training to numerous designers, initiated the Urban Design College, taught at Tama Art University and Tokyo Communication Art, and mentored many students.

Subsequently, to further advance research in the latest technologies, I transitioned to the consulting and education department of a CGI application sales company specializing in the automotive industry. During this time, I not only accumulated knowledge in CG technology and the latest technology research but also achieved sales that exceeded four times the average of other employees. However, there was a daily struggle with the unique emphasis on “numbers” over the actual growth of clients.

Motivated by this, I founded the current company in 2002 to realize the ideal service provider. Serving as a specialist supporting client projects with digital skills and dedicating efforts to educate and consult designers as a “missionary,” the company’s performance progressed smoothly. However, in September 2008, the Lehman shock posed a bankruptcy threat in the company’s seventh year. Losing all the projects previously commissioned and depleting all available funds within a year, the situation became critical.

Regardless of how much work was done for clients, the realization struck that “one cannot control the flow of the economy,” and simultaneously witnessed that “there is no future in hanging on the past.” This experience served as a catalyst, highlighting the need for continuous innovation and reform.

As a result, the ability to consistently explore new technologies and expertise beyond previous limits was regained, leading to a V-shaped recovery in the company’s performance.
Trust from business partners was obtained to a greater extent than before.

Presently, I consider it the company’s mission to leverage the flexibility of being a small organization for the collection, research, and development of expertise. Furthermore, it is crucial to impart this knowledge not only within the company but also to designers in the industry worldwide. By fostering a culture where designers’ expressive capabilities leap forward, companies can introduce better products to the world, contributing to the activation of society. While working behind the scenes, I am committed to ongoing innovation and reform for the benefit of our society.