Work Anniversary Musings: 1 Year at Indegene

20 Dec 2021
Work Anniversary Musings: 1 Year at Indegene

I recently celebrated my first-year work anniversary at Indegene. It seemed like a good time to look back on my journey thus far and the road ahead.  

I am a native of Singapore and had been working in advertising for close to a decade, when it became harder to ignore my growing restlessness. Singapore is a small country, and within advertising, I knew that the path ahead was already set. I was an Art Director and could climb up the ladder to become a Creative Director and settle into a life that was predictable and routine. I did not want that for myself as I wanted to travel, to challenge myself and look beyond advertising.  

Japan is a country I had visited many times earlier and had always enjoyed coming here. And as I looked to move, it seemed like a good choice. It also came with the challenge I was seeking, be it cultural or language. So, 5 years ago, I moved to Japan to join a Japanese product company as a product designer dealing with advanced analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) technology. And from there, I stepped into the healthcare industry by joining Indegene. 

I am often asked why I made a shift from advertising to healthcare sector. As I had grown tired of advertising and pushing products to consumers constantly, I felt that my personality rebelled against promoting a product or service which I did not believe in. However, healthcare sector was different.  

Of course, here too, we promote medicine and drugs, but these are of value to people. They are not random promotions and that resonates with me. It is a long road from product developments and trials and eventually to take them to the market. You will never see the instant gratification that comes from running say, an advertising campaign for a consumer product. There are so many steps involved, each requiring different expertise and different strategies and a lot of regulation that varies from one country to another. I find these to be interesting challenges.  

As an industry, healthcare may not have the glamour and excitement that advertising offers, but it is far more purposeful. I am eager to tap into the global network that Indegene offers me. I look forward to working on projects across the globe and collaborating with colleagues across other offices. As an outsider in Japan, familiar with the culture here and familiar with how things work here and outside Japan, I can understand both sides and bridge the divide. In India or the West, a few minutes delay is easily excused, but the Japanese will frown upon even a one-minute delay at a meeting. These are small things, but they too make my workday interesting, as I balance teams from different cultures.  

Even as we build our team here, I have caught myself wearing many hats, dabbling in everything from account management, delivery management, and project coordination. It has been the best opportunity to work in areas I had little experience in, and to learn different aspects of the business rather than only focus on one department.  

My initial apprehensions did not last very long, and I work with colleagues from all over the world. The level of expertise and knowledge within healthcare industry is easily and readily available here in Indegene. I greatly enjoy this opportunity to learn. Recently, a client needed help in implementing a project management tool. It is not our area of work, but the client requested for my assistance, and I did not want to refuse. So, I reached out to the Business Excellence team, being aware of existing project management team within it. The expert who came forward to support my request was so knowledgeable and was able to help the client beyond what was expected. These opportunities make my work interesting and extremely fulfilling.  

Indegene, Japan, is being built on the same ethos. We are trying to form a solid base and are putting in a lot of effort in hiring resources. We have made some very good hires. It is a good time, I would say, to join the team, as we are still in our early days and there is room to contribute toward building a strong team, with high caliber of talent. It is an opportunity for those willing to move beyond the traditional ways of working in Japan. Here, we are more ambitious and with a global outlook, we excite those who are ready and willing to embrace this way of working.