"People always ask us whether we take risks on purpose. But to us, we don’t really take risks – we just keep trying new things."
- Shinya Takahashi on how innovation is a byproduct of Nintendo's work culture.
Nintendo is often praised for designing innovative hardware and software, with the Nintendo Labo being the company's latest product to take the market by storm.
In an interview with The Guardian, Takahashi discusses the design philosophy held at Nintendo, citing a desire to surprise players as a motivating factor in driving innovation. "It’s not that we’re consciously trying to innovate; we’re trying to find ways to make people happy," he says. "The result is that we come up with things other people have not done.”
Although Nintendo is notorious for being secretive over their work culture, Takahashi stresses that ideas come first in the creative process. "In many cases, we begin by assigning a small group to a project; not necessarily senior staff, but developers, to try and come up with ideas. Those lead to the end product," he explains.
Super Mario Odyssey was the result of many different ideas put together to make a single product. "Naturally during the course of early development, we find the right mission for each project. I believe every game has a different mission."
This approach to design is dependent on hiring fresh talent. “The Japanese hiring system is different from western companies. Typically in Japan, we hire people straight out of college,” Takahashi explains. "How they kept their focus, what they thought throughout those years … that’s what important to me."
Be sure to read the entire piece over at The Guardian, where Takahashi also elaborates on the conception of the Nintendo Labo.