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Building Better Cultures

Hosted by Scott McInnes, founder of Inspiring Change, we talk to guests about how really good internal comms, engagement and leadership all contribute to 'Building Better Cultures'. We tend to shy away from theory and focus more on really practical advice, great stories and best-practice.

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Aug 2, 2021

At this point in the pandemic, none of us are strangers to change. But for Kyoko Minegishi, change has been the one and only constants in a life full of cross-cultural moves, varied leadership positions, and now spearheading a startup with an eye on the convergence of living spaces and robotics.

On this episode of the Building Better Cultures podcast, host Scott McInnes talks with Kyoko, the vice president of marketing for transformable furniture company Ori, about what forms change has taken in her own life, how change affects her teams, and why change is and always will be a driver of progress in company culture.

Kyoko began her career in the music industry, right when the traditional model of record companies and labels was making way for the digital age of streaming. She then spent time at Red Bull, helping transform the beverage company into the sports and adventure brand it’s known as today. Recently she landed at Ori, a startup bent on transforming the way we see and live in spaces through tech-driven furniture and architecture.

That’s a lot of change for one individual to manage, but Kyoko has used the changes to her advantage—driving the way she views company culture and creating effective communications both externally and internally. Throughout their conversation, Scott and Kyoko touch on how to maintain and enhance a culture of community despite the constraints of the pandemic, why companies need to maintain a constant level of engagement with their teams, and how poor internal communication can really hurt a company’s bottom line.

The episode wraps up with a look at hybrid work and how to build culture despite employees working from different locations. Kyoko believes listening to your employees and customizing communications to their needs and preferences is key to not only increased success and productivity, but also necessary for success in this new hybrid work world we’re all living in.

Key Takeaways:

  • An introduction to Kyoko and a look at her upbringing in the midst of constant change.
  • Kyoko’s journey from starting in the music industry and transforming Red Bull into a media business to landing at Ori, where she now helps people maximize and enhance spaces.
  • Kyoko’s thoughts on creating a culture of hyper-transformation at its core.
    • Culture is a nonnegotiable for Kyoko because it bonds a business and team together, and if there’s a lack of culture there’s a cost to the bottom line.
  • The sense of community in culture has suffered over the last 18 months of the pandemic.
  • Companies maintain a constant level of engagement with their employees—even in the presence of hybrid work models—through intentionality, flexibility, and creating meaningful moments, even online.
  • Kyoko’s transformation of Red Bull’s brand from a beverage company to a sports/adventure brand.
  • Kyoko’s keys to creating culture during her tenure at Red Bull:
    • Being intentional about bringing people together and creating a bond of community
    • Global conferences every year
    • Connecting with communities
    • Mix of people on teams
  • Red Bull’s high-octane energy externally was also true on the inside, and it was driven by passion.
  • The story-first approach and person-first approach Red Bull championed while Kyoko was there gave its individuals and teams “wings.”
  • Culture is all about people, according to Kyoko.
  • Poor internal communication can be detrimental to a company’s bottom line because change is constant and team members can get lost if comms are poor.
  • In order to communicate effectively, you need to ask yourself these two questions:
    • Who’s your audience and what’s their current reality?
    • What are you trying to actually achieve with that communication?
  • Poor internal communication is often due to a lack of follow-through when it comes to relaying a message.
  • Internal communications need to be paired with empathy and the correct tools to leverage that information into something useful and productive.
  • The most important thing in the current state of hybrid work we find ourselves in is being connected with the workforce you’re communicating with.
  • Kyoko believes it depends on the work and workforce to see whether hybrid work will be successful.
  • Customize for your audience to make sure whatever you’re relating to them is workable and effective.
  • Listening to your workforce about how you’re developing and progressing is crucial for success in this new hybrid work world.
  • Culture in startups is ignited by the founder and founding teams.
  • Kyoko’s current experience at Ori shows that behavior really brings to life the culture of the company.
  • It’s tricky to determine when to formalize and instill a cultural muscle into a startup to allow it to grow its own company culture.
  • Kyoko’s biggest drivers of culture: behavior and decision making.

About Kyoko Minegishi

LinkedIn: Kyoko Minegishi

Twitter:  @KY0_co

Ori website:

More about Scott:

Learn more about Scott McInnes, founder and director of Inspiring Change, by clicking here.

More about WorkVivo
To discover Workvivo, a workplace communication platform that offers seamless digital integration, please click here.