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TOP PAGE > Press Room > 20 April, 2017

Workshift To Start Joint Research Project With Teikyo Univerisity

20 April, 2017

  Shibuya, Tokyo: On 1 April, 2017, a major Japanese global crowdsourcing platform Workshift Solutions, Co., Ltd. (Head Office: Shibuya, Tokyo, President & CEO: Shigenori Araki- herein “Workshift”) has started a joint research with Teikyo University (Itabashi, Tokyo, President: Yoshihito Okinaga- herein “Teikyo”).

  The research is to focus on the area which had been rarely studied within the nation, the correlation of corporate productivity of corporates and the usage of resources through crowdsourcing, by widening the research subject from the existing studies on freelancers to commercial organizations.
“Crowdsourcing” is the process by which the power of the many can be harnessed together on the internet to build and to innovate [Howe, J., 2008]. In Japan, the form of crowdsourcing has started in 2009, a model of which corporations post jobs online for skilled freelancers and/or those who have multiple jobs/side jobs in special fields to apply, with the form of short-term contract, not employment.
The domestic market for such contractual work is expected to expand to 295 billion yen in 2020 [Yano Research Institute, 2016]. Work Style Reform, the movement advocated by the Japanese government, has been focusing on “responding to the diminishing population and the diversification of work styles”.
Crowdsourcing and freelancing have been gaining interests from that perspective and as an answer to accommodate workers working from home and/or taking on multiple jobs. Thus, the government formed a study group on utilizing workforce through freelancing.
In March 2017, the government compiled a report praising the work style of freelancing as “an effective alternative from the standpoints of both corporations and the workforce”.
[Ministry of International Trade and Industry, 2017] Freelancing is expected to meet the needs of and to combat the challenges faced by the corporations, such as increasing productivity, and reducing costs. However, analyses of empirical data on these areas have been rarely conducted domestically.

Workshift has therefore launched a two-year research project, together with Professor Hodaka Nakanishi, the Deputy Head of Teikyo’s Technology Transfer Center and the Deputy Chairman of Japan Telework Association, through the likes of questionnaire to corporations and case studies from abroad.
The purpose of the research is to find the effectiveness for corporate management when crowdsourcing is used in today’s society with plunging birth rates, increasing number of ageing population, and a diminishing workforce.

In addition, the research will assess the pros and cons from the corporates’ perspective on the usage of crowdsourcing, particularly when work resources from abroad are introduced. The research will contribute to unveiling the effectiveness and the challenging factors for domestic corporations when using services provided through crowdsourcing platforms in the environment of scarce workforce.

Workshift was launched in February 2014 and has successfully grown by cultivating a network of more than 47 thousand skilled users from 145 countries around the world. Through crowdsourcing services, Workshift has been providing various services incuding market research, multi-lingual translation and web marketing, to clients such as local municipalities, major corporations and universities. Through the joint research, Workshift aims at indicating ways as a captain of the domestic crowdsourcing industry in light of the recent work style reform advocated by the Japanese government.

● Statement by Shigenori Araki, President & CEO, Workshift Solutions Co., Ltd.
Japan is expected to face a serious plunge in population. It is predicted that the total population will be less than 0.1 billion and the workforce will diminish by 40 percent of the current figure by 2053 [Nikkei Shimbun (Nikkei Newspaper), 2017].
Women and the elderies alike will be encouraged to join the labor force, as well as foreigners. The diversification of work styles has brought the utilization of freelancers to our attention and we believe reaching out to skilled professionals in other countries through internet and using crowdsourcing platforms will be one of the key solutions to the social challenges our nation is facing.
We will assess how the crowdsourcing service we provide will contribute to enhancing the corporate effectiveness through the joint research with Professor Nakanishi of Teikyo University.
We aim at introducing new ways of utilizing non-Japanese work force in our nation, which is not dependant on the physical presence of immigrants or foreign students.

■ Summary of the joint resesarch

Research Title
(Tentative) Impact on corporations of using crowdsourcing services and analysis of freelancers as contractors
Duration of Research
(Tentative) 2017/04/01 to 2019/03/31
Research Purpose
By understanding why corporates use crowdsourcing platforms, the research will help identifying both economic and social impacts crowdsourcing may contribute to, as well as attracting its acknowledgement within the society. Simultaneously, the research will contribute to the acknowledgment of services among the management of corporations by exhibiting its positive effect to the business operation.
Research Method
Questionnaire to companies using crowdsourcing services. Targeted companies will be approximately 100, both within and outside of Japan, and mainly customers of Workshift.

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