On January 15, 2009 Land Use Coordination Section Manager Sterling Bennett and Mark Fetters from Admin Services had the pleasure of meeting with Dr. Tomio Yoshikawa, Professor of Management and Information Systems at the Prefectural University of Hiroshima, Japan. Dr. Yoshikawa had been attending meetings in Seattle and asked to meet with BDS staff while he was in Portland briefly.
Dr. Yoshikawa was particularly interested in how BDS works with the various (and frequently competing) interests in the development process. He stated that the development process in Japan is more contentious, particularly regarding land use questions. He also had questions about BDS's annual customer survey as well as our chapter in the City Auditor's annual Service Efforts and Accomplishments (SEA) report.
Dr. Yoshikawa said that the SEA report is well-known in Japan among academics who study the development process, and Sterling and Mark were able to provide insight into the differences between data from the SEA survey, which involves citizens and businesses who may know little about BDS and our work, and data from our survey, which targets actual BDS customers.
The group met for about a half-hour and completed its time with an exchange of small gifts. It seemed that the time was profitable for Dr. Yoshikawa, and it was good for Sterling and Mark to hear another perspective on our work.
Portland has developed an international reputation for Planning and it appears our innovations in customer service and development review are drawing international attention as well.