Ian Kitajima – Oceanit’s Jedi-in-training. Or at least that’s what it says on his social media accounts. His business card, however, contains only his name and contact information. Maybe it’s a Jedi mind trick? Or maybe he’s not so much about the titles. Maybe both. At Oceanit, Ian doesn’t like to limit himself to what he is supposed to do, but rather what he can do, acting as an influencer of ideas. Whether he’s introducing an interactive petting zoo for the office’s science and technology hub, or acting as head speaker for the new-age innovative practice of Design Thinking, Ian brings forth an out-of-the-box perspective to better advance systems and applications away from the norm.
Even so, this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t congratulate him on being one of the newest appointee on Hawaii’s Workforce Development Council (WDC)! A fitting place for a mind like his, the WDC serves as an advisory commission, aimed to improve training and education programs. Ian and his new council members will be responsible for creating state plans, advising the Government on policies and funding opportunities that addresses the needs of Hawaii’s workforce and economic development. “Ian is dedicated to bringing science and technology to humans and society. Education is an essential component,” says Dr. Patrick K. Sullivan, founder and CEO of Oceanit. “New ways to connect to the community through education is critical to work force development of the future. We are all very proud of Ian.”
For Ian, who has already influenced the application of Design Thinking to most of Hawai‘i high schools, this opportunity opens the door to further promote the necessary applications to upgrade the schooling systems, most notably in technology. “The question I am asked many times is ‘What jobs will you create for our kids?’ That’s a good question but I think a more powerful question is, ‘How might we empower students to create their own careers and or their own companies in a world that changes faster than we can adapt?’”
Jedi in training? There is some truth to that. But when will his status be changed to Obi-wan Kenobi?