Global Insights for Local Impact: Learning from Toshihiro Nakamura’s Journey

img Jey Bukitvista | November 30, 2023

Hello, I’m Jey, currently interning with the Human Resource team at Bukit Vista. You might have come across my previous blog posts and articles, where I’ve shared insights about our company culture and stories from our dedicated employees. Today, I’m excited to introduce you to one of the inspiring speakers from our recents All Hands meeting on November 28th, 2023 – Toshihiro (Toshi) Nakamura, Co-Founder and CEO of Kopernik.


Our inspirational speaker Toshihiro (Toshi). Source:

As the most innovative hospitality company based in Bali, we continually seek inspiration and knowledge from global visionaries. Recently, we had the privilege of hosting Toshihiro (Toshi) Nakamura, , at our All Hands meeting. His insights into international development, leadership, and the power of technology in uplifting communities are particularly resonant with our ethos at Bukit Vista.

Transformative Experiences in Global Development

In the sphere of global development, few experiences are as transformative as those encountered in the challenging environments of countries like Sierra Leone. Toshihiro Nakamura’s tenure there with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) presented a stark contrast to his previous roles, deeply influencing his perspective on effective development strategies.

A brief of Toshi’s career journey. Source:

During his time in Sierra Leone, Toshi was confronted with the harsh realities of a nation grappling with extreme poverty, ranked 170 out of 173 countries in the Human Development Index. The life expectancy was alarmingly low, and the infrastructural and governmental systems were rudimentary. This setting provided a unique backdrop for understanding the intricacies of developmental work.

Toshi realized the limitations of relying solely on traditional governmental avenues for change. In Sierra Leone, the UN’s approach was centered on empowering the government for long-term development. However, Toshi noticed that in certain situations, especially where immediate action was needed, working outside the governmental framework was more effective. This was a pivotal realization, highlighting the need for agile, innovative solutions that could be rapidly deployed to address urgent community needs.

Nurturing Diverse Partnerships

In the realm of creating and sustaining partnerships, Toshihiro Nakamura’s strategy at Kopernik is a testament to the power of diversity and inclusivity. His approach to assembling teams with diverse backgrounds, ranging from engineering to economics, is not just a practice but a philosophy that drives innovation and understanding in a global context.

At Kopernik, diversity is more than a buzzword; it’s a strategic asset. Toshi emphasized how different perspectives and areas of expertise contribute to a more holistic understanding of the problems they tackle. This multidisciplinary approach allows Kopernik to communicate effectively and empathetically with a wide range of partners, from grassroots organizations to global corporations.

Toshi answering one of the question about his leadership. Source:

For us at Bukit Vista, this strategy is particularly relevant. In managing relationships with over 150 unique property owners, we encounter a vast array of perspectives, expectations, and cultural nuances. Emulating Toshi’s approach, we strive to build a team as diverse as our clientele and partners. By doing so, we ensure that our solutions and services are not only innovative but also culturally sensitive and tailored to the unique needs of each property owner and guest.

Ingraining Respect and Inclusivity

Toshi’s commitment to valuing every team member’s opinion, regardless of their role or seniority, is a cornerstone of his leadership and organizational culture. This ethos of respect and inclusivity is integral to fostering a collaborative and innovative environment, where ideas can flow freely, and solutions can be developed from a variety of viewpoints.

At Bukit Vista, we resonate with this philosophy. Our commitment to respecting diverse backgrounds is not just about fairness; it’s about embracing a wealth of ideas and experiences that enrich our service delivery. In our day-to-day operations, this means actively listening to the insights of our team members, whether they are in data science, UI/UX, hospitality operations, or property management. It’s about creating an environment where every voice is heard and valued.

This culture of inclusivity extends to our interactions with property owners and guests. By understanding and respecting their diverse backgrounds, we are better positioned to meet their needs and exceed their expectations. It’s a continuous learning process, one that involves adapting to different cultural norms, expectations, and communication styles.

Rational Solutions and Emotional Intelligence

Toshihiro Nakamura’s narrative about the cacao bean fermentation technique in a local community is a compelling example of the delicate balance between rational, scientific solutions and the emotional or spiritual needs of a community. This story is particularly relevant to us at Bukit Vista, as it echoes the complexities we face in our interactions with property owners and guests of diverse cultural backgrounds.

Kopernik Last Mile Consulting team. Source:
Kopernik market research and prototype testing. Source:

Toshi’s experience in introducing a well-researched, scientifically sound fermentation method faced unexpected resistance, not due to its technical inefficiency, but because it did not align with the community’s established practices and beliefs. This scenario illustrates a critical lesson: the success of a solution is not solely determined by its rational basis but also by how it resonates with the people it is intended to serve.

In the context of our work at Bukit Vista, this insight is invaluable. As we engage with property owners and guests from various nationalities and cultures, we are constantly reminded that our solutions must be empathetic and culturally sensitive. It’s not just about providing state-of-the-art technology or the most efficient systems; it’s about understanding the emotional and cultural nuances that influence how these solutions are received and integrated into their lives.

Learning from Challenges: The Cacao Fermentation Insight

Delving deeper into the cacao fermentation case, Toshi shared how his team’s failure to implement the new technique served as a profound learning experience. It was a reminder that local wisdom and practices, honed over generations, often contain invaluable insights that cannot be overlooked. This lesson in humility and respect for local knowledge is directly applicable to our operations at Bukit Vista.

Our CEO, Jing, asking Toshi a question about his innovations. Source:

As we interact with a diverse array of property owners, each with their unique approaches and understandings of hospitality, we recognize the importance of aligning our technological and operational innovations with their individual needs and preferences. This means not imposing one-size-fits-all solutions but rather co-creating and adapting our strategies in collaboration with our partners.

Moreover, Toshi’s experience reinforces the idea that effective problem-solving requires a blend of logical thinking and emotional intelligence. In our quest to enhance guest satisfaction and partner relations, we strive to listen actively, empathize with their concerns, and tailor our services to not only meet but exceed their expectations.


Toshihiro Nakamura’s journey offers invaluable lessons in embracing diversity, thinking innovatively, and leading with empathy. His experiences serve as a guiding light for all striving to make a positive difference in the world, reminding us that the most effective solutions come from a blend of rational thinking, emotional intelligence, and a deep respect for cultural diversity.

Embrace his principles in your own work or community. Seek out opportunities to innovate, collaborate across disciplines, and approach problems with a blend of rationality and emotional understanding. If you’re inspired by Toshi’s journey and interested in reading more about inspirational figures, visit our All Hands page. Together, we can create impactful solutions for a better future.

Compare listings

💬 Need help?
Scan the code