Last September 12, at Han Kyung-chik Memorial Hall, SSU had a presidential lecture by Prof. Gary Hamel of London Business School. Prof. Hamel was named one of the 50 great scholars in the world by Harvard Business Review in 2011 and also “the best world business guru (specialist)” by Wall Street Journal in 2008. The theme of the lecture was “The Era of Creative Economies: What Is Indispensable to Making a Shift to an InnovativeManagement Paradigm?" He gave a detailed explanation of this using a lot of examples.
At 6 p.m., SSU professor Choi Jung-ill from the College of Business delivered a brief introduction of Prof.Gary Hamel, in which he talked about Prof. Hamel’s background and theory. He said that the main point of Prof. Hamel’s theory is“core ability.” This theory was published by Prof. Hamel and Prof. Prahalad at Michigan Business School in 1990. In the theory,they claimed that because today’s swift technological changes and excessive competition are making it hard to predict the world’s markets, companies should develop their own defining skills (e.g., Sony’s miniaturization skill, Honda’s engine skill, Wal-Mart’s powerful logistics system). Prof. Choi said that Prof. Hamel hopes that all the Soongsilians will become pioneers of creativity and change in the future. After Prof. Choi’s brief introduction, SSU President Hahn Hern-soo spoke and said that the reason that the school invited Gary Hamel had much to do with “Creative Economy,” the national agenda proposed by South Korean President Park Geun-hye. “Today’s global economy is no longer being driven by the knowledge-based industry but by the creative industry” he said. After SSU President Hahn’s address, Prof. Hamel took the stage. Prof. Hamel said that because of the highly developed network communication skills in the 21st century, it’s hard to predict which companies will go out of business. He said that if a company wants to survive, it should try to chase the latest trends and come up with innovative ideas. He also emphasized that a company should consider “how it can build an evolutionary advantage.” The key point is to change the social structure of the company.
Today, a lot of companies have confined their members within the pyramidshaped hierarchical structure. Although this pyramid structure activates capital and labor, in reality, it makes it hard for most of the employees to concentrate on their work. Prof. Hamel thus said that if a company wants to succeed, like Google or Facebook, it needs more than a few innovative ideas. To achieve this, the company needs a free and open down-up communication system. “Control and freedom are opposites, but both are needed to manage a company.
Changing a big company at once is hard, but it can try to change through a lot of progressive experiments.” After his lecture, ST interviewed some of the people in the audience regarding their reactions to the lecture. Kim Yu-ri (Electronic Engineering, 13) said, “I was surprised to hear that foreign companies have no name cards. In South Korea, the company hierarchy is emphasized. I therefore think that abolishing the company hierarchy is our first mission.” Kim Yoo-chan (company
staff, Hyundai Motors) said, “In our company, people are dissatisfied with the hierarchy, but nobody’s trying to address the problem. Prof. Hamel provided more details, such as how to become more innovative and creative. I also agree that the interchanging and sharing of ideas by the co-workers are the key towards big changes.”