History makers

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#7 Johng-Ihl Lee from KOSIME

History makersㅣ2020-04-13 13:18

Johng-Ihl Lee, a professor of Department of Technology and Society and a Dean of Department of Planning and External Relations at SUNY Korea, serves as the director of KDI (International Business Administration) at SUNY Korea. He is one of the top experts in Korea who is proficient in both theory and practice of international cooperation and policy development.

In 2020, he was appointed as the 29th president of the Korean Society for Innovation Management and Economics (KOSIME). We recently spoke with Professor Johng-Ihl Lee, who will contribute to Korea’s technological and economic future.

What do you think about being inaugurated as the President of KOSIME in the era of the 4th Industrial Revolution and AI?

The biggest change that the 4th Industrial Revolution will fuel is the growing ambiguity between information providers and consumers. With the end of the period when countries and large corporations monopolized information, and the public, who was a unilateral information consumer, became more accessible, the situation in which better information was created faster than the existing suppliers began to become full-scale. The recent COVID-19 outbreak demonstrates that this trend is being strengthened and materialized. Facebook information or user-created programs are updated faster than government announcements. The situation would have been worse than now if the nation had monopolized and closed the information unilaterally, such as when cholera spread 50-60 years ago. The information related to the confirmed cases of COVID-19 was transparently shared with all the people, and the people also actively participated in keeping social distance, so the clues to the solution were caught. In other words, it is an era when problem solving depends on the sharing of information, not a handful of information. As the core technologies of the 4th Industrial Revolution such as IOT, AI, biotechnology, and robotics emerge, the methods of collecting opinions, solving problems, and creating values in all fields will structurally change and materialize.

The most urgent thing to do as president of the KOSIME in this period is to help enhance the competitiveness of science and technology, which has been the driving force for growth of our economy as well as our companies and universities in the midst of structural changes. In the period of structural transformation that has not been experienced as it is, we will do our best to promote the sharing of expertise and related information by collecting members' ideas in building a platform that prepares for the future by utilizing the strengths of the society rather than specific research projects.

What is the KOSIME doing? What role does it play in Korea?

The KOSIME 1) develops new theories and knowledge through interdisciplinary research on technological innovation to promote academic development, 2) presents effective management measures for technological innovation activities in industrial sites, 3) contributes to the establishment of national science and technology policy and technology development strategy. Wehave also been doing our best with the goal of new social reform led by science and technology. From the year when KOSIME was founded in 1992, this goal remains in effect.

We are making academic contributions through the Korean journal “Technology Innovation Research” published four times a year and the English journal AJTI (Asian Journal of Technology and Innovation) published three times a year. In addition, whenever various policy issues arise, diverse seminars and workshops are held to present political measures and help companies improve their technological strategy and management.

The purpose and role of the KOSIME is to lead science and technology-driven social reform by contributing to the establishment of science and technology policies and strategies for technological innovation. These strategies and policies are designed for enterprises and the aim is to foster development of convergence academics related to the real economy and technological innovation.

How are members of the KOSIME selected?

There are no special restrictions on becoming a member. Major members are professors, college students, researchers in science and technology-related research institutes, and those who work in related fields of business and government. There are currently 960 active members, 1,335 student members, and 160 lifetime members. In particular, as the size of our economy has grown and globalized, the participation of private companies and researchers has increased in recent years from the center of universities.

What does it mean to be the 29th President of the KOSIME?

For the past 30 years, our institute has been striving to cooperate with companies, universities, and research institutes to promote science and technology innovation activities and strengthen national competitiveness. At the beginning of the institute, the focus was on developing strategies and policies for obtaining core technologies, building a national innovation system in the 2000s, and converging technologies after 2010. Based on these experiences and achievements, I think it is time to focus on developing methodologies and policies to lead new technologies and related systems that will lead the global economy. As a group of experts majoring in business administration and economics, we want to strengthen the academic foundation and respond sensitively to the flow of the real economy. To this end, we will work closely with various domestic and foreign science and technology actors. In other words, I think it is my duty to serve as the president and representative of the society where I study to find a global-level strategy and policy suitable for the new science and technology paradigm.

What is your goal to achieve as president of the KOSIME during your term?

The KOSIME is a network of experts built on an academic basis. The president of the institute is not a politician, nor an entertainer. I think that my role is to establish a healthy foundation and a channel of communication for the national economy through constant communication across the social and cultural sectors. For example, if our nation needs a brick house, it is my job to bring one solid brick. When experts in each field, such as design, trenching, plastering, and electrical equipment, show their expertise, the academic house is built strong.

As you see in Samsung Electronics, BTS, and Parasites, Korea's manufacturing, music, and film industries have gained a global reputation and formed the so-called Korean Wave, but it is regrettable that there is no Korean Wave in the academic field yet. In this regard, my biggest goal as the president is “Internationalization of the KOISME,” which has been long discussed within the institute. Of course, I can't build a world-wide big house alone. However, I want to buy some good bricks for the house. In particular, the introduction and regularization of international academic conferences such as the introduction of English sessions, Korea-China-Japan academic conferences, and Korea-Vietnam joint academic conferences are the primary objectives. It is possible only in cooperation with the members of the institute and various actors in science and technology innovation.

In the past, what kind of work did you do as a director of the Korea Institute for Advancement of Technology (KIAT)? What was your history leading up to becoming Dean of Strategic Planning Team and professor at SUNY Korea?

The KIAT is the government's comprehensive technology support agency in charge of policy planning, technology commercialization, and international technology cooperation. In September 2012, I was in charge of policy research and international cooperation for over 15 years before being appointed professor at SUNY Korea. It is highly rewarding to contribute to Korea's membership in EUREKA (European International Joint Research Program) while developing and promoting new areas of technological cooperation between countries, such as international joint research. SUNY Korea was opened in Incheon, my hometown, and I joined without hesitation. The vision of the president to educate students from all over the world as a global leader and my dreams were in perfect harmony.

You are also making effort to promote research activities and technology management academics at SUNY Korea. Are there any plans for the KOSIME to carry out direct or indirect projects with SUNY Korea in the future?

Similar to SUNY Korea’s Department of Technology and Society (DTS), which is a convergence department that combines technological innovation, business, and economics systems, domestic universities also run undergraduate and graduate courses for DTS. In order to find the difference, most domestic universities focus on technology management (MOT) considering public needs, whereas SUNY Korea DTS focuses on technology-social interaction, so its scope is more comprehensive. If the specific experiences related to technological management promoted by the KOSIME and the global research capabilities of SUNY Korea are combined, it can contribute to convergence education, and there will be many research opportunities. For example, it is necessary to research and educate international development cooperation such as ODA (Official Development Assistance) promoted by Korea in terms of science and technology. SUNY Korea is already conducting international development cooperation projects with the Korean government and the World Bank (WB) for Asian and African countries such as Vietnam and Ghana.

Do you have any message for junior researchers at SUNY Korea and DTS students?

Technological innovation must be done in conjunction with social interaction for good results. In addition, the technological innovation activities that the nation monopolized on in the past have now expanded to the global level. In this regard, our students, who study English in accordance with the American curriculum, have already met one important prerequisite. In the meantime, our students have been presenting their papers by attending the KOSIME Summer Academic Conference held in Jeju every June from 2015 onward. The research content is excellent, but I am always proud of our students who present in English in a stylish and confident manner in front of other participants. I am looking forward to continuous research presentation by many professors and students this year.


Click here to visit KOSIME Homepage

Click here to visit SUNY Korea Department of Technology and Society (DTS)


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