Forum dedicated to creative ideas begins

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Forum dedicated to creative ideas begins

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Lee O-young, second from right, adviser to the JoongAng Ilbo and former culture minister, speaks at a forum on future strategy planning?hosted by?Kaist’s Research Center for Future Strategy and the Korean Federation of Science and Technology Societies at the Press Center in Gwanghwamun, central Seoul, Friday. Provided by Kofst

Interest, observation and understanding connections will be essential elements for the country in establishing a creative economy, said Lee O-young, adviser to the JoongAng Ilbo and former minister of culture, at a forum on future planning for 2025.

Developing interfaces such as smartphones and tablet PCS is not considered innovative anymore, but developing content and services for those interfaces is key to the country’s future strategy, Lee said.

A series of in-depth discussions on the nation’s future strategy hosted by Kaist’s Research Center for Future Strategy and the Korean Federation of Science and Technology Societies was kick-started at the Press Center in Gwanghwamun, central Seoul, on Friday. The first discussion was attended by experts from a variety of fields with a common interest in making the country more creative.

The forum will take place on the first Friday of every month until November to provide a platform for experts to pitch ideas to help the government formulate future strategies.

“Go back to the zero base and have an interest in things,” Lee said in his keynote speech at the forum. “Then think about relations between them and try to make connections.”

Born in 1934, Lee is a novelist, playwright, essayist and literature critic. He supervised the opening and closing ceremonies of the 1988 Seoul Olympics and served as the country’s first minister of culture in 1991.

Famous for his lectures involving creative ideas, Lee applauded the insight of the late Steve Job to connect the cyberwold with analog interfaces. That insight led to the iPod and serves as an example of connecting two different things that no one had tried before.

“What Steve Jobs has done is the so-called digilog,” Lee said. “By changing the already-existing MP3 player, he created a new music market where the physical and cyberworld are integrated on the little device.”

Korea had a music download platform called Soribada and the technology to make MP3 players, but it didn’t think about linking the two, Lee explained.

He cited Nintendo’s Wii video game console, a virtual game player, as another example.

“We play a golf game with a small stick in the living room of our house, but I am in the screen playing golf on a cyber golf course. This is also digilog, which combines the analog world with digital technology.”

Making analog things digitalized is not a way of making a creative world, Lee explained.

“How we converge human’s analog nature with digital technology is what we need to think about,” he said.

He said the government blindly believes that a creative economy will come from ICT technology.

“Rather than the technology itself, we should look at the gap between human and nature, the gap between human and object, to make innovation out of the gap,” he said.

Exploration of relations has made today’s free trade possible on the macroeconomic front, he said.

“Invention of containers has made it possible to connect distant continents and consume products made in faraway places,” Lee said. “This started from a creative idea to link the sea and land. It was just a box that created today’s free trade and a huge global economy.”

The key to development of such digilog products, Lee said, is the ability to capture hidden relations between two different things.

“There are so many things developed in the analog world and separately in the cyberworld, but not many people can connect them,” Lee said. “Creativity should start from studying the two’s relations.

“Ahead of anything else, we should have interests in things surrounding us.”

However, development of such interfaces isn’t enough for Korea’s next 10 years, Lee said.

“From desktop computers through tablet PCs, development of interfaces has come a long way to an extent that we have become closer to the cyberworld with smartphones in our hands than we were with the desktop computer,” he said. “During the process, we have focused too much on the interface itself - how it looks like and how light or small it is - and paid less attention to the content.

“We pay for this small device, not for the content in it,” he added. “We pay for paper and ink used in making a book, not for what the book says.

“We have been trying to sell containers of information, but not the information, which we should have for the sake of the future. This can be a clue to achieving a creative economy.”

Lee chose SixthSense technology presented by Pranav Mistry from India in his TED talks as a game-changer for the next 10 years.

BY SONG SU-HYUN [ssh@joongang.co.kr]

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