Killing imagination

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Killing imagination

The author is the head of the Folin Team at JoongAng Ilbo.

If you want to change something, you have to imagine it. Experience is important for imagination. If you want to make mushroom soup, you should have seen mushrooms before. You need to know the internet to make an email service and know smartphones to create a mobile service. So Steve Jobs is a genius for having created the iPhone without ever seeing anything like it.

We imagine as much as we experience. Folin set up a study group on “the future of mobility” from April to June and on “the next leader in mobility” from July to September. We wanted to report on the mobility industry.

So I hoped the attendees could imagine the future freely. The members were field experts in mobility industry, working-level employees at Hyundai Motors, SoCar, Deal Car, SK Telecom, KT, GS Caltex and Samsung Electronics. Businessmen leading the changes in mobility participated as speakers. Park Jae-wook, CEO of Tada, spoke at the first meeting in June.

Tada was at the center of controversy at the time. Taxi unions opposed it fiercely, and negative factors arose every day. But Park’s message at the lecture was not gloomy or trivial. He talked about the role that a fleet operator like Tada can play in the future when automated driving becomes widely used. He seemed convinced that changes in mobility will change our lives fundamentally as much as smartphones did.

Inspired by his vision, members discussed until late at night. We discussed the possibility of new mobility models or the city that new mobility will change. We imagined as if none of us had ever heard of regulation.

We talked about a dream-like world where a person could travel freely without their own car from home to work, and where vehicles become another living space, not a simply a means of transportation.

“I feel like we had some nonsense imagination, forgetting that this is Korea,” said a member in the study group after learning the Tada executives were indicted by the prosecutors on Oct. 28 on charges of violating the public transportation law. That was a moment when those who are leading changes in their fields made up their minds to stop imagining.

What will this mean for younger people? We imagine as much we experience. The indictment broke the chance of positive imagination for the future one more time.

JoongAng Ilbo, Oct. 30, Page 32
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