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Active - JAN 184: Creative Geniuses or Hard Workers: Innovation Insights from South Korea
Seoul, South Korea (Outgoing Program)
Program Terms: Jan Term
Homepage: Click to visit
Restrictions: SMC-CA applicants only
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Jan Term 2018 12/01/2017 12/01/2017 TBA TBA
Program Description:
Course Title:Creative Geniuses or Hard Workers: Innovation Insights from South KoreaCourse ID:JAN 184Instructors:Natasha V. Munshi and Yung-Jae LeeContact Email:ylee@stmarys-ca.eduLocation:

Seoul, South Korea

Course Description:

South Korea is currently ranked by the Bloomberg Innovation Index as the world’s most innovative country, ahead of countries like Japan, Germany, USA, and China. This Course, “Creative Geniuses or Hard Workers: Innovation Insights from South Korea,” is designed to raise awareness of the culture of Creativity and Innovation in South Korea. Special attention is placed on what makes Korean culture so innovative – are they a highly creative people or is it rooted in a hardworking Asian culture? As nations increasingly aim to become “creative economies” (Florida, 2002), we look at the role of national culture in two of Korea’s best known creative industries, namely electronics and online gaming, to more deeply understand the local and global business contexts that have made companies like Samsung and Electronic Arts, Inc., some of the most innovative in the world. We will also compare and contrast Korea and other nations on innovation policies, to better understand how national systems of innovation are created.


Participants will learn about Korean creativity and innovation experientially through international immersion, lectures by local professors and industry experts in Korea, interactions with local Korean students, visits to Seoul-based electronics and game development companies, and meetings with Korean innovators, gamers, and business leaders. Participants are expected to deepen their understanding about:

The concepts of creativity and innovation, as they apply in the cultural contexts of the South Korea and the US
The society, politics, culture and economy of South Korea
The various aspects of economic development that support national systems of innovation in South Korea
Macro-environmental forces affecting organizational and industry level innovation
Innovation strategies for bringing new products to market

Division:Upper DivisionPrerequisites:

ENG 5 and SEM 002/102

Informational Meetings:

Attendance at one of these meetings is mandatory for enrollment (contact the instructor if you have conflicts):  

Friday 9/2, 12:30-1:30pm, Dante 114

Tuesday 9/6, 9:00-10:00am, GV 320

Tuesday 9/13, 1:30-2:30pm, Dante 114

Friday 9/16, 3:00-4:00pm, Dante 114

Saturday 9/17, 1:00-2:00pm, Dante 114

Reading List:

Articles (mandatory)

Part I: An Overview of South Korea and South Korean Business Environment

A. Musacchio; R. D. Tella; J. Schlefer,The Korean Model of Shared Growth, 1960-1990, HBS Case 2012.
South Korea: A Concise Profile, 2015. Michael A. Witt, 2015. Insead Case 2015.
Korea. F. Reinhardt, J. Schlefer, K Wong, M Yamazaki. Harvard Business Review, 2015.
Wa, Guanxi, and Inhwa: Managerial Principles in Japan, China, and Korea, by John P. Alston, HSB Case 1989.
What do you do when you reach the top? South Korean economy. The Economist. Nov 12, 2011.

Part II: National Systems of Innovation – Comparing South Korea’s Innovation Policies to Those of Other Countries

N. Gupta, D. Healey, A. Stein, S. Shipp. Innovation Policies of South Korea 2013. Institute for Defense Analyses. (retrieved Dec 6, 2015)
A. Farhoomand. National Innovation Systems of China and the Asian newly industrialized economies: A comparative analysis.  2005. The Asia Case Research Centre: The University of Hong Kong. HKU392.

Part III: Creativity and Innovation in Cross-Cultural Settings

Michael Michalko. 2006. Thinkertoys; a handbook of creative-thinking techniques. 2nd Ed. Ten Speed Press, Berkeley: CA., Chapters 11, 12, 35.
Richard Florida. 2002. The Rise of the Creative Class. Basic Books, NY: NY, Chapters 3, 4, 13, 14.

Part IV: Strategies for Bringing Innovation to Market

Y. Yoo, K. Kim. How Samsung Became A Design Powerhouse. Harvard Business Review, Sep, 2015.
T. Khanna, J. Song, K. Lee. The Paradox of Samsung’s rise. Harvard Business Review, July Aug, 2011.
H. Lee; S. Lee; H. Kim, NCSoft Corporation. Aug, 2008.
S. Gupta. For mobile devices, think apps not ads. Harvard Business Review, March 2015.
J. Siegel; Y. K.Chu Globalization of East Asian Pop Music, , HBS Case 2008.
W.C. Kim and R. Maubourgne. 2004. Blue Ocean Strategy. HBR.
Osterwalder, A., Y Pigneur. 2010. Business Model Generation. p.44, 46-47. John Wiley & Sons. Hoboken: NJ. ISBN: 978-0470-87641-1.

Course Activity: Cross-cultural Exercise As part of the course, student teams will play a negotiation game against student teams from Seoul, S. Korea. The purpose of the game will be to understand how cultural factors influence cross-cultural negotiations.

Books (book report on any ONE)

D. Tudor. Korea: Impossible Country, Tuttle Publishing, 2012, ISBN-13: 978-0804842525
D. Tudor. A Geek in Korea: Discovering Asia’s New Kingdom of Cool, Tuttle Publishing, 2014, ISBN: 978-4-8053-1129-5.
J. Song, K. Lee. The Samsung Way: Transformational Management Strategies From the World Leader in Innovation and Design. 2014. McGraw-Hill Publications. ISBN 978-0-07-183579-4.


Other Materials

Video Clips on Design Thinking and Creativity (Required)

IDEO’s David Kelley is interviewed by Charlie Rose on CBS’s 60 Minutes

Video Clips Introducing Korea (Required)

Video Clips Introducing Seoul (Optional)


Country at a Glance:
World Bank Data:
Ease of Doing Business:
Beyond Korean Style. Shaping a New Growth Model Formula. McKinsey Global Institute.2013. file:///C:/Users/smcmba/Downloads/MGI_Beyond_Korean_style_Full_report_Apr2013.pdf(retrieved Dec 6, 2015)
South Korea: Finding its Place on the World Stage, Five Essays from Leading Thinkers Exploring the Country’s Present and Future. McKinsey Global Institute. 2010. (retrieved Dec 6, 2015)

Basis for Final Grade:

Participation in scheduled events (incl. negotiation game): 30%

Two individual articles-summary: 10%

One individual book report: !0%

Two Roving Reporters (Newspaper articles): 10%

Individual reflection paper: 20%

Group Project Presentation: 10%

Group Project Paper: 10%

*Groups consist of a maximum of 3 students. 

Course Fee Per Student:$3,850Description of What the Course Fee Covers:

All instructional material
All airfare and ground transportation, lodging, all meals, and fees to cultural visits and activities

Dates Traveling:

Tuesday 1/10 - Friday, 1/27 (18 days)

Highlights of the itinerary:

Tue 1/10 – depart SFO a.m. (arrive Seoul Incheon airport on Wed 1/11)

Thu 1/12 – Meeting and Dinner with students from Chung-Ang University, Seoul

Fri  1/13 – Company visit Samsung Delight Center, Gangnam

Sat 1/14 –  Excursion to the DMZ Zone; Nanta (Non-verbal comedy show)

Tue 1/17 – PC Bang Online gaming experience

Wed 1/18 – Company visits - NC Soft, Nexon; professional basketball game

Thu 1/19 – Company visit - Kia Motors

Fri 1/20 – K-Pop Dance

Sat 1/21 – Excursion to Pusan on the bullet train

Mon 1/23 – Company visits - Samsung Innovation Museum, Anh Lab

Tue 1/24 – Company visits – Sangam Digital Media City, CJ Entertainment

Wed 1/25 – Farewell dinner with Chung-Ang University students

Friday 1/27 – Return back to San Francisco, SFO (arrival on same day)

Dates on Campus:

Monday, 1/9, 2017 – Orientation and Introduction

Monday, 1/30-Friday, 2/3, 2017 – Bay Area company visits, Final Project Presentations and Wrap up exercises

Class Schedule:MTuThF, 9:15 - 11:50 AMSpaces reserved for freshmen:5