World Knowledge Forum – Seoul, South Korea

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Last week I had the privilege of attending the 15th Annual World Knowledge Forum in Seoul, South Korea as both a panel moderator and speaker.  And this Forum attracted an impressive collection of politicians, academics, business leaders and entrepreneurs. The keynote speakers were the President of South Korean, Madam Park Geun-hye, and former President of France, Nicolas Sarkozy.

¼¼°èÁö½ÄÆ÷·³ °³¸·½Ä Âü¼®ÇÑ ¹Ú ´ëÅë·É My speech to about 200 participants of the Forum was titled:  The Importance of Corporate Culture in Asia’s Global Business Expansion. However, the majority of the forum panel topics and presentations focused on the uncertainties of the Asian economy and the Asian political arena as key drivers of the current slow growth of the region.

What was most interesting to me, however, is that while my topic was the only one specifically focused on corporate culture, at nearly every panel discussion or speech I attended, issues of corporate culture and national culture came up repeatedly in the discussions! The most frequent culture topic centered around the traditional Korean corporate culture of hierarchy, loyalty and top-down decision-making and whether this set of corporate behaviours was still a benefit in a more globally competitive world. Is the Korean culture of efficiency and low-cost still a competitive advantage? Should Korea shift to more of a Creative Economy, given that China is now the world low-cost producer and technological innovations seem to be the driver of modern business growth?

The panel discussion I moderated dealt with the topic of how Korea could build a more creative and innovative economy. We had a very engaging discussion on this topic due to the expertise and diversity of the four panelists: Professor Andrew McAfee from MIT, Ben Casnocha, an entrepreneur from Silicon Valley, Yigal Erlich, the founding father of the Israeli Venture Capital industry, and Ryu Jung-hee, CEO of Future Play and serial Korean Entrepreneur.

What became apparent was the many fundamental strengths of the Korean economy and society, including government support, education for all, technological infrastructure, work ethic and many others.  All the panelists agreed that with shifts in certain government policies to encourage start-ups and entrepreneurs, the Korean economic miracle to the past 50 years could successfully be refocused on innovation and creativity for the next 50 years.


If you are interested, here is a synopsis of the panelists key points.

The World Knowledge Forum was a stimulating gathering of bright minds and business experience and the over 3000 participants who attended certainly came away with food for thought and tools for improvement.

John R Childress
Senior Advisor on Corporate Culture, Leadership and Strategy Execution
Author of LEVERAGE: The CEO’s Guide to Corporate Culture
Visiting Professor, IE Business School, Madrid






About johnrchildress

John Childress is a pioneer in the field of strategy execution, culture change, executive leadership and organization effectiveness, author of several books and numerous articles on leadership, an effective public speaker and workshop facilitator for Boards and senior executive teams. In 1978 John co-founded The Senn-Delaney Leadership Consulting Group, the first international consulting firm to focus exclusively on culture change, leadership development and senior team alignment. Between 1978 and 2000 he served as its President and CEO and guided the international expansion of the company. His work with senior leadership teams has included companies in crisis (GPU Nuclear – owner of the Three Mile Island Nuclear Plants following the accident), deregulated industries (natural gas pipelines, telecommunications and the breakup of The Bell Telephone Companies), mergers and acquisitions and classic business turnaround scenarios with global organizations from the Fortune 500 and FTSE 250 ranks. He has designed and conducted consulting engagements in the US, UK, Europe, Middle East, Africa, China and Asia. Currently John is an independent advisor to CEO’s, Boards, management teams and organisations on strategy execution, corporate culture, leadership team effectiveness, business performance and executive development. John was born in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon and eventually moved to Carmel Highlands, California during most of his business career. John is a Phi Beta Kappa scholar with a BA degree (Magna cum Laude) from the University of California, a Masters Degree from Harvard University and was a PhD candidate at the University of Hawaii before deciding on a career as a business entrepreneur in the mid-70s. In 1968-69 he attended the American University of Beirut and it was there that his interest in cultures, leadership and group dynamics began to take shape. John Childress resides in London and the south of France with his family and is an avid flyfisherman, with recent trips to Alaska, the Amazon River, Tierra del Fuego, and Kamchatka in the far east of Russia. He is a trustee for Young Virtuosi, a foundation to support talented young musicians. You can reach John at or
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1 Response to World Knowledge Forum – Seoul, South Korea

  1. Cristina Nogueira says:

    Great blog! And congratulations for your achievement 🙂

    [Descrição: cid:image003.jpg@01CB088E.C302CCF0]

    Cristina Nogueira Co-Founder Mobile: +55 11 98495 9834 Skype: crisnogueira47 making culture do-able

    From: “John R Childress . . . Rethinking” <> Reply-To: “John R Childress . . . Rethinking” <> Date: Sunday, October 19, 2014 at 9:05 AM To: Cristina Nogueira <> Subject: [New post] World Knowledge Forum – Seoul, South Korea

    johnrchildress posted: ” Last week I had the privilege of attending the 15th Annual World Knowledge Forum in Seoul, South Korea as both a panel moderator and speaker. And this Forum attracted an impressive collection of politicians, academics, business leaders and entreprene”


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