Management Lessons in Seoul

Gasan-dong, Korea’s Digital Valley

I had the chance to visit Gasan-dong where I spent time with a client exploring how to elevate business creativity to solve problems with a human-centered approach and how to manage change through management innovation. I thought it would be useful to summarize this workshop in a few hands-on approaches to business creativity and management innovation.

More or less everybody agrees that in the competitive world, business creativity is essential to success. Yet so many organizations hinder creativity by not giving their people tools and leads they need to be truly creative.

Just to start with this one: managers should develop the capacity for radical originality — they should re-imagine and reinvent the world in totally unexpected ways. By doing that, they can create a fearless organization, an environment where failure is accepted as part of the creative process. True business creativity needs tools as well as management innovation.

❇️ Be a creative solution to a business problem.

Challenge your current perspectives.

❇️ Probe the possible. Explore options around you.

Have the desire to add value to a brand and society at the same time.

❇️ Be ready to help people, not only sell them things.

If you have a solution to consumer problem — you have their attention.

❇️ Re-evaluate relentlessly. No idea is good forever.

Generate many new and exciting ideas, even if they seem absurd.

❇️ Celebrate curiosity, empathy, and creativity.

Plan less and coordinate more.

Organizations are communities of human beings and diverse talents, not collections of human resources. As human beings, we collaborate with our peers. We care for the very sense of community, since it is the social glue that bonds us together for the social good, and allows us to work and live with fulfilling purpose. Organizations work best when they are communities of committed people who work in collaborative relationships, under conditions of trust and respect.

Collaboration is built through management that cares, not a leadership that cures. It may be fashionable to distinguish leaders from managers, but you would not like to work for a manager who does not lead, either leader who does not manage. We have had more than enough of detached, egocentric leadership: it is time for more management innovation, embedded in collaboration and coordination.

Instead of trainings to create tomorrow’s leaders, we need initiatives that commit today’s managers. Management is a practice, rooted in experience, continuous learning, and mastering coordination. Those new programs and initiatives can take people with experience and the demonstrated skills of management, and leverage that alongside their natural inclination to drive necessary change. Learning and development are about commitment: to the job, but also to the organization, and beyond that, to society in a responsible way.

Originally published at

Andrea is in the business of marketing, working at the intersection of organizational narrative and business growth. #tech #SaaS #startups #marketing #growth

Andrea is in the business of marketing, working at the intersection of organizational narrative and business growth. #tech #SaaS #startups #marketing #growth