Korea: A Catalyst for Change, Part 1

One of my professors at Hanyang University here in Korea is an expert on innovation and the means through which innovation can be fostered within companies and countries. He advocates an "open innovation" approach where intellectual property is more widely available and accessed, and as part of my studies with him, he recommended a couple books by Henry Chesbrough, a professor at the University of California at Berkely who was named a "Top 50 Innovator" by Scientific American.

9-3-2009 4-02-13 AM

I just finished Chesbrough's latest book, Open Business Models, which maps out the ways companies can succeed in the new innovation landscape. And I was struck by two, very interesting examples, where Korea and Korean companies have been catalysts for the business development of US companies. Today's post will start with the first example.

Qualcomm, of southern California, is a leading US IT company which operates under a highly profitable business model based on maximizing the value of its intellectual property. But few people realize the extent to which its rise followed from a lot of risk, luck and hard work. 

The company struggled for over six years to get its CDMA technology into the market. As this method of transmitting wireless signals was unproven, few were willing to take a risk on it when other technologies commanded the market. Finally in 1989 and 1990, Qualcomm demonstrated its technology by setting up actual networks in Los Angeles and New York City… And then…

(to be continued)

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