Design Korea: Interview with Lee Kun Pyo

From BusinessWeek:
“Over the past decade, Korea’s Samsung Electronics has transformed itself from a copycat producer of uninspiring goods into one of the world’s top consumer-electronics brands. Much of that transformation is due to a shift in power at the company from engineers to designers. Samsung’s rebirth has inspired other Korean companies to place a greater emphasis on design — in fact, it has energized the country’s design community.”
An interview with Lee Kun Pyo, director of the Human-Centered Interaction Design Laboratory at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology on the changes sweeping Korean design >>
What I found interesting:
“Koreans traditionally don’t articulate what they’re doing beforehand. They’re very contextual. Of course they do customer research and product planning and user-centered design and so on. But they quickly arrive at solutions, then look at the solution to find any further problems. Some might say that’s unsystematic, but it’s really very dynamic. And it works well for products with a short lifecycle, like mobile phones or MP3 players.”
“Things are changing. In the past, product planning was done by marketing people who would choose product concepts by statistics, and engineers would present the structural requirements. The designers always lost the game. But now the head of Samsung’s mobile division asks the designer to make a mockup and throws it to the engineer and says, “Make it.” The opportunity has been handed over to the designers.”
“Korea has 230 design schools — more than America.”

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