Innovation does not come easy, a world-renowned CEO told an attentive audience in November. Key ingredients in achieving it are “aspiration” and “patience,” AmorePacific Group CEO Kyong-Bae Suh said, explaining that aspiration is needed to achieve innovation and patience is required to endure until customers recognize and embrace it.
“The process of innovation,” he added, “needs serendipity and solidarity. When light passes through a window, it is just light. When it passes through a magnifying glass, however, it can start a fire. This is just like innovation, it requires reckless passion and a strong driving force.”
Suh (entering class of 1981, Business), recently ranked 20th — and second in Asia — on a list of the world’s best CEOs, was delivering the first in a planned series of YVIP (Yonsei Venture, Innovation, and Start-up Program) Global CEO Talks. His favorite Chinese idiom, “chun oi yu chun” (天外有天), he said, means “there is another sky outside the sky. So, the sky that you reach can be different based on your faith.”
Suh concluded his speech by encouraging students to challenge themselves, start new businesses, and eventually emerge as young, rich entrepreneurs. Answering a student’s question about his secret of success, Suh emphasized the importance of habit, adding, develop a habit of reading and before you go to bed take ive minutes to write down how your day was.”
Asked about the future of AmorePacific in regards to political conflicts with China, he said improved competitiveness and singularity will ease the challenge. Lastly, he advised students who would like to start a business to “do what you like most and be passionate and patient until it flourishes.”
Considered in Korea as an icon of what an innovative CEO should be, Suh was the only Korean on the list of “Best-Performing CEOs in the World 2017” as co-ranked by the Harvard Business Review and INSEAD. The company he leads, AmorePacific, was ranked 16th by Forbes on the magazine’s list of the world's most innovative companies.
In welcoming and introducing Suh, Dean Young Ho Eom said, “It is a great honor for Yonsei Business School alumni to see CEO Kyung-Bae Suh ranked 20th as an innovative global CEO. I hope this talk will encourage students to think what innovation is and where it should lead to.”
An audience of mostly students filled the lecture hall to hear Suh’s ideas on management and innovation. Several alumni also attended, including alumni association committee member Changwoo Soh (entering class of 1978, Business), CEO of Papa John’s Korea; Jin Seok Suh (entering class of 1984, Business), a partner in Ernst & Young Korea; Won-Jung Shin (entering class of 1986, Business), managing director and head of the IB Division at Samsung Securities; In Sang Yoo (entering class of 1988, Business), a partner in Ernst & Young Korea;, Hongro Cho (entering class of 1986, Economics), CEO and president of Samryoong Co.; and Hanik Yoo (entering class of 2003, Business), CEO of TMON. Ten YSB professors were among the Yonsei faculty that attended.
Suh spoke after a presentation on “The Rise of AmorePacific” that covered its growth challenges and future strategy. Kiyoung Park (entering class of 2010, Business) and In Hye Kim (entering class of 2014, Business) made the presentation. They were the grand prize winners of the AmorePacific case competition previously held by YSB and based on an article published by Stanford University.
Their presentation was followed by a panel discussion with team leaders of the competition’s runners-up, Si Joo Lee (entering class of 2017, MS in Business) and Eunyoung Cheong (entering class of 2016, Business), in which Byung Young Kang, chief marketing officer of AmorePacific, also participated.
[AmorePacific CEO Kyung-Bae Suh speaks to YSB students on the process of successful innovation.]
[The AmorePacific CEO’s lecture drew an audience of students, alumni, and faculty.]
After Suh’s speech, Yonsei University President Yong Hak Kim presented him with an achievement award in recognition of his business leadership and service to the university.
[In Hye Kim’s presentation on AmorePacific gave background for CEO Suh’s speech. She was a grand prize winner in a case competition based on the company.]
[Runners-up in the AmorePacific case competition were part of a panel discussion of the company.]
[Final results of AmorePacific case competition]
In Hye Kim (entering class of 2014, Business),
Kiyoung Park (entering class of 2010, Business): Team Leader
Dong Hyeon Yoon (entering class of 2012, Business)
Youngil Choi (entering class of 2009, Business)
Si Joo Lee (entering class of 2017, MS in Business): Team Leader
Byoungsun Park (entering class of 2013, Business)
Min Sun Park (entering class of 2016, Clothing & Textiles)
Se Mi Park (entering class of 2016, Business)
Hyewon Jang (entering class of 2016, Business)
Eunyoung Cheong (entering class of 2016, Business): Team Leader
[YSB faculty and alumni join with CEO Kyung-Bae Suh (fifth from left) for a group picture.]
[CEO Kyung-Bae Suh and students show their enthusiasm after his inaugural address in the YVIP Global CEO Talks.]