5 creative principles for thriving in the digital world

Matt Hebrona
5 creative principles for thriving in the digital world
Non-digital lessons from the 2014 Seoul Digital Forum

SEOUL, South Korea – For the visionaries at the Seoul Digital Forum (SDF) 2014, moving forward means stepping back and reaffirming your core values. Here as some thoughts that transcend digital boundaries for aspiring digital visionaires:

1. Child-like innocence makes you fearless 

To be creatively confident one must have the innocence of a child. At design studio, Woowa Brothers, CEO Kim Bongjin encourages his designers to explore solutions to problems in an environment that is free and open to collaboration. ‘When you walk into a meeting, you should not be able to recognize who the boss is.”

This same support for fearless innovation prompted Adobe’s Chief Strategist, Mark Randall to create “KickBox’ a project funding every new product idea from any employee before even looking at it. The mysterious red boxes ignited inspiring projects for Adobe.

2. Solve problems first, profits will follow

CAPTCHA & reCAPTCHA founder, Luis von Ahn started his new venture, Duolingo with the challenge of reconnecting the Internet that is ‘lost in translation’ and making something out of people’s daily internet habits.

In Duolingo, people learn a new language for free while translating content from major information providers such as CNN or BuzzFeed.

‘The things that ended up doing best are projects that are started for social impact, than those that only aim to make quick money’ 

Duolingo’s Introduction Video:

3. Limitations can expand your creativity 

17-year-old Jack Andraka spent his summer creating a 3-cent paper sensor for the early detection of pancreatic, ovarian and lung cancer. Andraka only used available information on the internet. The young scientist is now calling out to democratize scientific resources to empower hidden innovators like him.

Being completely blind did not stop visual artist Pete Eckert from taking photographs. Through experimentation and using his other senses, Eckert explored photography by using light painting and modifying his cameras with the mission of ‘Seeing without Seeing’ and bridging the gap between those who are blind and those who can see.

4. Disconnect more to connect more

In hyper-connected Seoul City, the idea of a day without using a mobile device is unimaginable. Technology is created to prevent failures but in effect, people have become dependent on it.

Son Wha-Chul, Professor at South Korea’s Handong Global University believes that we have already synced our language and our ideas with technology, letting it reconfigure our identities. He tagged this as ‘digital dystopia’ where the question of ‘who we are’ is forgotten. We have to rethink how we are connected with everybody (through technology) while losing oneself in the process.


Watch this social experiment of a magician performing tricks in Seoul’s subway:

5. Innovation can come from nature

In the Biomimetic Robotics Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Kim Sangbae turned to animal locomotion in designing ‘Stickybot’, a robot that uses directional dry adhesive inspired by how the toes of geckoes work.  The innovation of principle extraction is an important development in ushering the age of ‘humanistic robots’ – where robots will replace humans in disaster zones or in assisting the mobility-impaired.

Watch Stickybot in action here:

For roboticist Guy Hoffman, the future of user experience design is technology that is imperfect, plans less, improvises and even makes mistakes. He says that these ‘emotional robots’ are what people actually prefer and may be helpful in the field of counseling or even psychology.

Here’s Travis, one of Hoffman’s emotional robots:

The Seoul Digital Forum 2014 brings together though leaders on innovation in the context of the digital age. It was held May 21 to 22 at Dongdaemun Design Plaza in Seoul, South Korea. – Rappler.com

Broken egg with idea vector via Shutterstock

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