Robert Kelly of the Asian Security Blog has penned a piece in The Diplomat called “A Battle for the ‘Seoul’ of South Korea.

I’m not wild about the title, or actually sure what it means, but Kelly hits on several familiar notes regarding intellectual property rights and what he feels is a need for an injection of  innovation — something he says requires a profound shift at Korea’s very core.

Moving Korea toward more innovative production will require two major changes, perhaps so enormous they should be called cultural. First, Korean education needs to emphasize creativity and free-thinking more. Far too much pre-college training focuses on the rote recitation of answers with little underlying comprehension.

Drawing from his experience as an educator here, he says that the system…

…encourages an intense “copying culture” in which the instructor’s thoughts are treated like ideal answers to open-ended questions and parroted back.

And what would a piece on South Korean innovation be without a Samsung vs. Apple reference?

When the iPhone hit and Koreans learned of it, Korea’s telecom oligopolists panicked. They pressed the Korean government to maintain a protectionist security standard to prevent the iPhone’s arrival for two years, while Samsung effectively reverse-engineered the iPhone to create a competitor.

You can read the rest here.