Rosa Lee is CEO of CBK Solution, one of the fastest growing Social Business Ecosystem consulting companies in Seoul. She also serves as director of Neo Cultellects (Culture + Intellects) Global Network. Before founding CBK Solution she worked as a consultant at Samsung Economic Research Institute’s Planning Forum. Here are excerpts of the interview she had with Dr Lakhvinder Singh, Managing Editor of the Asia-Pacific Business and Technology Report, in her office in downtown Seoul, Korea.
What does CBK Solution stand for, and what is your company’s mission?
CBK Stands for Cross-way-win-win, Ben- efit all the world, and Knowledge sharing. CBK Solution is specialized in developing ethical business model for multi-cultures, Korean culture, eco-friendly and social en- terprise. Our mission is to create action plans for “Social Business Ecosystem.” What is the “Social Business Ecosystem” (you think)?
First of all, I would rather to talk about “Social Business.” Someone says “Social business” is a business to create social val- ues. The others say it is business that uses social network. I want to take both of them. In terms of the “Business Ecosystem”, it is simply collabonomics (collaboration + eco- nomics) network system.
Therefore, the “Social Business Ecosys- tem” is the socially valuable business sys- tem using collaborating network. Until now, governments, companies, NGO/NPOs, and people have done many efforts for creating social values. However, the problem is that those efforts have been overlapped, unconnected, ineffective, and even uncirculated.
I think, just like environmental ecosys- tem, social businesses also need business ecosystem for sustainable development. In order to build the social business ecosys- tem, creating business models is necessary but not easy. That is why I have spent ten years to study about it.
People expect that this social business ecosystem will be the solution in not only bringing synergy and cost-effects among those all sectors (governments, companies, NGO/NPOs, and people) but also creating social values at the same time.
What differentiates CBK Solution from other consulting firms?
CBK Solution is a very unique company. The first uniqueness of CBK Solution is that we are having our own 42 ethically profit- able projects called “WORLD-UP Social Proj- ects” that are ready to launch. Second, we are having settled plans to build “WORLD-UP Social Platform” that will be the matching places for collaborat- ing among governments, companies, NGOs/ NPOs, and people in running our “WORLD- UP Social Projects.”
Third, we are holding a patent for P2P global language translating social network service (SNS) called “CBK TALK (www.cbk- talk.com).” This service will be not only a useful tool for actualizing the “WORLD-UP Social Projects” but also a revolutionary translating program in this multicultural society era.
For the most, as CEO of this company, I am so proud of that a just-started company, CBK Solution, is holding capacity for run- ning all three of them, and I have confi- dence that this company will be the leader in this global blue ocean market.
You also mentioned that “C” of CBK Solution stands for “Cross- way-win-win,” how is this related with CBK Business model, and how does this model helps small and medium enterprise?
CBK Solution’s business model is foster- ing a global social business ecosystem that helps enterprises move towards sustain- able development. As mentioned earlier, to build a social business ecosystem is possible only through collaboration among differ- ent sectors. Here, the big companies’ role is creating the platform, and the small and medium companies’ role is providing the contents that fill the platform. Always, what matters is to build networks and distribute benefits. CBK Solution will be a mediator that encourages positive communication, builds connection, and shares all benefits fairly among all those companies involved in the “Social Project”. We will also try to share not only monetary benefit but also secondary benefits such as ideas, talents, and advanced tactics too. Currently govern- ments tend to unilaterally require big com- panies to have social responsibility. I don’t think this is a sustainable way, and I am worried if it will harm both big and small companies. Therefore, creating the condi- tional cross-win-win relationships among companies just like a Silicon Valley in the U.S.A. is very important. We already have 42 projects that can create this relation- ship, and each project has a different model based on a different target customer.
Then, after you started CBK Solution this year, did you make any performance that you are proud of?
There are two main works that I accom- plished. I wrote the book called “Social World,” and I also held the convergence sto- ry telling event called “Knowledge Show.” Can you tell us more specifically about your book “Social World”? What inspired you to write the book and what do you want to tell us through it?
In a word, the book “Social World” is a storytelling book about “Social” for all ages and countries. For example, in Korean his- tory, “Social” is a key word. The three Kore- an traditions – Doore (farmers’ cooperative group), Hyangyak (Korean community rules for mutual help), and Gye (a kind of tradi- tional private fund) – that I introduced in this book share the same type of social ser- vice that “Grameen Bank” and “Time Bank” are providing. Also, the (弘益人間,) humani- tarian idea which is benefiting all mankind, a founding principle of Korea, shares the values of multiculturalism and eco-friendly attitudes.
These examples are closely related with what SR (Social Responsibilities) and ER (Environmental Responsibilities) are in the present day business world.
It is very surprising to know that the con- tent of “Chun Bu Kyung”, a Korean bible, includes not only the theme of social en- terprise but also specific strategic plans for building social business ecosystems such as “Open Platform” and “Collective Intelli- gence.” It is very sad that not many people, including many Korean people, know about this Korean culture treasure. I wrote this book to share this knowledge with the world so that people can use it in politics, economics, and society and culture development. Also, I believe it is important to build a global network for “Social Proj- ects” which peruse both the social value and social revenue at the same time.
You frequently mention “Social” in your book. Can you please explain the concept of “Social” and how it influences the business world in its present day context?
The definition of “Social” is ‘Collective Power’ and ‘Responsibility’, and the oppo- site meanings of “Social” are ‘Individual’ and ‘Selfish’. There are two big issues about “Social” these days; namely, economical and ethical issues. The power of “Social” can make positive economic effect such as cost reduction and synergy effects, but if it is used immorally, it could be abused and end up collapsing the world social system. So, it is very important to find a right way to use the power ethically.
The power of “Social” is amazing. For example “INNOCENTIVE” is a website that finds people who have solutions for busi- ness problems. Surprisingly, the general public provides many answers for unsolved problems. This innovative “Social” concept leads to enormous economic growth. There is another example. Once Starbucks was un- der threat of shutting down 600 shops, but it made a website called “ilovestarbucks. com.” This site comprised a community of people who love Starbucks and share their information and ideas for making the Star- bucks franchise better. In the end those collective ideas saved Starbucks from bank- ruptcy.
Contrary to this, Nike, which is one of the most successful global companies, met with huge crisis due to its subcontracting to factories which use child labor. As we know, the company was reprimanded from society because of its lack of social responsibility. So, that is why I say, “Social” has a power to make people or companies “live or die” in this social world.
You answered that your company held a unique show called “Knowledge Show” with convergence story telling format. What is the convergence storytelling and why did you use this format for this show?
Convergence storytelling is the multiple crossover between ‘Lecture and Show’, ‘History and Future’, ‘Human and Environ- ment’, and ‘Korean wave and Multicultural- ism’, and its theme is corresponding with the value that emphasizes diversity. The reason that I use this special format of lecture-plus-show is for fun and emotion combined with high, tough marketing. The topic of knowledge could be heavy and too serious for some people, so I try to create a way that makes people feel comfortable and easy while having fun, but at the same connected in learning something new in this competitive and stressful society.
What were the main contents of the show and what message did you want to bring through it?
As the topic of the event is “Social”, the Knowledge Show consists of lectures about new wave and new business along with exciting and unprecedented culture shows that present the harmony of yin and yang (Korean culture and Western culture). The show has three acts. The first act is a fusion- performance of Korean traditional drum and Spanish flamenco. The second act is the cross-performance of tap dance, magic, Pansori (Korean dramatic song), and tradi- tional drum rhythms. These two acts high- light the beauty of harmony among diverse cultures. The last act gives the audience les- sons about the importance of eco-friendly attitudes through a convergence show merged among media projection that intro- duces human communication with nature, classic guitar performance, and Dae-keum (Korean flute) performance.
According to your answers and past performances, your business idea is very new and refreshing. Who is interested in your business model now, and how will you enlarge your partnership in the future?
It is true that the government, local gov ernment, private organization and compa nies are interested in my business ideas. They already set aside enough in their bud- get for social business, but they are lacking in ideas and contents for using their money. The one thing that we do not have enough of is time. We currently do lots of paper work for preparing social projects with dif- ferent local governments and big compa- nies. According to them, they consider us as the key holder for Social business in the current and future world. We will take the necessary steps along the way. Stay with us until we reach our goals.
What are your future plans, and how do you see your business growing in the next the years?
As I mentioned earlier, we have 42 proj- ects. I dream to have 42 talented project managers in the future. Also, I have tried to find successful Korean DNAs, and I have developed (cross-way-win-win) projects that connect the entire world. If everything moves forward as planned, I would like to resign my place to those project managers and travel to other countries which could use my help.
What would you like to say as the last comment?
Only a few years ago, I was just a dream- er. However, later I met with people who share my dreams about the future. Thanks to their helps, I founded my company, and published my book to realize my ideas. Sometimes, I meet a person who makes changes that one million people cannot make. Also I know that 3 percent of salt can purify all the sea. People say there are not many good people, but I believe that those small numbers of people share good ideas and those good ideas make good relations. One’s dream is just a dream, but if we all have the same dream, the dream comes true. In other words, if we gather our efforts and build networks, we can change the world. If you notice that the social projects of CBK Solution are one such effort for this positive change, please do not hesitate to lend us your support.
I dream of a world that respects cultural diversity in race, ethnicity, religion, ability, sexual orientation, social class, ideology, and age just like the rainbow. However, it will not come of its own, and we must work together to make it happen. A-P
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