Gin Kim

a journey to happiness

Week #3 29 Jan. Leadership 2. egg, myth, and oranges…

The morning session was led by Alia about her own project, research process, and also the types of leaders. And we were asked to express the given type of leaders using any kind of creative means – play, performance, sculpture, etc. We were given 30 min of discussion + preparation time, and our theme was ‘natural born leader’ (it had more professional name but as it was professional I forgot…). Basically it’s a type of leader who was born to be a leader such as nelson mandela or Jesus. So we brainstormed and these are the keywords we drew out.

– DNA, Jesus Christ, Queen Elizabeth, Lion King, Lincoln, Hitler (well, we got a little confused between narcissistic leader and natural born leader)

From that, Jongwha gave an idea of Korean half myth, half history that an ancient King who founded one of ancient kingdoms in Korea was born from an egg, and we found it as a perfect metaphor to express the ‘Natural Born Leader’. Then I brought the biggest cocoon that I used for the design module as an egg shell (How perfect it is!). After our presentation, there was a discussion focusing on the ‘Myth’ factor of leader especially concerning Jesus. Well, it was emerged mainly because we brought the Korean myth into our play, and also gave Jesus as one of examples of natural born leaders. But the myth is used not only for natural born leaders but also for most leaders (mostly after they become a leader) to make people believe that they are ‘natural born leaders’. Personally, our play conveyed the essence of natural born leader concept, but we haven’t really delivered the attributes of this type of leader. But is it possible to define their attributes ( I think no… it can differ depending on different situations)? Are there real natural born leaders without any myth making about them? Then how can you judge that they are natural born leader?

Well, then we had a discussion about leadership with 2 oranges…….. To be honest, I couldn’t really get the point. what is the relationship between 2 oranges or dropping oranges randomly and leadership or creative leadership? Does the definition of creative leadership have to be different from the definition of conventional leadership?  I couldn’t follow all ‘narrative’ there but about an issue of leadership as a science, I remember having thought that this research area is basically based on empirical research as far as I understand, so the behavior or attributes of good leaders have been analysed then they were grouped into different criteria. But if you ask if we can apply these criteria to explain all kinds of leadership out there inversely, the answer should be no. There are always exceptions, but can you then say that these criteria are useless or wrong? no… Well, I’m asking these questions maybe because I like to remain neutral about any kinds of issues, but yeah… sometimes you have to go extreme for the sake of creativity…?


Filed under: MACE 2009

Week #2 22 Jan. Leadership Session 1. We rocked!

Miguel’s back!

During the induction course, I found it very hard to participate in the debate that Miguel encouraged us as it was somehow too conceptual for me and I couldn’t figure out his intention of where he wants to drive us to.  At the end of the day, I had a headache and I assumed that it must have been a language barrier, or a tension I had about the new circumstance. Then after this week’s session, I realised that the reason for my headache was more  of Miguel’s debate than a language barrier as  I had a exactly same headache after the class.

However, it was interesting to talk about creative leadership from the different point of view which is ‘Narrative / Storytelling’. Well, he also talked about the conventional concepts of leadership, but it was obvious that he has a quite negative point of view about judging a person as a good leader with these conventional criteria. I agree with him but at the same time, it could have been better if we discuss about it after having a considerate look at these conventional approach which must have been researched for a long time. Especially after having worked with quite a ‘special’ boss for 3 years, I’ve been always wondering about what makes a good leader in creative environment. Well, my boss was a good leader in terms of storytelling as he knows how to sell himself and attract/allure people (clients), but for everything else but that point, there were considerate amount of problems among him and the rest of designers or even with clients. So can we really ignore those conventional qualities that define ‘a good leader’? Also, the examples given were all well known politicians such as Obama. So I was wondering if this theory of narrative can be applied for infamous yet good leaders (well ‘good’ is quite a vague adjective but let’s say ‘considered as good leaders’) all over the world. I guess  It doesn’t seem to make sense for them. Or I’m not fully understanding his point which is very possible.

Anyway, after a short lunch break we were asked to do ‘A one act leadership play’ and our team had free theme (yeah!!:) ). We came up with an idea of a rock band whose name is ‘MACE in Faces’ performing in a TV show such as X factor so we can describe different kinds of leaders

– Vocalist : Generally the leader of the band as they tend to be exposed the most, and to be loudest as well.
– Drummer : In this role play, drummer was a quiet, hidden but real leader in the team.
– Judge : an absolute power / authority in the industry

Narcissistic leader?

(hidden) Supportive leader?

Amazing reporter! MACE in Faces without AC is then ‘ME in Faces’… lol

Judge : an absolute authority in the industry.

Well, we had a lot of fun, and I was simply amazed how our team members are good at acting. I also realised AGAIN that acting is definitely not my thing…. pffff

Filed under: MACE 2009

Week #1 15 Jan. First MACE class in 2010!

New start with full of energy, hope, and joy of rejoining amazing maces!

It was great to see Catherine on the first day of the semester as we finally have our course director! Most of us have been experiencing quite a lot of administrative problems such as missing specialist modules on study space, so it was already a good news for the new year.

We had a quick introduction time for Catherine, but it was interesting as we were asked to tell what we want to be in 5 years of time rather than telling the same thing that we’ve done at the beginning of the course, so everyone’s knowing. Also, it was quite thought provoking test, as I always tend to live today not the future (one of my core problems). What will I be like? what do I want to be like in 5 years?…

“I will be working with my friends (friends back in Korea, or MACES) happily and enthusiastically as a small design consulting group in a humble but nice and cozy area. Our studio will be where we work, where we cook, and where we throw parties! We will be working very very hard to open a small cafe/restaurant near our studio. Last but not least, we will have 2 months of vacation a year.”

Well, I think it’s a very possible scenario apart from ‘2 months of vacation’. But this shows my will of not wanting to be the pet/slave of clients that I used to be and of being full of ‘Joie de vivre’!

It was also good to hear that we will be organising field trip to agencies or companies we want to visit. I personally want to visit the Conran group to see how they manage to run all those various businesses such as restaurants, retail shops (The conran shop), book publication, and design studio. Also, I would like to visit and see how they work at Jasper morrison’s studio in Shoreditch even if I visited only their shop and could see roughly the office from outside. It will be also a good occasion to have a nice Vietnamese food there. 😉

About drawing whatever related to circle, it was again interesting but seemed a bit repetitive for me. I understood the aim of the task but as the actual doing was the same, it was somehow less interesting part of the day.

Filed under: MACE 2009

Our new website!

Our new website in progress!

Today’s lesson :
It’s much better to work in a cafe than in the uni library!
Me and Pinar have been working on our website at cafe 1001 in Brick lane (Also Cristina & Seb popped up to help us) for SEVEN HOURS NON STOP! But with nice food in a nice place packed with nice people made us enjoy working without realising the time. The website is still quite empty but will be uploaded very soon with lots of fun contents! Keep checking our website!:)

Filed under: MACE 2009

Week #13 11 Dec. Last class before christmas, Secret Santa, Branding

Finally the last post for the last year! (But I’m not sure if there is any point of doing all this NOW…) Well, actually it’s very me to be lazy then start to do all of a sudden at the very last minute torturing myself. Whether it is worth doing in terms of assessment(?) or not, I feel quite good in a way as I’m recovering my momentum of feeding my blog. Anyway, my painful memory track back is getting easier and clearer. yupi!!

After submitting bl**dy essays (my first 3000 word essay in my life!), I felt just so good. It was like taking off 10 kilogram backpack.
Also the gifts were waiting for us as we arrived at the classroom, everyone seemed happy. (It was also my favorite macers, Isara & Pinar’s birthday!)


This week’s topic was ‘Brand’! I’ve been waiting for this lecture for such a long time, as I thought that we are missing ‘down to earth, commercial’ part of our products while focusing on ‘Innovation’ even if branding has so much power on success of the product. Also, all about Brand is always FUN such as background stories, histories, and concepts. We’ve been through very well known examples such as Apple, and Nike, then talked about the ‘culture’ factor of brand. The beauty of Corrine’s class is that it’s fun! It was the funniest and the most hilarious class ever when Corrine asked Matteo, Steffen, Harry to react in certain circumstances during football match, and Seb played the Kebab shop owner. Also it was the first time that I heard so many different national anthems on one day – I’ve never heard of most of them except American in my life, and it was so different. I like this quite dramatic shift of ideas, examples that Corrine used to give such as this because I would never be able to relate national anthems or football game with cultural factor in Brand.

It was also good to have a look at Corrine’s work which seemed very professional and good. I liked the strategic approach of her for each brand while many designers tend to forget about it, and produce looking-nice, and trendy one. The logo, the first thing people tend to recall when talking about brand, is so small but contains so much ideas and stories in it. That is why I love it and although I’m not capable of being a pure good graphic/brand designer, brand is definitely a fascinating area for me.

Very good class on very good timing!

Filed under: MACE 2009

10 Dec. Trade Fair

Trade fair ideas

– Passport Cover (Corrine’s Idea) : didn’t seem to be sellable as we haven’t got any contents yet…
– Stuffs like for flea market : doesn’t represent our business…
– Christmas Decoration (Corrine’s Idea) : good!
– Pocket Hot pack : as it was so cold…

Then Pinar had a friend who sells handmade leather goods so we had a back up plan to sell them.

However, as it’s the trade fair where we can promote our own business, it seemed more proper to sell something related to our business, or something make people remember our business.
From the idea of Christmas decoration, me and cristina thought that it would be good if we can make some laser cut accessaries (plywood / perplex ) either for decoration or for a necklace using our icons! As I had an access to workshop at Knights Park and could get some materials, it could be possibly free to make them apart from time and effort. But unfortunately it was very busy period at workshop that every art and design students were finalising their project, so couldn’t get a chance to use the machine even if we stayed there all day long asking people around to use the machine for a  moment.

Eventually I printed some business cards, and pinar brought lots of stuff. But as it was quite expensive for students, we couldn’t sell much things… However, we did our best, and it was a nice try. I want to make those  laser cut accessaries anyway when I have a free time, and when the workshop is not busy! 😉

Filed under: MACE 2009

Week #12 4 Dec. Dragon’s den! Best Branding team, yeah!!! thank you Corrine :)

I didn’t know what Dragon’s den was until it started. Again, I haven’t slept at all for the presentation file because I tend to take too much time on tiny little details… But that inefficient effort while being very sick was rewarded when Corrine nominated our team as a best branding team! 😀 Also, during one to one consultation session, we got very positive feedbacks from dragons : one dragon said that it was a very good idea especially for international students like her, and the other said that he didn’t choose us simply because he knew that Corrine will choose us, otherwise that it’s good. Both of dragons gave some very good practical advices and especially Corrine’s advice of making an electronic version of guide so that people can download and print seemed more realistic than our initial plan to make a printed one. It was a good experience to give the presentation of our holistic business plan – from concept to marketing plan, to people who haven’t known our project and to receive feedback from them. Very encouraging session!

Filed under: Design, MACE 2009

Week #11 27 Nov. Finance Finance Finance…

Yes in my memory, this day was the most tiring day of all throughout the semester.

Since we had a debate in the morning for the creative issue module, and I didn’t sleep at all to finalise the presentation file, then fortunately our group had the debate that day, I felt relieved and hence very very tired in the afternoon… then what was waiting for us was FINANCE…which is quite hard core finance for me comparing to the one of Corrine’s last week lecture. It was such a shame that I couldn’t really understand  what Catherine was talking due to the lack of sleep as she seemed really brilliant and tried to explain it in a simple way. But still, I felt that 2 hour session is not enough to cover what we need to know about finance (of course) and it would have been better if we had example cases so that we can calculate by ourselves instead of role playing. Role playing was definitely interesting and I was quite impressed about Wendy who dealt really well with the negotiation that I would never be capable of. Also it showed how the small loan works in the UK in a very simple and clear way, but as it is only the little part, I hope that we will have another in depth session of finance even if I know that I would not enjoy. Bitters do good to the stomach!

Filed under: MACE 2009

Week #10 20 Nov. Business plan and soft finance lecture

This week’s lecture was about how to express your business effectively and how to estimate the cost with an example of hamper basket, along with quite funny singing and dance moves(?) following corrine 😉

It was good to listen about the previous day’s undergraduate students’ business plans from Corrine such as hamper basket idea as a good example and shoes made in China idea as a bad example. It is always easier to judge other’s ideas but when you’re into your own idea, it’s always hard to realise the problems. The example of hamper basket was easy to understand how we tend to forget counting intangible costs such as warehouse, delivery, taxes etc. But at the same time I was wondering how people can manage to sell goods in incredibly cheap price on E bay or numerous online shopping websites especially in Korea. And also, if the cost should be priced considering all these factors, then how much is the actual cost for the actual products? In Korea, there is a saying that  ‘Belly button is bigger than belly.’ and I thought this pricing thing is exactly as it says. That is where the power of mass production is emerging, and as everyone wants to buy good product in cheap price, you never can avoid consumerism or capitalism driven by big companies which made me a bit sad during the session…

Anyway during this class, I realised again that that is why I always consider myself as a bad business person. Apart from my job,  I used to throw house parties in regular basis (say twice a month) preparing all the food (full course from starter to dessert) and drinks and let people pay as they want. Even if it was for my own pleasure to gather friends and colleagues and have a good time, I spent quite a lot of money for that and never got any profits. That is when I realised that it’s hard to make people pay enough to make it work! And as I’m very interested in restaurant business, it’s very important that I know how to let people pay willingly for what they enjoyed. A lot to learn yet…

Filed under: MACE 2009

Week #9 13 Nov. Young Entreprise veterans!

November in general wasn’t my favorite period of the semester.
To be honest, all these registration, business plan, and finance things seemed so tedious and boring for me…even though I’m aware that those things are exactly what I’m missing and I need to learn.

Anyway, there were two nice and kind gentlemen from young entreprise to explain how it works and to answer the questions. It was interesting to listen some other previous cases but when the discussion came to ‘finance & fund raising’ part, it became more and more confusing, and at the end it didn’t make sense to me any more… We even made some jokes during the break time among mace smokers that it is ridiculous that we can’t invest money more than 10 pounds( I don’t remember exactly, and I’m still not understanding exactly how it’s gonna work… but remember that it was ridiculously small amount of money. what are we supposed to do with 50 pounds??)

I got the point that it was to prevent the risk to loose too much money of students, but then again, that is the very core part of business, isn’t it? Then as we talked more about ‘DON’Ts’ than ‘DOs’ for example, the sector of business etc, it was very easy for me to loose focus during the lecture…(I know that it’s bad but I couldn’t avoid… )

However, the very interesting thing that I remember is that they mentioned a group of students who made a kind of kingston guide like ours with a lot of advertisements, to raise money (I remember that it was almost 2000 pounds purely from advertisements) and invested to do their real business project. It sounded great, then the food magazine team said that they couldn’t get any advertisement from the local businesses and I assumed that this is probably because those local businesses already paid last year for that group, and didn’t see any advantages from it, and of course also because of the whole economic climate. So it was the most interesting yet depressing point of the day =)

(Wow I’m quite impressed by myself that I’m remembering quite well about things happened almost 3 months ago 0_0 Go Gin Go!)

Filed under: MACE 2009