We sometimes come up with brilliant ideas. All people think of creative ideas regardless of the field. It can be business items, art work, or new concepts that overturn old ones. However, there are few people who actually implement their ideas as we all know that bringing an idea to reality is difficult. Thus, a senior of the School of Business Administration at Chung-Ang University, who has been making successful inventions with brilliant ideas and passion since she was a teenager, calls for our attention. She invented products that are useful in our daily lives, like crime prevention and connection items. They are Do-It-Yourself (DIY) products that consumers can assemble and make what they want. Let’s listen to student inventor Ahn Hae-yun!
CAH: As it is your last year in CAU, how do you feel about it?
Ahn: I feel sad that it is my last year at CAU because I feel that I’ve grown up so much while attending CAU. I’ve grown up with studying and activities that I attended as a representative of CAU, so I am very thankful to the university for that. Even when I participated in invention competitions outside of the university, I always participated with the name ‘Chung-Ang University’. One activity I’ve participated in at CAU is the Employment Promotion Program that made me experience work as a reporter to report about company recruitment to students.
CAH: What kind of student were you when you were young?
Ahn: I was a student that loved everything except studying. However, I loved to learn something from surrounding people like friends or teachers. At that time, I was so impressed by the phrase ”We can learn something from one person of three strangers.” So when I felt that someone was excellent at doing something, I tried to model myself on that person.
CAH: Why did you enter the School of Business Administration of Chung-Ang University?
Ahn: As CAU recognized my excellence in invention, I could enter Chung-Ang University. I was accepted by the university nonscheduled admission section that evaluates students’ talents. I know that there are only around 18 students that have been accepted by this kind of evaluation. They evaluated what students did for the future rather than grades. The professors who evaluated me noticed my potential, so I was the only student that was accepted in this manner by the School of Business Administration. The reason I entered the School of Business Administration is to learn how to earn money with my inventions. I expected to learn more about the commercial value of ideas and inventions.
CAH: What is your most memorable lecture at CAU?
Ahn: I want to recommend the lecture, ”An entrepreneurial spirit and venture”. There aren’t many lectures where students can experience writing a business plan. I also recommend the new cross-listed foundations course, which is good way for students to learn about foundations and who are slightly interested in invention and the business start-up. I recommend the lecture.
CAH: Do you have a philosophy of invention?
Ahn: The invention itself isn’t important, but learning the way to apply inventions to our lives is important. Maybe it is my philosophy that I am always worrying about my idea whether it is original or not. There is a website made for searching other people’s ideas who have applied for patents. I search the site to confirm if my idea is original or not and I have noticed that people’s ideas are similar. Also, I always think that inventions should be needed by consumers and make money for inventors. I can say these are all my philosophies toward invention.
CAH: What is your favorite invention and why?
Ahn: My favorite one is the chained bollard that I first patented. One day, I noticed that apartment guards were hanging chains on the bollards and it seemed hard to hang and release them. They needed space to store chains and manage them separately from the bollards. I thought about how to revise them and I suddenly recalled the memory of a vacuum cleaner. Just by pushing a button, we can easily arrange the cord of the vacuum cleaner inside. I wanted to apply the same mechanism to the bollard. There was nothing inside the bollard, and I thought it would be comfortable if we put the chains inside the bollard. So I finally made a bollard with built-in-chains. The bollard has sold a lot and many consumers liked it. I am very satisfied with it.
CAH: How do you manage your time while studying and inventing at the same time?
Ahn: I don’t have any knowhow to control my time doing both things. Studying is learning and inventing is how I express my ideas so I think they are well connected. I can get inspiration from the various lectures that include various fields. I don’t exclude some time only to concentrate on inventing. I just continuously think of inventing something. However, when I attend or cover an invention exhibition, I write down some ideas I get for inventions. There are many exhibitions when you visit COEX or KINTEX. I also participated in exhibitions hosted by broadcasting stations or publishing companies.
CAH: Are you participating in any of the clubs in CAU?
Ahn: Actually, I quit university clubs because the members’ pursuit wasn’t the same as mine. Instead of school clubs, I now participate in the Foundation for Female Inventors in Korea. The foundation invites successful female inventors to tell us how to be successful in business. Also, we research and do activities for inventions together. I love to research because I think that the essence of invention is research and I chose writing as a way to arrange my ideas. I am working as a reporter at various institutions including government institutions, broadcasting stations, and companies. I cover many stories from various fields. I thought that there are a lot of things to learn from these activities.
CAH: What brings momentum to your interest in invention?
Ahn: It has been exhibitions that have served as a momentum of my interest in invention. There are a lot of exhibitions for small businesses and big companies. When I go there and look around at the products, I notice the recent trends. Products exhibited at these exhibitions are usually similar to and following the latest trends. There are many products that looked easy to make, so I sometimes become confident that I also can make those kinds of products. They weren’t actually so easy to make, but I became interested with invention thanks to these exhibitions. I sometimes get some ideas from the products at the exhibitions as to how I can revise some uncomfortable parts of those products. It helped me a lot. Also, I try to read about the trends and I try to understand what consumers think when they choose a product. I love to add to and subtract parts from the original products. I usually use a computer drawing program to design them.
CAH: Who is your role model?
Ahn: My role model is my father, who is the closest businessperson I know. He offered me a lot of opportunities to get inspired. My father is a successful businessman, but he isn’t one of the businessmen who are well-educated. Instead of education, he experienced a lot when he started to work in Seoul. I loved hearing his story, and I had opportunities to help my father because the business used to be small. I helped him with mail outs and other chores as well. I watched the business get bigger and bigger. I learned how to sell products and that connected to my experience of looking around at exhibitions. The meaning of the word inspiration I use doesn’t refer to what drives the creative ideas that can be applied to inventions, but rather what drives the effort for success.
CAH: How do you overcome times when you are in a slump?
Ahn: When it is hard to think of an idea, I think that it is because of a shortage of experience and it is at exhibitions where I can encounter many brilliant ideas and analyze products. I get much information and inspiration from many exhibitions. I want to recommend the exhibitions in Stuttgart, Germany and franchise exhibitions in Korea. Also, I talk a lot with reliable people, including my family and friends, so that I don’t have to worry about my ideas escaping. I especially talk a lot with my close friends about what are the hottest products these days.
CAH: Do you have any future plan?
Ahn: I am inventing steadily and making profits from it. As I have to graduate this year, I am considering entering a company, but if I won’t earn as much money as I am earning now, I will be worried. Maybe the best way would be to make business partners with people inside the company and to create our own company. One day, I was heavily inspired by the words that the place to find the best business partners is inside the company where you work. There are a lot of cases of people making a team of business partners from inside a company and leaving the company to make their own company. I can learn a lot from meeting a lot of people. I am also thinking about entering a company and meeting my partners. Business start-up isn’t hard and when you make profits from something, it is a business start-up too. I lack the infrastructure to produce my inventions, so I am now selling my patents to companies.
CAH: Can you give some advice to students who are afraid of starting invention or business start-up?
Ahn: I want to recommend the book title “Originals” to those students. Generally, many other books say that it is necessary to take risks if the company wants to succeed. However, in this book, the author says that risk taking is not necessary in making a successful business. The successful businessmen are willing to avoid risks in any situation. Some people know that some successful businessmen quit their studies and buried themselves into the business. However, in fact, they were all in the state of a leave of absence from school. They considered the situation that if they failed in the business, they would be able to return to school. I think someone who is afraid of trying out should read this book. Business is now being acknowledged as a risky thing, but even a successful businessman is careful when they start a new business. They consider the possibility of failure and profits. They adjust an account minutely to survive. I am also doing things that way too. Even there are many students who quit school and get into business; I continue doing my studies at school because I am afraid of the possibility of failure. That’s why I do study and business at the same time.
Did you enjoy the conversation with inventor Ahn Hae-yun? Many of you may be inspired a lot from her words. Her brilliant ideas may came from the deep thinking she always does. She tries to learn something from every person she meets and tries to get inspired by the world she sees every day. This attitude made her succeed at such an early age. If you want to succeed in business like her, how about getting some advice from her words? CAH hopes that every CAU student to be as passionate in their lives as she is.< 저작권자 © 중앙헤럴드 무단전재 및 재배포금지 >