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[Fourth industrial revolution by Lee Minwha] Call for Responsive and Responsible Leadership2017-02-20Hit:652

The driving force for the implementation of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is leadership. Perhaps, this is the reason the Davos Forum, which discussed the 4th Industrial Revolution last year, has set ‘responsive and responsible leadership’ as the main theme this year. The 4th Industrial Revolution is the human challenge to uncertainty. The forum has suggested responsiveness and responsibility as the key elements for leadership that can lead the uncertain future.

Responsive and responsible leadership will be design leadership that starts from realizing the current phenomena and stakeholders’ perceptions and responding to them, and presenting an implementable vision of a virtuous cycle. The role of a great leader on a white horse cannot be overemphasized in highly uncertain times. We need to remember the history of Germany and many other nations confused by the populist fake leadership that only spoke sweetly but was completely irresponsible. Truly responsive and responsible leadership will focus on designing the future with recognition of the true reality.


The 4th Industrial Revolution is a revolution in which reality and imagination converge around human beings. Disruptive innovations such as the Internet of Things (IoT), big data, cloud, artificial intelligence (AI), and block chain are reinventing the world. Existing companies and jobs will disappear and new companies and jobs will emerge to meet human needs. In the 4th Industrial Revolution, although the whole is growing, each individual is highly uncertain, and many people are feeling the mixed emotions of expectation and anxiety. We need leaders who can come up with responsible alternatives to many uneasy and anxious questions such as ‘Can I keep my job? Will the future be a better place? Will the market economy last? Will the income gap go down?’ through communication.


To this end, the Davos Forum calls for the following four concrete responses for leaders in order to deliver actionable solutions based on the breadth and complexity of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and the courage and dedication to take action from the perspective of core values.


①  Future-oriented policies and systems to cope with rapid changes in technological, economic, social, and political areas, departing from the existing ones.

② A new comprehensive market economy system that includes the cyclical economy and shared economy, and ensures transparency, social responsibility and citizenship.

③ Building a social infrastructure involving educational innovation that can maximize the positive effect of the 4th Industrial Revolution that will lead the destructive changes and minimize the negative consequences.

④  Establishing a new global corporative platform of infrastructure that recognizes the world as a part of the community and respects the mutual identity and dignity for the new age.

The Davos Forum offers the following 14 system initiatives in terms of designing the future rather than predicting it: Design of future consumption, Design of technology and the legal system for the future digital economy society, Designing a virtuous cycle structure of growth and social integration, Future design of education and labor, Design of the sustainability of smart energy, Sustainable design of the environment and resources, Design of future finance and currency, Preparation for the future of food and agriculture, Designing to prepare for aging and health, Future design for information and entertainment, Design for future trade and investment, Future design of infrastructure investment and development, and Designing for the future manufacturing industry. These are all Korea’s benchmarks.


Now, the 4th Industrial Revolution is moving beyond the concept phase to the global implementation stage. The 4th Industrial Revolution in Korea should be carried out promptly and wisely with strong national leadership in view of the time limit caused by the fact that in ten years Korea will become an aged society. Fortunately, the budget of more than 430 billion won is allocated for the 4th Industrial Revolution this year. If this precious budget is well utilized under responsive and responsible leadership, a second Miracle on the Han River of Korea will be opened. I recommend reforming the regulation on data over technology regulation as a top priority.



Denying the 4th Industrial Revolution will only weaken the leadership of national innovation. That is why we need responsive and responsibility leadership that maps out the concept and vision of the 4th Industrial Revolution through communication.



Contact : Lee, Sohyun ( sohyun.c.lee@kaist.ac.kr )

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