Serendipity, Key to Innovation

Most of you must be familiar with the romantic movie “Serendipity,” named after a cozy and peaceful restaurant in New York – the scene of a chance encounter that evolves into destined love.

Meaning “fortuitous happenstance” or “pleasant surprise,” serendipity has also come to refer to a key concept in the science arena as it acts as one of the tools for avoiding blind spots and for reaching full maturity in technology.

At one of our affiliates is a passionate engineer, Dr. Jong Cheol Lim, who believes innovation can better flourish with the mindset of serendipity. And our colleagues at Cheil Industries – specializing in electronic materials and chemicals – recently got a chance to sit down with Dr. Lim, who leads the company’s Manufacturing and Engineering Team.  



Dr. Lim had contributed greatly to developing a wide array of new-type resin such as TOC (transparent opaque color) resin for frame of LCD TV, high chemical and impact resistant resin for smart phone, and automotive interior / exterior resin. These cutting-edge materials play a crucial role in creating innovative electronic devices.

More fascinating than his notable accomplishment is the philosophy and spirit he brings to workplace while conducting research. Without further ado, why don’t we glimpse into his thoughts on pursuing innovation?


Dr. Lim’s TOC method adds a beautiful red tint to the TV


We are aware you have received many awards for inventing various innovative materials and manufacturing methods. Can you let us know what those accomplishments were?

Dr. Lim: I have been honored with recognition for inventions such as high functional plastic material for LED application, the world’s first transparent eco-friendly flame retardant polycarbonate resin, transparent opaque color manufacturing method and high functional ABS/PA alloy resin.


Where do you usually get ideas for innovation?

Dr. Lim: I don’t think innovation comes out of the blue. Rather, we can find novel things from relentlessly evaluating and verifying a wide range of ideas which are potentially valuable.





Well then, is there any effective way to measure the degree of success for each idea?

Dr. Lim: In my opinion, one of the key factors in determining whether an idea is successful is the employment rate in the market; in other words, whether the idea has become part of a general trend or not. Measuring the number of fields, which had adopted the idea, could be critical in determining its effectiveness.


What do you believe are the virtues of a competent researcher?

Dr. Lim: Firstly, researchers should have great interest in what they are doing and enjoy discovering novel things in general. Since not every one of us is born a genius, we can’t easily expect every research to produce an outstanding result in a single trial. Researchers should be able to devote themselves to a task for a long time and have the patience to wait for the desirable output.


What is your future vision?

Dr. Lim: I believe a true leader should ultimately be the “First Mover,” and not the “Fast Follower.” It is far easier for a follower to catch up to the similar level of the first mover because the way to reach there already exists and is disclosed to the public.

However, the first mover has greater responsibility because the way it is about to go is a totally new one, the one which needs to be created from now on. If asked, I would say my dream is to make a noticeable contribution to transforming our team and Cheil Industries Inc. into a prominent First Mover in the industry.



Related Samsung Village story:

Cheil Industries, More Than Meets The Eye



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