How not to innovate – North Korean style

not-innovationI passionately believe in the power of information flows to increase trade, peace, understanding and to innovate ourselves out of future problems.

Image to the left shows children in the building using an 'arcade game' to simulate artillery and mortar fire on a battlefield.

Having had the recent privilege to travel through North Korea recently, I experienced a lesson in exactly how not to innovate. While visiting the 'Science and Technology Park' in Pyongyang, it was yet another lesson in how nothing is what it seems in the DPRK.

Take a look at the video I shot below. This is just one part of the Sci-Tech park with hundreds of unused computers. On closer inspection, it was clear that keyboards looked untouched and chairs clearly unused.

When asking the guides why no one appeared to be present, it's the same answer you get to the same question asked in nearly every other 'shining example of the DPRK' - 'The people are welcome to use the facilities. It's just they're working or at school'. Yeah right I thought!

Ideas really are the only resource that expands rather than depletes the more we use them. This experience only reinforced the importance of being able to share them and a reminder of how we must never lose sight of our ability to do so. Internet freedom ought to be a human right!

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