Saturday, April 25, 2009

Costello in Korea: Knowledge Transfer Research Market Analysis

Costello in Korea: Knowledge Transfer Research Market Analysis

1. What is the domain (or domains) of knowledge transfer to which your research most clearly applies? What features of your research locate it in this domain?

PUBLIC DOMAIN: My research conducted for coursework requirements over the last five years has been readily posted to my blog site as an attempt to share these resources with other students and/or readers interested in my field(s) of studies. It is made available freely as evidence of continued efforts for possible private domain employment and no income from its use is directly generated by me. A recent controversy in Korea surrounding a local blogger code-named Minerva implicates dilemmas concerning free access to information which the government deems harmful to the national economy. My awareness of this case moderates my blog publishing activities however the issue is often overlooked in the case of expatriates who are often singled out by the Korean press when they make unfavorable comments about Korea or Korean culture. I feel my blog represents a more global perspective on international business and thus attract little if any negative attention. By contrast readers of my blog may be so confounded by its seeming irrelevance to the average reader that my efforts at contributing to knowledge diffusion are somewhat ineffectual.

PRIVATE DOMAIN: Any associated contractual research or knowledge production I have conducted or may conduct on a fees-based level remains the IP of the principle buyer and resides in the private domain. This research would not be publically posted by me and might even fall under rules of nondisclosure. For example I am not in some cases permitted even to reveal the employers of my private domain research. This would be in terms of publications where perhaps even my identity is not disclosed.

2. Given the knowledge transfer domain(s) in which you are working, what avenues for commercialisation are possible for your research. Why?

AVENUES: These include knowledge production reports, case studies, desk and interviews based research papers to fulfill policy proposals for key stakeholders in government, non-profit or business at this time. Contract research and consultancy opportunities exist in Korea either through local agents or foreign government or business research requirements often on a haphazard scale. For example, my last research proposal was generated by a contract lead enquiry in Germany who happened to search and found my profile listing consultancy offers of availability. His hometown is Wollongong so my studies there reassured him of my competency. Previous to this an agent in the UK unaccustomed to regional research contacts connected with me through a CV posting page on the UK Embassy in Korea website.

3. Does a particular market, or set of market segments, stand out as a potential consumer/purchaser of your research product or service? What characteristics differentiate this market from others?

I am particularly aware of a number of government agencies in Canada which may perhaps seek my services in contractual research projects focusing on Canada-Korea free trade issues while here in Korea in the near future. For example, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has had a challenging time with its negotiations possibly due to an exclusive Korea desk operation preferring to handle its affairs in Korea jointly with those in Japan through a regional north-east Asia desk located in Tokyo. I am making myself known to them slowly as there are many factors in Canada's political economic milieu which discourages actual field based contributions to policy development.

As well, research projects through the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, a government sponsored non-profit located in Vancouver are endeavoring to increase awareness of Canada's expatriate contributions to its economic success. I have indicated willingness to participate in their projects. Through the Forum for International Trade Training in Canada a national certification agency for international trade learning I have made critical assessments of evaluation strategies and was satisfied to see new openings in international trade training evaluation specialization quickly following my suggestions. Is it mere coincidence? Perhaps. A similar series of suggestions made to government officials may have resulted in a decision to open the Virtual Trade Commissioner Service in 2003.

CANADA: Highly competitive with many resident experts on international trade. As of yet, no real offers for contractual research assignments however my search for them has only actually begun.

KOREA: Highly competitive yet with perhaps fewer expatriate experts on international trade. My developing association with the Korea Institute of Management Evaluation may lead to some interesting networking opportunities in the field of innovative and incubated start-up businesses either directly producing or developing new technologies and services. My role will be as a quality evaluator for the purpose of generating comparative data for annual global innovation awards in conjunction with KIME, The Seoul Economic Daily and government funded sponsorship. These efforts may lead to consulting opportunities.

AUSTRALIA: Highly competitive with many resident experts on international trade. I am less familiar with Australia's Korean market-based knowledge production needs but hope to gain some competencies ongoing through this course.

4. Are particular elements of the model for small business financial structure (provided) likely to be more challenging to quantify than others? How might you go about addressing this challenge?

While reading snippets of The Bootstrapper’s Bible I recall the teachings of Dr. Jack Sheriff, my favourite English Literature Professor at Acadia. He instilled the concept that one's business must be self-sufficient enough to fit in a briefcase and thanks in no small part to this I am endeavoring to make my value as a contractual market researcher as cost effective as possible. I want and need to be in the right places at the right times with the right skills needed. Through association with KIME my Korean local distribution may be fairly inexpensive, and advertising will also be free, while my local presence now entering its thirteenth year may provide me with the relationship development equity which may penetrate otherwise difficult to access government contracts-based employment opportunities usually off-limits to expatriates. This will also increase my local equity as well as global usefulness to either Canadian or Australian-based projects. As a freelancer with full-time employment my financial structure is quite simple. I have no overhead. However it is a gray area for income tax purposes as contractual research conducted in country and paid for outside of it is considered non-taxable income for a resident expatriate as it registers no local employment. The value chain is: zero marketing and product development costs, no variable expenses, while at the same time no known or estimated revenue however no debts, access to credit, and combined assets. However these would not fit in the briefcase. Reliance on the balanced score card approach to finance may fully apply in later years when (or if) I reach a stage when consulting might sustain my income without an alternate full-time employment.


Godin, Seth (2004), The Bootstrapper's Bible, ChangeThis [Accessed: April 24, 2009]

Gascoigne, Toss, and Metcalfe, Jenni (2005), Commercialisation of Research Activities in the Humanities, Arts And Social Sciences in Australia, Council for Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, Dept of Education, Science and Training, Canberra

Howard, John (2005), The Emerging Business of Knowledge Transfer: Creating Value from Intellectual Products or Services, Dept of Education, Science and Training, Canberra

Choe, Sang Hun (2009), "South Korea Frees Blogger Who Angered Government," April 20, 2009, The New York Times, The New York Times Company, New York [Accessed: April 24, 2009]

Wright, C (2003) Promoting Demand, Gaining Legitimacy, and Broadening Expertise: The Evolution of Consultancy-Client Relationships in Australia, Kipping, M. and Engwall, L. (Eds.) Management Consulting: Emergence and Dynamics of A Knowledge Industry, pp. 184-202, Oxford, Oxford University Press

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