[Attention, Hanyangians!] Having Applied for 1,000 Patents over 23 Years, Kim Dong-won's Inventions Continue
"Will create an innovative kitchen appliance that will become 'the 2nd Styler'"
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Kim Dong-won, Hanyang alumnus and Director of the H&A Based Research Lab of LG Electronics has applied for 1,000 patents over the past 23 years. He is also the person who developed the clothing quality caring appliance, the Styler, and a laundry machine called the Twin Wash that has a combination of a drum washer and a top-loader washer. Kim received the Invention King of the Year award in 2019, which is the highest honor among all engineers, for the achievements that he has made in developing industrial competency.
Kim graduated from Hanyang University's Department of Mechanical Engineering, finished his masters and doctorate at KAIST, and entered LG Electronics in 1996. Rather than studying pure academics, he wanted to use the knowledge that he acquired and provide an easier life for people through the creation of new products. The first team that he was assigned to was a group that was developing clothing equipment such as washing machines and dryers, which allowed him to focus on clothing-related home appliances for the next 20 years.
The Styler that he developed came from a thought about how to make fewer visits to the cleaners. Considering that people could reduce the daily inconvenience of going to the cleaners and then having to return to pick up their clothing, he researched at least 5~6 times a day, and sometimes up to 10 times. After 9 years of research, the Styler was released in 2011. While in the beginning, its selling profit was not very high, in the end, it created a new market called "clothing quality caring appliances" and reached its highest selling volume in February.
Moreover, Kim is also the developer of the Twin Wash, a laundry machine that has a combination of both drum washer and top-loader washer. The Twin Wash was a great success, recording 10 thousand sales within just 12 weeks. There have been more than 1,000 patents including the Styler and the Twin Wash, both of which he applied for after entering LG Electronics. On average, Kim has applied for a new patent every week. His numerous inventions led him to receive the the Invention King of the Year award. This award is only given once a year to one inventor that has highly contributed to industrial development and national competency through technology development, and is considered the greatest honor among all engineers.
Then, what is the secret to his inventing skills? At an interview with the Seoul Press on May 5th, Kim mentioned that "every time I want to give up, I ask myself whether the product that I am working on truly holds value from the perspective of customers." He added that "while asking myself this question over and over, I come up with the confidence that I can provide customers with better benefits and values." He also mentioned that "I also tell my younger co-workers that if they are confident that a product will be valuable to customers, then they should not give up on it despite the difficult process."
Kim still does not know the word "pause." "Washing and drying clothing is one of the most tedious house chores," Kim continued, "but I want to persist in developing clothing-related appliances so that they can help reduce the working hours inside the house and make the chores more convenient so that customers can use their time more valuably." He also mentioned that he is "planning to create an appliance that can create a brand new field of demand in kitchen appliances, which can be called 'the 2nd Styler.'"
Global News Team
Translation by: Lee Won-young
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