C-Lab’s Ideas Partner – Insung Lee

on November 23, 2018
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  • In-sung Lee is a Project Partner in Samsung’s Center for Creativity Development who’s tasked with selecting and managing C-Lab projects.
  • Created in December of 2012, C-Lab (Creative Lab) is an in-house idea incubation program that was started to help Samsung employees turn their innovative ideas into reality.
  • Lee strongly believes that good ideas come in all shapes and forms.
  • To help ensure that the best of the best projects get made, Lee has developed his own unique criteria for evaluating C-Lab submissions.


For some, good ideas are hard to come by.


That, however, is not the case for In-sung Lee. As a Project Planner in Samsung’s Center for Creativity Development, Lee comes across great ideas every day. It’s his job to select the best of the best out of Samsung employees’ C-Lab submissions. The innovative ideas that receive his seal of approval take one big step closer to becoming reality.


But what exactly is Samsung’s C-Lab program, and how does Lee select which projects will be developed? Read on to find out.



Creativity Is Key

C-Lab is Samsung Electronics’ in-house startup incubation program that was created to bring its employees’ most innovative ideas to life.


Lee is not only in charge of selecting C-Lab submissions, he’s also in charge of incubation, as well as analyzing selected ideas’ marketability, making sure that the development process remains on track, and identifying the most desirable path for each project.


Creativity is key when it comes to C-Lab submissions. To help get their creative juices flowing, Samsung regularly hosts interactive employee events like the recent Idea Mix Hackathon, pictured above.


Part of the process of assessing C-Lab projects’ commercial potential involves presenting the innovations at relevant exhibitions. Here we see a showcase for IGNIS, a thermal imaging camera that helps firefighters locate people who need to be rescued.


Lee regularly organizes interactive exhibitions and hackathons that nurture employees’ creativity and encourage them to come up with the sort of dynamic ideas that would be perfect for C-Lab. As he notes, Samsung employees represent a wide range of backgrounds and expertise, and the ideas that they dream up are just as interesting and diverse.



Evaluating ‘Big Picture’ Potential

Lee studied mechanical engineering at university, and began his career at Samsung Electronics as a developer. Since joining the Center for Creativity Development, he’s continuously wrestled with the question of how to define an unequivocally good idea. The answer, he’s found, is not so cut and dry.


“There are generally two types of ideas that get submitted to C-Lab,” says Lee. “The first are ideas that address existing pain points, while the second are ideas that uncover potential needs or address new trends. While good ideas can come from anywhere, in my experience I’ve found that there is no absolutely good idea.”


Lee believes that it’s nearly impossible to effectively judge C-Lab submissions by relying solely on his background as an engineer. This makes it important to evaluate each potential project through a much wider lens. “Each idea has its own extraordinary story,” Lee explains. “Not only do they have the power to add more convenience to people’s daily lives; they also have the potential to transform the world.”



Selecting the Best of the Best

Since he became in charge of selecting ideas for C-Lab projects, Lee has created his own criteria for picking the best of the best.


“Whenever I review a proposal, I utilize the so-called 2W1H (What, Why, How) interview technique to try to get a sense of the idea’s true value,” says Lee. “I ask questions like, ‘What is the idea at its core?’, ‘Why is it important or necessary now?’, and ‘How do you plan to make your idea a reality?’”


According to Lee, the ideas that tend to catch his eye are those that came about as solutions for frustrating problems. These are ideas in which Samsung employees apply their on-the-job experience developing innovative technologies to identify entirely new ways to utilize those technologies to streamline daily life. As Lee notes, “These types of ideas clearly answer [the 2W1H’s] ‘how to implement the idea’ question.”


Lee takes great joy in his work, and is always looking forward to hearing Samsung employees’ next innovative C-Lab proposal.


“I love watching their eyes light up when they present their ideas,” says Lee. “We’re currently in the process of selecting next year’s projects, and I can’t wait to see what they come up with next.”

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