Limkokwing University is Malaysia most international university with campuses in Asia, Africa and Europe that has attracted students from over 150 countries. It has a unique philosophy of Merging The Best of East and West that allows its students to criss-cross nations and soak up experiences that strengthens their global knowledge and improves their cultural insights.
The tapestry of Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Dr Lim Kok Wing’s life as captured in glimpses here full endorse his view that creativity opens a wide vista, making life more enriching, more fulfilling and more meaningful. It all lies in how high a person wants to fly because with creativity the sky is the limit and those who are adventurous can mingle with the stars!
He was 29 when he set up his first business — Wings Creativity Consultants — in 1975. It was a bold move because he was muscling into an industry controlled by expatriates and multi-nationals. His perseverance, talent and skills, within a short time catapulted his business into the top rung. He was wooed by an international network and his enterprise grew to become a global business through a merger with the third largest communication network in the world. He broke away to form his own integrated communications organization that created a name for itself for outstanding work.
The creative maestro
He is one Asia’s most well-known communications strategists. He built his campaigns on meaningful messages. Companies, government and humanitarian organization sourced in one man a strategist who was not only highly creative but one who was able to move people, change mindsets, touch the hearts of people and shape opinions. He worked closely with the Malaysian Government delving into cause marketing and relationship building. His abilities made him the perfect person to help South Africa as the country prepared for its first democratic election.
21st century entrepreneur
He is an unusual entrepreneur in that he looks beyond the profit margin for satisfaction. For close to 40 years he has applied his skills in helping the country achieve its objectives, often simplifying complex policies to bridge the information gap between government and people. He has been the kind of entrepreneurship that a developing country, like Malaysia, has needed to transform itself into a thriving prosperous economy. His outstanding entrepreneurial achievements received recognition in 2005 when he was selected the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year for Malaysia.
He has spent the best part of his life brand positioning Malaysia in tourism, education and foreign investment. A perfectionist, he is meticulous in choice of words and matching of visuals in all the work produced to promote the country. As the world shifted to use branding as a business strategy, he relayed its importance to the small and medium sized entrepreneurs, persuading them to invest in building their brands instead of indulging in contract manufacturing. He created an entire gallery dedicated to packaging innovation. The more than 1,000 designs featured in the gallery serve as an ideas bank to provide the sector with ideas that can be used to improve market perception of their products.
The industry icon
He does not look every inch the high-powered corporate figure in appearance. He conducts meetings, presents campaigns, meets business leaders, minus the trappings of a formal business suit with tie and all. But he is sidely respected for his effort to raise the benchmark for industry through creativity and innovation. He constantly confronts Malaysians to rethink the way they run business, often reminding them that the world’s most successful and powerful countries are also the most creative and innovative.
The communications guru
The communications industry has few role models of his calibre, a public figure able to influence minds through thought-provoking campaigns. For someone who started out as a cartoonist struggling to make ends meet, he has more than come a long way — he has chalked up more milestones than he himself can remember. He has won more than 100 awards and he continues to receive accolades for outstanding achievements in advertising, communications and education.
He is a perfectionist with low tolerance for mediocrity. It is a characteristic that has served him well and that has brought him to where he is today.
All through his life he has abhorred conflict. He always sought other more peaceful solutions, sometimes going out of his way to avoid confrontation. This dislike for violence is woven into the fabric of his life. As an advocate for peace he initiated a peace conference hosted by Malaysia. The Kuala Lumpur World Peace Conference 2003 was the first by a Muslim country. The highlight of the event was the peace award which was awarded to the French President Jacques Chirac for outstanding dedication to the peaceful resolution of conflict, courage in defence of principle and commitment to co-operation for peace among the nations of the world.
He is driven by a concern for the next generation and his emphasis on creativity as a competitive edge is now receiving its due recognition after more than a decade of championing its value to business and life.
He changed mindsets helping people to grasp the elusive concept of creativity and thus enabled young people to convince their parents of building careers in creative professions. He brought the world into the classroom through smart partnerships with some of the world’s most established and reputable universities and colleges. He is well respected in the international academic community as a trendsetter who is helping to evolve education to new levels.
The inspiring mentor
He takes a special interest in the next generation, making time for them despite his hectic work schedule. He sees in them the future of the country and gives importance to their training, grooming them to become leaders. The students of his University find inspiration in his words and many have developed into exemplary young people able to multi-task. As a result, he has a corps of young executives who have taken charge of the University’s marketing as well as creative content development for industry.
Being a creative person he has always looked for novel ways to make learning more meaningful to the student. He has taken the non-traditional approach and in the process brought fresh new thinking to the educational process. He set up incubation units to develop new businesses that are natural extensions to the University’s programmes. Students are then able to apply their skills in practical ways and, in the process, pick up entrepreneurial capabilities, as these businesses will be franchised to interested students.
His revolutionary way of handling education has resulted in a campus environment that is now inspiring even the more established universities in developed countries like UK, Australia and New Zealand. He has introduced the concept of Global Classroom and enabled students to shift part of their learning to 170 institutions in 77 countries. This will result in creating graduates who are comfortable with other cultures and able to negotiate with understanding.