Friday, November 25, 2016

DIGITAL ECONOMY: How Can Small Business Lead in the Fourth Industrial Revolution?

By Francis Sollano

It was at the dawn of 18th century that we learned to harness the power of water and steam, paving way for the First Industrial Revolution. What followed this was electric power, which provided breakthroughs in mechanical production and manufacturing. Across major industries, these two industrial revolutions broke down the traditional craft-based manufacturing, introduced assembly line processing, and eventually paved the way for automation. While the Third Industrial Revolution, rooted in information technology and data synthesis, has radically changed industries globally, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is taking it a step further, bringing the digital and physical world together and accelerating change.

What can this technological revolution offer to emerging businesses and developing markets? Will technological advancement even the playing field for smaller enterprises? Can the giants innovate themselves fast enough that they can continue to supersede the emerging small and medium-sized local enterprises? Or will the Fourth Industrial Revolution transform the way we think the relationships between enterprises big and small?

Let’s start by defining what we’re talking about.

Described as the immeasurable influx of new innovations - from the higher form of artificial intelligence, cost-efficient 3D printing, autonomous vehicles, nanotechnology, to advances in medical science - the Fourth Industrial Revolution brings together these disruptive elements, fundamentally breaking down systems and affecting  the way the majority of us live and engage in commerce. But MSMEs in particular stand to benefit the most compared to their larger counterparts.  This industrial change is forcing various industries to rethink their ‘outdated’ and ‘broken’ systems in the age of Instagram, Facebook and Uber.  These disruptive technological elements will impact enterprises beyond manufacturing and systems, and are posed to affect job creation and market viabilities.

In the midst of that, entrepreneurs have an opportunity to lead - by building their own solutions or working with the giants to change how they do things. What’s getting in the way of small businesses being able to lead the way for industry?

Collaborating for Stronger Infrastructure

While the Fourth Industrial Revolution leads us to unprecedented technological innovation, ASEAN SME’s still lack the ability to access big data infrastructure.  Moreover, weak performance of SMEs over the past years is attributed to the information and technology gaps and difficulties in accessing investment-heavy production technologies.  A study by Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) in 2013 reveals that ASEAN Strategic Action Plan for SME Development 2010-2015 had limited impact on facilitating SMEs access to data infrastructures, information, market and human resource developments and technology.

These innovations can only be fully benefitted by small and medium enterprises (SME’s) if the proper technological and physical infrastructure are set in place.  The success of the SME sector across the ASEAN region lies heavily on the support awarded to it by private and public partnerships.  Having to leverage these innovations will require the collaborative effort of scientists, larger manufacturers and creatives to share the same vision of bringing innovation to the streets, and ultimately drive regional and global economy and solidify inclusive growth.  It is an imperative that governments understand the need to prioritize SME development to promote inclusive economic growth across the ASEAN region.

"The definition of “excellent service” is now more fluid than ever; for example, consumer behaviors are now shifting greatly towards mobile networking and data coverage."

Innovating Customer Relationships for the Digital Age

As collaborative efforts are still on their way for emerging SMEs in ASEAN, the introduction of successful start-ups in the region is an opportunity for our enterprises to succeed as second-mover innovators.  The success of global digital platforms are learning opportunities for SMEs and emerging enterprises to enrich their customer’s experience, further product research and development, strengthen cost-effective sales and marketing strategies, and improve product distribution and logistics.

Martha Sazon, senior vice president for Globe myBusiness shares that unlike other consumer markets, for SMEs, excellent service and great customer experiences are a must because every second where communication lines falter, business opportunities are lost. The definition of “excellent service” is now more fluid than ever; for example, consumer behaviors are now shifting greatly towards mobile networking and data coverage.  SMEs, in order to capture their niche and selected markets, have to design their businesses and models to be receptive towards these platforms and channels.

Adapting to the New Labor Market

Artificial intelligence and machine learning have started to replace existing jobs.  This phenomenon is already extending to vocations that used to seem out of the reach of computer intelligence, including law practice, screenwriting, art and fashion.

In the face of this, small businesses must reexamine the roles that they offer - as well as the roles that they as businesses can play in the market of knowledge and services. By analyzing these trends, we will be able to understand employment opportunities for emerging business and adapt new skill sets required for these emerging SMEs to succeed.  Several studies have shown that by the next 20 years, majority of the jobs we know now will be drastically altered by technological developments.  The academe and employment sector therefore have important roles to play in forecasting these job trends and to prepare the necessary human capital. The Philippines, among others, have to prepare its soil as a fertile training ground for start-up entrepreneurs and job-seekers in managing and growing their businesses, while benefitting from technologies.

While SMEs occupy the largest chunk of registered businesses in the Philippines and within the ASEAN region, it is still undeniable that small businesses will have challenging times grappling with the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Yet the strength of SMEs is their ability to be adaptive to varying economic climates as compared to larger competition.  

It is timely for this topic to be discussed in greater depths in the coming Open Collaboration with East Asia New Champions (OCEAN) come November 24 - 26, 2016 in Bohol, Philippines.  OCEAN is a biennial gathering in the Philippines that brings leaders across sectors to connect, discover new ideas, and shape a more creative and innovative future together.  Leaders across industries will discuss and aim to understand these radically changing entrepreneurial environments and uncover opportunities for SMEs. ASEAN will be an even more dynamic business region as its leaders and emerging entrepreneurs use these technological innovations and platforms to further economic and inclusive growth.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is within our midst. It is about to impact everyone in almost all aspects of our lives. Small businesses can lead the way through the changes coming up - if they’re ready to take on both the challenges and the opportunities ahead.

This post is part of a blog series promoting Open Collaboration with East Asia New Champions (OCEAN) Summit 2016 in Bohol on November 24-26, 2016, with the theme: The Future of Industry and Impact. There will be a session on Powering Small Business: MSMEs in the digital economy. To know more and participate, go to

ASEAN integrating the newest economic power

By Carlo Delantar

As members of the ASEAN community, we have all heard of the joint effort for integration called - the Asean Economic Community (AEC). The AEC is an effort to work together as an economic power where a single market and production base allow for the free flow of goods, services, investments and skilled labor. A region fully integrated into the global economy, the AEC could be the 4th largest economy in the world.

The AEC comprises 10 ASEAN Members – Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam – and each country presents a dynamic economic background. By linking up the less developed economies with the more developed ones, the AEC will catalyze more equitable economic development across the region. ASEAN has some of the highest digital adoption in the world and a large population of youth under 30. How can this favor continuous inclusive integration around the region?

Many countries are now trying to ‘leapfrog' from newly developing countries towards becoming technologically advanced ones. Brick and mortar businesses are constantly learning to adapt with new technologies and keep up with the rising digital disruptions in their respective industries. Infrastructure-wise, this has given the AEC an advantage to adjust as part of an integrated world in an accelerated pace. With more than 67 million households in ASEAN states becoming part of the “consuming class,” we see a strong shift towards modernization.

In the Philippines, there are numerous initiatives from all sectors. The  Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and Ideaspace Foundation (Ideaspace) recently launched the QBO Innovation Hub. QBO aims to link innovators, explorers, investors, academic institutions, start-up mentors, funders and enablers as well as a broad spectrum of partners and stakeholders from both public and private sectors to convene in constructive interaction. It also serves as an avenue for micro, small and medium entrepreneurs (MSMEs) to collaborate and explore opportunities that disruptive technologies can offer.

Another initiative is the Philippine’s first Fabrication Laboratory (FabLab) shared service facility in Bohol. A project funded by the The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Bohol Island State University (BISU),  and the Department of Science and Technology, this collaboration aims to provide local manufacturers, designers and artists to prototype innovations and inventions. With the help of technology, FabLab provides grassroots communities translate concepts into reality.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution[2] presents AEC a myriad of challenges to keep up with global competition. For instance, local brick and mortar businesses are under pressure to analyze all data attributed to their respective industries to keep up with global businesses that are now targeting their region. As the general population moves towards digital connectivity, metrics can be easily measured and analyzed, providing greater efficiency and accuracy in the pursuit of doing better business.

With all these rising concerns, countries in of AEC have created forums and conferences tackling regional disruption and what is needed to be competitive in the global scene. The Open Collaboration with East Asia New Champions (OCEAN) Summit to be held in Bohol on November 24-26, 2016 aims to address this topic for the Philippines specifically the breakout session aptly called: The Next Economic Power: Navigating the ASEAN Collaboration.

This post is part of a blog series promoting Open Collaboration with East Asia New Champions (OCEAN) Summit 2016 in Bohol on November 24-26, 2016, with the theme: The Future of Industry and Impact. There will be a session on Innovation for All: Democratizing the Fourth Industrial Revolution. To know more and participate, go to

The Almost of Everything

By Adrian Bonifacio   

Data is the new oil.

This is the unofficial slogan of big data advocates. It refers to big data’s immense value once it has been refined through analytics. In this community, there is a palpable sense that big data is at the precipice of a revolution.

For those hearing the slogan for the first time, the image that big data evokes is a field comprised purely of numbers—and only statisticians are welcome. But data scientists and analytics firms don’t gather data just because they like numbers. They desire the method in the madness. They actually like pictures—the insightful images drawn up by the numbers.

Corporations and businesses usually gather and analyze data to grasp the nuances of their customer’s behavioral patterns. When and where is the best time to sell? Who will buy the most?

Government-led initiatives on data, meanwhile, revolve around transparency, mapping, recording, and improving social services. In the Philippines, there is so much potential for the country to leverage data to drive social progress, such as better weather forecasting for agriculture and disaster preparedness or the redesign of city mobility based on vehicular and pedestrian traffic.

For development practitioners such as myself, data serves as evidence of impact. We extract data to prove that a solution works well. This is where refining comes in—what qualifies as good data? What should be tracked—which numbers represent impact?

As such, refinement is an integral and crucial aspect of big data. Data that is unrefined is inefficient and even dangerous. Imagine all the decisions made by each stakeholder—ranging from policy-level that affects an entire nation to the very personal that charts a family’s future—these are transformative decisions that should not rely on unreliable or faulty data.

"Unlike oil, data is an unlimited resource. Every day, we are creating new touchpoints that can be marked and measured."

Unlike oil, data is an unlimited resource. Every day, we are creating new touchpoints that can be marked and measured.

Somewhere in a rural countryside, a farmer is hiding from the heat by wrapping her head and arms in strips of old cloth. She is harvesting spinach from her backyard. She stands up and considers whether to cook or sell the produce—and wonder when the next harvest would be. Lost to her is the importance of this moment: a data touchpoint—arguably, just as valuable a resource—has been created anew.

Given a large enough dataset, an algorithm will likely predict what happens to our farmer—what her yield would be, when is the best time to plant her spinach, whether she should cook or sell.

Big data bridges gaps in knowledge and lays out the world as a giant pattern of predictable behavior.

This is where the discussion on privacy enters. Do you know what data you are sharing? How much data are you sharing? How much of it should you share in the first place?

This is why people are unnerved when they see ads and posts in Facebook that sounds a little too similar to their Google search. How valuable is your personal data? It’s so valuable that corporations have to spend billions and billions acquiring other companies when all they really want is their data. Your data.

"While it may be the precursor to knowing the almost of everything, big data will not always spit out the exact answer you are looking for."

The 2011 film Moneyball depicts the real-life story of how data and analytics was leveraged by Billy Beane, then general manager of the baseball team, the Oakland Athletics. Beane’s challenge was how to compete against other teams with much larger budgets that could afford to put the biggest star players in their payrolls. With his staff, Beane went an unconventional route of putting together a team of undervalued and unheralded players—an “island of misfits”—based purely on a statistical model.

It didn’t matter if the guy was a confident young star on the rise or a savvy veteran with a great curveball—the question became: what was his win-share rating? What was his on base percentage? What was his salary?

The shift in mindset bucked the trend of traditional intuition-driven scouting and gave way to empirical analysis. Mid-way through the movie, Beane finally had his team of statistically sound players.

Yet they still kept on losing games. It turns out that the coach wasn’t playing the line-ups Beane drew up. Beane’s model forgot to include the coach’s stubborn refusal to venture into uncharted territory. It wasn’t until Beane forced the coach’s hand (by trading away all of the coach’s favored players) did the team start using the data-driven line-ups.Right after, the team rattled 20 wins in a row, a record-breaking achievement that carried them to the playoffs. They lost three games to two.

Data is only useful when it’s being used to drive action, otherwise it remains a jumble of numbers and text.  And there are x-factors—the coach—that remain outside the grasp of prediction.

And while it may be the precursor to knowing the almost of everything, big data will not always spit out the exact answer you are looking for. In this massive space of bits and pieces, the compelling possibilities lie deeper—it is in the discovery of answers to questions that haven’t even been asked yet.

Where do you think data will take us next? Respond in the comments below.

This post is part of a blog series promoting Open Collaboration with East Asia New Champions (OCEAN) Summit 2016 in Bohol on November 24-26, 2016, with the theme: The Future of Industry and Impact. There will be a session on Innovation for All: Democratizing the Fourth Industrial Revolution. To know more and participate, go to

Only Inclusive Companies Will Thrive in the Digital Revolution

By Kathleen Largo

The Fourth Industrial Revolution will be built within an inclusive culture, and it will start with technology.

When more people around the world have more access to mobile phones than to electricity or water, it must mean that the digital revolution has already arrived. But the World Bank’s 2016 World Development Report says that it hasn’t dawned yet because the possibilities have not translated well to its supposed benefits.

The spread of digital technologies over the last 20 years has been rapid and exciting, but the broader development benefits from using these technologies are lagging behind.

Digital technologies can promote inclusion, efficiency, and innovation. When industries and organizations enhance access to digital technologies, it can accelerate growth, create more jobs, and deliver better public services in a country.

According to the report, the benefits of rapid digital expansion have been skewed towards the wealthy, skilled, and influential around the world, who are better positioned to take advantage of new technologies. Although the number of internet users worldwide has more than tripled since 2005, four billion people still don’t have access. The Philippines alone is one of the fastest growing markets in terms of penetration (at 117%) for digital technologies with around 119 million mobile phone subscribers, yet our country has the sixth largest number of people who are not connected to the internet in Southeast Asia.

Decision-makers and leaders will need to adapt and catch up, but what about those with less power and capabilities?

To meet the promise of technological revolution means tapping into the innovative potential of everybody, regardless of gender, social status, and location. Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, pointed out that there are four main effects of the Fourth Industrial Revolution on business: on customer expectations, on collaborative innovation, on product enhancement, and on organizational forms. The challenge now is in making technology more accessible and more inclusive so that nobody will get left behind.

What can businesses do to thrive in the fourth industrial revolution?

1. Turn ‘overwhelm’ into ‘opportunity’

Game-changing innovations create new customer expectations. According to’s Feb-March 2016 Trend Briefing, watching businesses is the counter-intuitive secret to anticipate what people will do next, rather than watching customers. 

Businesses can look at the innovations that
their customers are using now.

When dating apps were gaining popularity in a region considered as having conservative cultural values, older generations were stumped. Startup founders became younger and they built businesses that could also target themselves as customers. Soon, dating apps were flourishing in different parts of Asia. Customers showed loyalty to apps launched abroad but because local startups understood their customer better, there was a shift in received value and reputation.

Because most of these apps rely on the human need to connect, social networking platforms play a big role in shaping the customer’s expectation. A lot of the tech giants are turning into philanthropy because they realized that technology can also benefit advocacy. It can be overwhelming to find out that 100,000 of your intended customers are at risk of getting HIV, but because you know where to find them, it’s just a matter of meeting them where they already are and continue providing your service.

2. Prepare, partner, and pioneer

Your company’s corporate strategy is often boxed in frameworks and written on hand-me-down templates. To thrive in the fourth industrial revolution, creative new business strategies must replace them with collaborative efforts between firms and within firms. It might involve developing long-term goals through design thinking, participating in people’s daily activities to gain local insight, or challenging textbook theories and old assumptions about how different generations view the world.

Both young and old firms underappreciate the value of having relevant networks, but according to the 2015 World Economic Forum Report on Collaborative Innovation, these are important predictors of business success. Technology bridges the gap between the academe, national organizations, private companies, and government agencies because of its common language. When done correctly, innovation that is the work of partners will eventually and effectively work for others.

The pioneers get recognition, but only the strongest survive. The challenge for businesses is in keeping their competitive advantage. In this generation, nothing is as original anymore and some say that’s a good thing,  for as long as we emphasize the products of collective work and crowdsourced innovation. Improving on a technology that is already being used by 80% of our population might be considered disruptive, but when you want to solve the problem and ask why 20% is not using it, then the solution becomes more inclusive.

3. Improve access to existing tech

Physical products and services can now be enhanced with digital capabilities that increase their value. One such example is the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT).

Last June, Samsung hosted a forum in Washington, D.C. with government and industry leaders to discuss the future of IoT. In his opening remarks, Oh-Hyun Kwon, Vice Chairman and CEO at Samsung Electronics, emphasized that the conversation around the possibilities of IoT should shift its focus from smart homes, offices and factories, towards smart cities, smart nations and a smarter world.

Businesses can enhance their products
that improve the quality of life.

IoT technologies are already influencing the way we live. But right now, they’re taking the shape of gadgets that are available only to the affluent. Businesses should consider improving accessibility to such products that can potentially improve the day-to-day quality of life for everyone, everywhere.

4. Diversify your leadership

In a Fortune 500 survey, companies provide data that the presence of women in the boardroom leads to better performance on various financial parameters like return on sales (ROS) and return on investment (ROI). WEF says it makes smart business sense to have a gender-balanced board, but there are still only 21 women in charge of Fourtune 500 companies in the United States. In a new survey by the Global Strategy Group and the Rockefeller Foundation, 1 in 4 of the Americans surveyed said that there are no women in leadership positions at their current workplaces.

Organizations have long since existed to promote and empower women from all sectors. In fact, women are behind a lot of the innovations and successes of businesses that their male CEOs can confirm. Rick Goings, Chairman and CEO of Tupperware Brands Corporation, believes that a CEO’s best investment lies in hiring more women leaders. Recruiting and promoting women in the workforce is a very straightforward injection of skills that improves the company’s ethos and its business results.

What’s next?

To have a more inclusive culture in the world of digital technologies, our leaders must concern themselves with the long-term objective of democratizing the fourth industrial revolution. The costs might be too high at the moment but all the symptoms are there for us to diagnose. It’s still more practical to replace a damaged engine than to keep fueling a worn-out one. The innovative potential of inclusivity cannot stay in sourcebooks and white papers anymore. It’s about time that more business leaders consider and act, especially if the only companies that will thrive in the next century are technology leaders that put inclusion in the forefront of their strategy.

[It] is a triple win – for the company,
family and community, and society as a whole.

- Rick Goings

This post is part of a blog series promoting Open Collaboration with East Asia New Champions (OCEAN) Summit 2016 in Bohol on November 24-26, 2016, with the theme: The Future of Industry and Impact. There will be a session on Innovation for All: Democratizing the Fourth Industrial Revolution. To know more and participate, go to

THE FUTURE OF TALENT: The Value of Imagination in an Automated World

By Amanda Dominguez

The idea of a fully automated world can be daunting. The industrial landscape is now evolving at an exponentially faster rate than it ever has before. Computerization and digitalization are changing the workplace as more and more operational jobs are being replaced by computer programs. Customer service is performed by bots, human resources tasks such as recruitment rely heavily on algorithms, finance and accounting are self-service, and soon cars will drive themselves.

We can't help but wonder - perhaps a little nervously - what's in store for us next. How do we equip ourselves to succeed in a future where the conventional jobs that we have been preparing ourselves for will no longer exist?

First of all, we can take comfort in knowing that this is really nothing new. The industrial landscape has been impacted by science and technology for centuries, arguably for millennia. Needless to say, we've always anxiously speculated about the high-tech future (think Metropolis [1927] and Blade Runner [1982]). What's remarkable, however, is that we've constantly been proving our dystopian fantasies wrong. Broadly speaking, innovation has made the world a better place. As machines and computer programs improve operational efficiency in the workplace, we are given more time and freedom to think creatively and entrepreneurially. Think about what mechanizing the assembly line and developing the computer has allowed us to build and experience. Smartphones are providing endless opportunities for us to both shape and participate in the digital world; we can all be photographers, filmmakers, journalists, and developers.

With change and automation being the new norm, our role as humans will hinge on our ability navigate, and more importantly, drive change. Now more than ever, we need to find ways to maximize our innovative and creative potential to become key players in the global economy.

This entails disrupting traditional education by providing children with more opportunities to develop their imagination and creativity through the arts. I don't necessarily mean that the end goal is to have more artists (though this would definitely make the world a better place). The objective is to enable and empower children to exercise their creative muscles and develop their imaginations, so that perhaps, one day they will become disruptors, innovators, and inventors, defining new sources of livelihood and experiences for the global community.

This stance isn't too far-fetched. After all, we've been studying the humanities and quantitative subjects and often end up working in spaces for which we may not have been formally trained, but developed the necessary skills to perform them. For instance, I studied archaeology and became a management consultant. On the surface, this probably doesn't add up. But the discipline of breaking down archaeological sites to its component parts requires very similar skills as taking apart a business case or problem and reorganizing its data into frameworks. The same can be said about the arts and entrepreneurship; it all boils down to being able to think outside the box.

We truly are living in an exciting time where imagination and creativity are more valuable and the industrial landscape more malleable than ever. Instead of wondering what the world has in store for us, we can define it for ourselves.

This post is part of a blog series promoting Open Collaboration with East Asia New Champions (OCEAN) Summit 2016 in Bohol on November 24-26, 2016, with the theme: The Future of Industry and Impact. There will be a session on The Future of Talent: Cultivating a New Generation of Leadership. To know more and participate, go to

CONNECTING THE DOTS: Moving Towards a Convergent Government

By Kevin dela Cruz

The Arrival of Convergence

In our connected environment, governance has been of utmost importance given the increased citizen demand for leadership accountability especially in prioritizing the citizen voice in the policy agenda and for the immediate cases, elevating their concerns directly to the government offices given their varying social needs. After all, the government is not just meant to organize the system of leadership in country, but also to commit itself to serve only the citizens who shaped the government to begin with. In my work as an advocate for good governance, whenever I am given the chance to share my personal experience as a government collaborator and worker, I always emphasize the power of an active citizenry and multi stakeholder engagement in improving the agencies’ public service delivery.  

In the context of East Asia, the combined challenges of the different cooperating countries have been increasing in complexity. From the recent territorial and migration issues, such discussion points placed in the pedestal by the different governance bodies required an even more push for convergence by not just the public stakeholders, but also the private stakeholders. When the public sector comes up with a policy statement, the rest of the stakeholders would now need to have a set of contributed interventions and mechanisms to make the work of governance spread out down to the level of an ordinary citizen. The government now does not have the monopoly of all the development public affairs. The call for collaborative solutions matter now more than ever.  

The Challenge of Convergence

Despite the rise of digital technology to facilitate convergence, there are prevalent issues that impede us from developing such collaborative solutions. We have been facing several challenges giving reference to the three pillars of good governance namely transparency, accountability and participation.

First, with the rising concern of financial integrity in the public and private sectors, transparency has been a constant call of the general public to share the information needed for multi-sectoral validation. This can also be applied to the monitoring of document trails in the enactment of certain guidelines or policies within a certain structure in the two such sectors.

Second, when organizations start to determine gaps regarding work efficiency, there is a greater demand for leadership accountability in establishing individual initiatives in addressing such gaps. There are incidences wherein when cases are filed in the local courts, the accused leaders tend to use their political power as leverage to evade the regular judicial process.  

Third, given the fundamental human right of self expression, citizens might have been given the opportunity to voice out both their concerns and recommendations to government authorities through community dialogues and bottom-up initiatives. But, such initiatives have not been considered fully in the drafting of the actual policy, instead the political motivation comes first in the final document.  There might be significant obstacles along the way, but there exists notable bright sparks that continue to light up the path in connecting institutions to work for national development.    

The Hope of Convergence

With the rise of government service integration to different digital channels, the general public, along with the partner sectors, have been given more opportunities to engage and to work with the government through direct services such as registration processes and social protection programs, and through public policy information gateways such as the open budget and advocacy initiatives.

Speaking of human resource processes, the Bagumbayani Initiative is a government recruitment advocacy program that seeks to enable young people to work for government. Founded by seven young public professionals, they tapped a job recruitment web portal (Kalibrr) to consolidate all the latest work openings in the different public agencies. They have organized social media campaigns and school caravans to encourage the new graduates to share their skills and talents in public service work. Through this, over a thousand job matches were delivered to the agencies given this innovative effort. Indeed, this is a remarkable example of how youth and private sector collaboration can improve governance.

Another example is the CheckMySchool program of the Affiliated Networks for Social Accountability – East Asia Pacific. Given the need for adequate response for the delivery of school facilities by all citizens in Asia, this program has been recognized by the local governments of selected East Asia countries as a mechanism for social accountability and citizen participation in the local communities through service delivery monitoring. To give a brief run through of the process, local organized groups will be trained to become citizen monitors of particular school units in the community.

Then, in collaboration with the local education department, the monitors will be conducting a routine checking of all the school materials and facilities such as tables, chairs and text books through a data collection sheet. Once all the checking has been done, data will be consolidated and analyzed to be presented to the local government executive in a roundtable discussion. The goal of the conversation is to come up with policy or program resolution to the identified problems by the citizen groups. The private sector groups in the community then makes their collaborative contribution with the identified resolutions depending on their current corporate social responsibility priorities. This is truly multi-sectoral governance in action.  

The Technology of Convergence

If the central aim of technology is to continuously improve one’s ways and approaches of doing services, there is a significant amount of material that the government and the other state actors can use to improve regional and local governance. There are three ways to harness this namely information organization, public ownership, and integrated evaluation.

Information organization refers to the deliberate communication of policies, guidelines and protocols catering to targeted stakeholders. It is not enough to just use open source to make the original documents accessible, instead such documents would be more useful if the technicalities indicated would be more palatable to its readers. We would like to use technology as a means to make the macro understanding a micro concern that can be acted upon by the informed and educated partner for change.

Public ownership points out to the crucial role of public inquiry and involvement in coming up with more directed and relevant governance decisions. Solutions can’t just be found in an expert’s desk review and in a leader’s round table discussions. Through technology, public interaction is a must in defining a community’s local development plan given the various perspectives available in our connected world. This is a power that any leader can use to craft a more inclusive environment for all.

Integrated evaluation is a means to systematize accountability systems with all the convergent projects and innovations conducted both in the real and digital streams. The fast-paced feedback that the governments along with the other sectors receive each day should be reciprocated by a united stakeholder response. All the data received should all be accounted for and received through a common digital receptacle through technology. This is perhaps where we can all base not just all government innovations, but the innovation that all of us can be involved in.

This post is part of a blog series promoting Open Collaboration with East Asia New Champions (OCEAN) Summit 2016 in Bohol on November 24-26, 2016, with the theme: The Future of Industry and Impact. There will be a session on Collaborative Governance: Solving Problems beyond Private and Public. To know more and participate, go to

Saturday, November 5, 2016

11th Organic Farmers Festival Goes to CyberCentre

The Negros Island Organic Farmers Festival, a much-awaited event of Province of Negros Occidental will be held for the first time at the Negros First Cybercentre grounds, as it turns a decade and a year this 2016.

Known as the Organic Agriculture Capital of the Philippines, Negros Occidental aims to once again gather of organic farmers, producers, retailers, chefs, cooks, restaurateurs and advocates from around the island from November 15-19, 2016. This year’s theme “Get Connected” coincides with the goal of the province to integrate information and communications technology (ICT) with agriculture and other business sectors. 

The festival, being the longest running and biggest province-wide event will feature different organic products from organic fresh, cooked as well as potted plants, organic inputs from over 150 exhibitors made up of small farmers, non-government organizations, people’s organization, indigenous people, agrarian beneficiary, cooperatives and private companies and advocates.

From several years of being staged near the provincial capitol grounds, exhibitors will now be in a wider location offered by Negros First CyberCentre, formerly a portion of the Paglaum Sports Complex, which is now the biggest presidentially-proclaimed PEZA information technology (IT) hub in the island.

Negrenses and visitors can enjoy organic produce, home cooked native foods, healthy and specialty food directly from the producers themselves and everyone’s invited to join different talks, entertainment from local artists and so much more.

Every night, the five-day event, will be marked with cultural and entertainment shows to feature local talent and local companies supporting the organic agriculture sector./JEBS

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Fresh Start is a BPI Sinag Awardee

Fracine Marañon Uy, Fresh Start co-founder, shows her BPI Sinag Award Medal during the awarding ceremony

Fresh Start garnered an award from the 2016 edition of the BPI Sinag Awards. Fresh Start was given the BPI Sinag Award in the Accelerate Category. The 2016 BPI Sinag Award was participated in hundreds of other competitors from around the country.

“The success stories we heard from other participants as change makers helping the poor and the environment motivated us to do better”, Fresh Start owner Ramon Uy Jr. said. 

Fresh Start which has been operating for more than 2 years qualified for the BPI Sinag Awards that was organized together with the Peace and Equity Foundation. The aim of the awards is to scale up such enterprises by providing seeding grants and loan equities to the awardees. 

Fresh Start received seed funding grants, loan and equity of Php500,000.00 and a credit line from the Peace and Equity Foundation. This also include mentorship programs, technology transfer and  access to technical processes that will enable their productivity to be boosted.

Fresh Start will cascade the benefits gained to more than 60 farmers’ groups and associations.  This will benefit more than 1,000 organic farmers that have business dealings with Fresh Start.

Fresh Start  is looking forwards into establishing its second branch in SM Bacolod and is active in encouraging farmers to go into contract growing and providing a network that will link these farmers to seed companies that will enable access to technology and seeds.

Monday, October 24, 2016

OCEAN's backstory and advocacy in the upcoming 4th Industrial Revolution

Open Collaboration With East Asia New Champions (OCEAN) is a convention occurring every two years in the Philippines which gathers leaders from different domains “to connect, discover new ideas, and shape a more creative and innovative future together”.

According to Micaela Beltran, the Executive Director of OCEAN 16, the biennial gathering was initiated back in 2014 when the World Economic Forum held its Southeast Asia conference in the Philippines for the first time. “At that time, we discussed how the Philippines is no longer the 'Sick Man of Asia' and economic progress is finally coming", said Beltran. Further, she mentioned that the main question in the minds of the Filipino leaders of the World Economic Forum is “How can we ensure that Economic Prosperity becomes inclusive?”. 

One of the people behind making these aspirations into reality is Winston Damarillo. He has been the core driver and convener of OCEAN since it was just an idea.

The mission of OCEAN is to become a convener of global leaders and shapers that will serve as catalysts for innovation in the Philippines. This year, OCEAN is taking a step further by leading several initiatives that will live beyond the conference. The summit is geared towards harnessing technological advancements with the talents and resources of entrepreneurs and creative leaders. In a nutshell, OCEAN 16 is preparing the creative genius in the country to pursue ASEAN success in the upcoming 4th industrial revolution.

One of their initiatives is building a more “Digital Bohol”. The organization has been working to build a digital central for entrepreneurs and creative leaders, and to strengthen resilience against disaster through mesh chat networks like FireChat. Consequently, they bring together community organizers, particularly the youth, who can sustain these programs after the summit in November.

The Provincial Government of Bohol and the Bohol Chamber of Commerce and Industry sign a memorandum of agreement with OCEAN 16 on August 15, as part of a joint initiative for the development of smart cities in the Philippines, starting with Tagbilaran City in Bohol as the pilot and model city.

The three-day summit was organized by young and entrepreneurial go-getters; Katrina Bayog, Media & Program Lead; Rexy Josh Dorado, Kaya Collaborative; Angelica Misa, Media Strategy Consultant; Micaela Beltran, Executive Director; and Winston Damarillo, Chief Organizer and Co-Chair.  With the help of OCEAN Co-Chairs; Analisa Balares, Sen. Bam Aquino, Richard Dacalos, and Karen Davila, and WEF communities in the Philippines; KAYA Collaborative, World Economic Forum Young Global Leaders, World Economic Forum Global Shapers, and Amihan Global Strategies.

For more information regarding the upcoming summit, visit, email or call 0947-813-6401. You may also participate in online discussions by following OCEAN 16 on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook @WEFPHOCEAN.

Photo credits to OCEAN

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Is Disruption All It's Cracked Up To Be? by Lionel Belen

It was Clay Christensen, a professor at Harvard Business school, that coined the term disruptive innovation. Since then, it has become one of the most commonly used ideas in the tech startup community, to the point that it has entered the mainstream. 

Disruption or disruptive innovation, Christensen proposed in his case studies, was what happened when small startup companies developed new innovative solutions or discovered unserved or underserved markets that allowed them to topple their bigger, more established rivals. (Check out: The Innovator’s Dilemma 1997, Seeing What’s Next 2004)

One great example of this would be between Amazon and Borders. Amazon, which started as an online bookstore in 1994, is today one of the world’s most valuable companies, selling all sorts of goods (not just books) to consumers. In 2015 it surpassed Walmart as the most valuable retailer in the United States based on market capitalization, and today its revenues surpass a hundred billion dollars. On the other hand, Borders, which was established in 1971, had at its peak almost 20,000 employees and more than 1,300 stores around the world, but in 2011 filed for bankruptcy.

You might wonder: How did Amazon beat a rival with a 20-year headstart?

Many would refer back to Christensen’s thesis and say that Borders was disrupted - that Amazon had learned how to develop and offer a better solution - e-commerce, a better business model; online payments and customer fulfillment; and even access to more customers and new markets.

Yet, as enticing as disruption is as an idea and management theory, it’s just one of many theories and frameworks out there.

In an article published in The New Yorker, entitled, “The Disruption Machine”, author Jill Yore offers a great rebuttal (and overview of such arguments) against Christensen’s thesis of disruption.

She makes three main points. The first point implicitly stated is that there are other theories and frameworks such as Michael Porter’s Competitive Advantage. To add, I would also put forward his other theory of The 5 Forces.

Michael Porter’s 5 Forces
Competitive advantage, put simply, is where a company succeeds and beats its competitors either by being the cheapest and having the lowest costs, or by being the most different/differentiated. The 5 Forces, meanwhile, attests to the role of external factors - like suppliers, new entrants, substitutes, buyers, and industry rivals - and the degree of influence or ability of a company to manage these factors in order to survive.

Arguably, both theories also fit the Amazon and Borders example. Amazon was an innovative business model - but at the end of the day, it might have boiled down to the competitive advantage of being cheaper and differentiated compared to borders. And who is to say Borders just couldn’t manage against external forces better than Amazon? After all, theories wouldn’t be theories if they weren’t widely applicable.

The second point Yore makes is that within the many examples or cases that Christensen identifies to prove his theory, there are many inconsistencies as well.

“...Seagate Technology was not felled by disruption. Between 1989 and 1990, its sales doubled, reaching $2.4 billion, “more than all of its U.S. competitors combined,” according to an industry report. In 1997, the year Christensen published “The Innovator’s Dilemma,” Seagate was the largest company in the disk-drive industry, reporting revenues of nine billion dollars. Last year [2013], Seagate shipped its two-billionth disk drive. Most of the entrant firms celebrated by Christensen as triumphant disrupters, on the other hand, no longer exist, their success having been in some cases brief and in others illusory. [emphasis mine] (The fleeting nature of their success is, of course, perfectly consistent with his model.) “

The last point Yore makes in her article is simple yet poignant. While many wish to use as a means to predict the next big thing, Christensen’s framework stands better as an explanation of the ultimate success or failure of companies. At best, it is a pattern seen in retrospect and not a predictor of the future.

Instead of looking at disruption as the “end all and be all” for companies in this age of technology and information, I think what’s most important is to consider what is at the essence and heart of these concepts. That…
  • Today the world is changing faster than it has ever been before. With this rapid change comes change in the business conditions and the needs of customers;
  • That the challenges faced by companies are to adapt and keep pace with these changes while solving their customer's problems most effectively and efficiently.

With everything said, the aforementioned theories and cases lead to one fundamental point: He/she who makes the most customers happiest, fastest and in the most efficient way possible wins the day. And, ultimately, all businesses or business owners should already know this.

© 2016 OCEAN

This post is part of a blog series promoting Open Collaboration with East Asia New Champions (OCEAN) Summit 2016 in Bohol on November 24-26, 2016, with the theme: The Future of Industry and Impact. There will be a session on The Disruption of Industries: The next decade in digital transformation.

To know more and participate, go to

Sustainability: A Farmer's Perspective by Enzo Pinga

In recent years the word sustainable has walked into the territory of watered-down buzzwords. It has risen to become a main topic of discussion in numerous conferences, multilateral talks, political agendas, etc. But what does it even mean? Am I being sustainable if I recycle? Sustainable has replaced boring, buttoned-up words such as profitable, green or ‘long-term’. It is the new sexy, in danger of losing its avant-garde status by being the apple of everyone’s eye.

So what has prompted the theme of sustainability to be so mainstream? I am inclined to say that on a global scale, growing recognition of continuing down this current path has brought about fears of leaving a future where our descendants are worse off. The need for an alternative to how the world advances has brought about hope and innovation. Business has been the single-biggest creator of value that mankind knows. And what other way is there for the human race to leverage and move forward with?

In the past, sustainability may have been described as ‘hippie-talk’ or unrealistic, unfit for the current state of the world. This is now gaining increasing influence on the global political and economic agenda as evidenced by high-powered meetings such as the COP21 meeting. One can point to rapid industrialization as the culprit to our woes. The earth is continuously being destroyed by the footprint that mankind leaves behind to serve our “needs”, rapidly depleting and polluting natural resources.

Agriculture is not an exception to the rule. Farming is big business as everyone needs food to survive. Agriculture has allowed our species to evolve from hunter-gatherers to establishing civilizations. The industrialization of agriculture has wreaked havoc on the environment, killing forests, soils and bodies of water.

With a rapidly growing population, food production must increase with it. The population is expected to increase to 9.5 billion people by 2050, with most of them living in cities. This growth necessitates a 60% increase in food production based on current demand. This is a staggering number because, as it stands, agriculture accounts for a third of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions and uses two-thirds of the world’s freshwater resources.

Industrial farming kicked-off post World War II where bomb-making factories switched to the manufacturing of fertilizers to serve a population devastated by war. These initiatives were further pushed by the Green Revolution of the 1970’s promoting industrial agriculture as the solution to global hunger with the use of chemical inputs. Has it been successful? In a way, certainly. These methods have helped produce more food than we can consume. However, this feat does not come without a cost.

Industrial farming relies heavily on chemical inputs, oil, GMOs, and unnecessary transport of food across the planet. Interestingly, it is the small-scale farmers that are responsible for 70% of the food we consume globally, and not the large-scale industrial farms.

Here are some more astounding numbers. Out of 7 billion people, 795 million go hungry everyday while we waste one-third of the food that is produced. The world produces enough food for everyone but it does not get to all of those in need.

Solving food security is not as easy promoting more small-scale farmers. Industrial agribusiness will not simply disappear. We need to find ways to make their practices more effective through partnership and prevent the colonization of food production and distribution. In order for small-scale farmers to be at the forefront of the transformation in agriculture, granting access to support is necessary to overcome the challenges they face.

Sustainable farming practices call for the increase in soil carbon content, the optimal use of organic and inorganic fertilizers, international trade reform, land management for crop and livestock production, the reduction of food waste, a change in dietary patterns, to name a few. Only then can agriculture be less resource-hungry in an increasingly scarce world, work to regenerate lands, natural resources and ensure proper health and nutrition for mankind.

© 2016 OCEAN

This post is part of a blog series promoting Open Collaboration for East Asia New Champions (OCEAN) Summit 2016 in Bohol on November 24-26, 2016, with the theme: The Future of Industry and Impact. There will be a session on Sustainability at the Heart of Business: How to Innovate Responsibly. To know more and participate, go to


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