7th APO Grantees Forum: Driving Innovation towards Transformational Change and Competitiveness, 19 October 2012, Crowne Plaza Quezon City

Group Photo of Participants

The Development Academy of the Philippines through its International Relations, Innovation and Strategic Convergence Initiatives and Partnerships (IRISCIP) – APO Liaison Office (APOLO) organized the 7th Regional Asian Productivity Organization (APO) Grantees Forum in Crowne Plaza Galleria Quezon City on 19 October 2012, with the theme “Driving Innovation towards Transformational Change and Competitiveness”.

Participated by 46 productivity and quality practitioners/advocates from various government agencies, private sector companies, businesses, academe and even non-government organizations (NGOs), the forum provided the opportunity to share innovative ideas, modern tools, useful techniques and best practices of organizations with embedded principles on innovation. Four (4) APO grantee-resource speakers from various sectors were invited to share their knowledge and learning on innovation through value addition to agricultural products, innovation through process improvement-Six Sigma, design innovation in the packaging industry, and promoting innovation through science and technology education.

In his welcome remarks, Mr. Carlos A. Sayco, Jr., DAP Vice-President for International Relations, Innovation and Strategic Partnership, and APO Liaison Officer for the Philippines explained that the theme for the forum is in line with APO’s strategy on innovation promotion. He said that innovation is happening everywhere, and if we do not catch up, we will be left behind. The perennial problem in the country, Mr. Sayco commented, is that we don’t track innovation. There are so many innovative ideas and oftentimes, they only stay as ideas, they don’t get transformed to useful things that people buy or something that creates value added for enterprises. Innovation, as it is, remains as a cost. Real innovation is something that is useful to people, communities, governments, and even to worldwide consumers. And this is the challenge for all of us: how to transform the lives of others through Innovation, Mr. Sayco said.

Guillermo ‘Jun’ Saret Jr., VP and CIO, Pascual Laboratories and President, Leonie Agri Corporation (LAC Farms)

The forum’s first speaker Engr. Guillermo Saret Jr., Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer, Pascual Laboratories, and President Leonie Agri Corporation (LAC Farms), said that the Philippines can be world class when it comes to agriculture, people just need to find ways to commercialize agricultural products. Further, to innovate in farming is to customize equipment to ensure effectiveness and safety. He acknowledged the fact that value addition is a challenge, and he is thankful for the assistance that the government have provided specifically the agriculture and science and technology ministries.

Another secret to LAC Farm success is social innovation. He said they teach farmers to become micro entrepreneurs, teach them various organic farming methods and values formation to achieve productivity and sustainability, and even put up a cooperative for them. As a result, they were able to transform barren grassland into a productive organic farm.

Ariel Driz, Senior Consultant, Performex Asia, Inc.

Mr. Ariel Driz, Senior Consultant of Performex Asia Inc., explained that improvement only starts when we are burdened about something in our life, thus, we need to reinvent ourselves. As a certified Six Sigma Master Black belt/Master Instructor, he believes Six Sigma is not just a methodology; it is also a value management approach. It is a developed way to create value, to create break-through, because not all tools and techniques can be used to trigger break-through.

Six Sigma provides tools to let you innovate your process, to let you improve your process. Mr. Driz added that most processes in the service industry have less than 10% value added and more than 90% non-value added. This means, more than 90% of what people do is non-value added. Good thing there are tools used to remove the non-value added in the work place, like the Lean technique.

Virginia Robledo, Packaging R&D Specialist, San Miguel Yamamura Packaging Corporation

Ms. Virginia Robledo, Packaging Research and Development Specialist, Design Innovation and Solution Center-Innovations Group, San Miguel Yamamura Packaging Corporation (SMYPC), presented her company’s best practices in innovation. She said that in the beginning, their mother company San Miguel Corporation has setup the Innovations Group called Innovations Network for Technological Excellence and Leadership (INTEL) which is the forerunner of innovative products. INTEL is tasked to develop innovation strategic roadmap, integrate and strengthen R & D initiatives; and collaborate across SMYPC.

In SMYPC, they have established their own internal and external innovations framework, from goal setting to product launch, because they believe a product is not considered an innovation unless it is commercialized and sold. She also shared the key success factors of innovation in SMYPC as vision, leadership, management support, customer, technology, innovative attitude and effective planning. Towards the end of her presentation, Ms. Robledo showcased some of the innovative packaging products that are already out in the market.

Mylene Abiva, President and CEO, Felta Multi-media Inc. and Program Director, Philippine Robotics Olympiad

The last speaker, and certainly not the least, Ms. Mylene Abiva, President and CEO, Felta Multi-Media Inc., said that innovation should start with the youth, because they are the best instrument to help achieve our country’s growth. And she does not believe that I.Q. alone is the key for this–we need to find ways to eliminate the insecurities of students in order to bring out their creativity and problem solving skills.

Ms. Abiva, also the Program Director of Philippine Robotics Olympiad (PRO), explained that at PRO, they teach the students the core values, the importance of teamwork and the idea of ‘COOMPETITION’ (cooperation-competition), where students learn while helping one another and at the same time, have fun.

“Through Robotics we can be life changers, that we can inspire the students to be better” – Abiva

At PRO they help the students make right decisions in solving problems. They teach the students and at the same time encourage their parents to participate, either by being a mentor or a judge, through various awards and recognition. As proof of the success of this program, the Philippines have won four (4) Gold medals and several Silver medals since 2002. There is also a significant number of increase in the number of students and schools who joined the program, from 36 teams in 2002, to 286 teams in 2010, and the numbers keep adding up to this date. Before there is only the Philippine Robotics Olympiad, now, there is the Philippine Robotic Academy, the Philippine Robotic Alumni Association and the Philippine Robotic Society. Ms. Abiva concluded that through robotics we can be life changers, that we can inspire the students to be better.

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