As implied by the workshop title, it is about the importance of Innovation in sustaining competitiveness in both the local and global market and thus the need to innovate to stay in business. The workshop seeks to improve productivity and competitiveness of the participating countries which are members of APO. Our workshop was attended 12 different countries and a total of 18 participants.
OBJECTIVES FOR PARTICIPATION
My personal objectives are:
a) To learn more about innovation- its importance and what I can do to improve technology based innovations in my city – Cebu City
b) To share the knowledge that I learn from the workshop with my colleagues at the National ICT Confederation of the Philippines( the organization of more than 40 ICT Councils all over the Philippines)
c) To explore the possibility in being involved with a technology based startup
d) To establish a network of contacts from other countries for information sharing and benchmarking purposes
There were a total of 18 participants from 12 different countries, with mentors from Canada, Singapore, and Republic of China and a facilitator from the APO Office.
The participants from the Philippines were:
a) Mr. Alfonso P. Alamban, Regional Director , DOST Region 10- gov’t sector
b) Mr. Wilfredo T. Sa-a Jr., Managing Director, CEDFIT, Cebu City – private sector/NGO
SCOPE, CONTENT AND METHODLOGY
Basically, it was a lecture type by Dr. William Douglas Beynon and Mr. Foo Kim Peng and some local Taiwanese experts like Dr. Yong-Chie –VP Taiwan Tech and others . And there was the sharing of the different participants on the status of innovation, incubation and entrepreneurship in their respective countries.
The sharing of Dr. Beynon about Waterloo experience was very informative and inspirational that a small place was so successful in the area of entrepreneurship. Their COOP Education system was very unique and effective in producing the right kind of talents for the industry since it involved a series of deep immersions in the industry while college students are still studying. Waterloo has a very good ecosystem which supports innovation and entrepreneurship and the results show that they are a benchmark in this area.
On Mr. Foo’s lecture, we learned the importance of the understanding the nature of each team member so that this can be harnessed well to achieve synergy among the team members. He was also able to share the reasons why Singapore is one of the front runners in the area of startups with a good business environment, infrastructure, and presence of funding for both local and foreign startups.
On Dr. Yong-Chie’s lecture, the collaboration between academe-industry and government in Taiwan is unprecedented. In fact University students are well exposed to the industry before leaving school because of this partnership. We also learned about their direction to encourage more practical and applied research among the faculties rather than high level and very academic focus. Taiwan has about 120 Incubation Centers and their focus is very diverse from information technology, manufacturing, robotics, agri tech, etc.
The attendees were also exposed to visits in actual incubation offices and even in an innovative restaurant which showcased aboriginal Taiwanese food, arts, and culture. And lastly, in the workshop portion we were divided into 5 groups and given the task to review and assess what are the challenges we are facing in the area of innovation and entrepreneurship. Each group’s outputs were presented on the last day and our Team(CAMPHINMA- for Cambodia/Philippines/India and Malaysia) was chosen as the best group presentation. I was the presentor for our team.
OUTCOMES AND EVALUATION
My objectives in joining the workshop were met. It made me realize what the things missing in our startup ecosystem or how we can improve the existing conditions. The Waterloo experience is very informative. The resource persons were very knowledgeable and were sharing based on actual experience.
RECOMMENDATIONS AND ACTION STEPS
All the participants were very satisfied with the workshop and learned so many things from the training. ROC served as a very good host- the hotel accommodation was good and very functional for the event, the lecture hall was conducive to learning. The staff were helpful to make our stay as comfortable as possible. I would like to make special mention of the hospitality of Mr. Szu-Min(one of the delegates from ROC) who made our after lecture tours around Taipei a very pleasant experience for all of us. He never got tired of answering all our questions about Taipei. Mr. Muhammad of APO Tokyo Office was an excellent guardian and shepherd for all the participants- he always took count of his flock to ensure no one is missing or left behind.
I plan to share my experience and new found knowledge from the workshop to my colleagues at NICP and would recommend also if there will be a similar session for next year, some key staff from ICTO will also be included in the attendees. I will be open for talk invitations to share the knowledge with the interested parties for free.
It is very important that our country should continue innovating the more basic industries such as agriculture and food production as this will be our key to survival. We should look into the strengths of the different regions so we can focus our innovation efforts on those strengths. Innovation is about sustainability and survival- we must innovate to perpetuate ourselves into the future.
WILFREDO T. SA-A, JR.
Cebu Educational Development Foundation for Information Technology