S and T Post Banner
Vol. XXV, 4th Quarter
October–December 2007


Rodel G. Offemaria






















RGO signature



RP’s 1st National Innovation Summit

The brains and organizers of the country’s first National Innovation Summit that unfolded last November 26 arguably deserve the usual fanfare.  By looking far into the future, they apparently don’t mind missing the hurried spotlight.  Almost quietly, they’ve set in place the building blocks of a development strategy that draws strength from partnerships and collaboration in what appears to be a model of what management experts call “innovation networks”.
The Department of Science and Technology led the event along with major partners on the NIS initiative such as Department of Trade and Industry—Intellectual Property Philippines, Asian Institute of Management, IBM Philippines, and Ayala Foundation at the Shangri-la Hotel in Makati City.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo unveiled the extent of government support to the NIS, which aims to roll out the key programs and strategies to accelerate innovation systems and spur growth across industries.  Policy proposals designed to bring into line sectoral innovation initiatives were presented to firm up consensus on a national competitive approach based on innovation.

The NIS is the culmination of months of groundbreaking dialogues and collaboration across sectors held to identify and harmonize the Philippines’ competitive strengths and potentials for innovation. The summit essentially signals the next level of activities to plan, integrate, and implement national strategies to make the most of current and evolving development and wealth creating opportunities in an increasing borderless global economy.

“Early this year, we initiated a series of meetings with key officials of IBM Philippines, AIM, IP Philippines, and Ayala Foundation on the need to promote innovation in the country. With this collaborative initiative, we expect to significantly shape the country’s socio-economic position over the long term,” DOST Sec. Estrella F. Alabastro explained. 
According to AIM Policy Center Executive Director Federico Macaranas, one of the principals of the NIS project, “Competitive innovation is the cumulative result of the innovation process applied at different levels. The model identifies three innovation elements such as human capital, industries, and public policy.

Harnessing the potentials of academe, industries, government, media and civil society through active participation to strengthen the three elements of innovation will be addressed in the national innovation strategy,” he added.

“We at IBM are really proud to be in this group of innovators. We have always taken our role of being the innovator’s innovator to heart—having helped deliver success to our clients here in the Philippines over the last 70 years through game-changing business innovations. It is a great honor to collaborate with the government, academe and other industries in the private sector to push forth the national innovation agenda,” IBM Philippines Country General Manager James Velasquez explained.

The NIS followed months of diligent work and detailed dialogues among teams of the major innovation partners.  Workshops to identify and enhance innovation opportunities were held for sectors such as ICT and ICT-enabled services, semiconductors and electronics, health and life sciences, aquatic and marine resources, energy, environment and related infrastructure, and agriculture/crop sciences.

Overall, the NIS is a critical step to define and implement an innovation-driven development and competitiveness strategy for the Philippines.  By bringing together the initial but key government and private organizations that understand and value innovation in governance and business processes, the NIS basically unlocks the tremendous potentials of the growth-enhancing assets of the players involved.  And such assets are people, institutions, and companies that help and collaborate with each other to develop new ideas and create sustainable growth.