Building a Culture of Innovation and Technology among Filipinos – Key Takeaways from the 38th edition of ASEAN Innovation Business Platform (AIBP) Conference & Exhibition

The 38th edition of ASEAN Innovation Business Platform (AIBP) Conference & Exhibition spanned across two days, 15 and 16 November 2022, in Manila Marriott Hotel, Manila, Philippines, continuing our journey in a series of in-person events in the ASEAN over this month.

“Innovation is a culture” – The Importance Of Digital Innovation In Facilitating Sustainable Local and Regional Growth 

The conference started with the government keynote address from Atty. Ivan John Enrile Uy, Secretary, Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT). Secretary Ivan pointed out that the main problem of digital innovation does not lie on the lack of data available, but rather, the lack of central consolidating framework for data. In addition, Secretary Ivan also highlighted the importance of citizen participation in promoting various different digital innovation initiatives, namely the development of digital marketplace for micro, small & medium businesses (MSMEs), as well as the enhancement of data and wifi connectivity across all regions in the Philippines.

The session continued with a panel discussion that connected leaders from the government agencies and large enterprises from Philippines on the importance of digital innovation. Jocelle Batapa-Sigue, Undersecretary for ICT Industry Development, Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), emphasised on the importance of digital innovation, and how the government should be the main agent in leading changes and innovation. This can be done through facilitation of discussions between policy makers and citizens, and more importantly, the inculcation of an innovation-centered cultural mindset, Jocelle said. Echoing this sentiment, Manuel R. Lozano, Chief Financial Officer, Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc. highlighted the importance of creating a mindset of innovation through constant knowledge sharing among enterprises and between enterprises and government agencies. Similarly, Karl Lyndon B. Pacolor, Division Chief – Innovation and Collaboration Division, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) pinpointed the importance of building assistance to MSMEs to support these enterprises in their digital innovation journey. Dr. Donald Patrick Lim, Chief Innovation Officer, UDENNA, and Chief Operating Officer, DITO CME Holdings, Corp. highlighted that innovation is “painful”, and it must challenge the current organisation system in order to work. He also emphasised on how innovation is a culture and a human process; it should be led by humans, and technology is simply a tool to help humans execute their vision. 

Inculcating the Mindset of Cybersecurity among Filipinos 

The day continued with a presentation from Atty. Ivin Ronald D.M. Alzona, Executive Director, National Privacy Commission, who emphasised on the importance of removing data silos in driving informed decision making, as well as how quantifying the benefits of data warehousing can prove to be crucial in promoting cybersecurity. This was followed by a lively discussion on the topic of cybersecurity, in which our esteemed panellists shared their viewpoints of the current state of cybersecurity measures in Philippines and areas of improvement. Anton Reynaldo Bonifacio, Chief Information Security Officer, Globe Group shared that the lack of operational security is a big gap in cybersecurity measures in Philippines that needs to be addressed. In addition, he also pinpointed the importance of raising awareness among Filipinos with respect to cybersecurity threats, as these threats continue to evolve and become more complex. Sharing the same sentiment, Ernie Imperial, Chief Digital Officer, First Philippine Holdings Corporation agreed that current cybersecurity efforts can be further improved by creating more specific and updated cybersecurity awareness campaigns, such that citizens are well-updated and well-equipped to deal with the latest cybersecurity threats. Similarly, Angel Redoble, First Vice President and Group Chief Information Security Officer, PLDT Group pinpointed that cybersecurity efforts must be consistent and regularly updated, and investment on  technologies and human capital will prove to be crucial in bolstering cybersecurity efforts. Tristan Joseph Nubla, Information Technology Head, Prime Asset Ventures Inc. shared more on the risk-based approach, by first identifying the objectives of the business before coming up with a cybersecurity solution, while also agreeing on the importance of an innovative cybersecurity mindset in corporations.

Innovation with Purpose – Bolstering Supply Chain Resiliency and Smart City Developments

The conference continued with the conversation on strengthening supply chain resiliency and Smart City development, in which enterprises and government agencies gathered to share their perspectives on the issues. 

Director Patrick Aquino, Director IV, Head of the Energy Utilization Management Bureau (EUMB), Department of Energy shared more about the Energy Conservation Act in 2019, in which building up renewable energy supply was stated to be one of the key goals. He also highlighted the importance of Information & Communications Technology (ICT) solutions, namely Big Data and Internet of Things (IoT)  in ensuring these goals happen in Philippines. Agreeing on the importance of technology in ensuring sustainable supply chain,  Sherwin Nones, Head of Strategy and Corportae ESG, Integrated Micro-Electronics, Inc. and Dr. Danilo C. Lachica, President, Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Foundation, Inc. (SEIPI)  pinpointed on how future innovative developments of more environmentally-friendly electric vehicle (EV) can reduce cost of production and increase sustainability, such as partnership between IMI and Globe Group to provide a new payment system for EV, and SEIPI’s automation process to imporve their semiconductors’ process yield.  Rhett V. Ramos, Director, Asia IT & Smart Manufacturing, Allegro MicroSystems Philippines, Inc.  also agreed on the importance of technologies such as IoT and Artificial Intelligence (AI) in automating EV parts’ production and increasing supply chain resiliency.

Mirroring the robust discussion in supply chain was the panel discussion between enterprises and government agencies on the topic of Smart City development. Aileen Zosa, President and Chief Executive Officer, Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) shared on the current and future developments of New Clark City, an example of a developing Smart City township in the Philippines. Dr. Enrico C. Paringit, Executive Director, Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD), Department of Science and Technology (DOST) opined the importance of collaborations between government agencies and citizens, as data gathered from the public’s feedback will be taking into consideration for government agencies to make a data-informed decision. Similarly, Emmy Lou V. Delfin, Director IV of the ICT Industry Development Bureau, Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT)  also agreed on the vital role of citizens in shaping the future of their smart city township, and how ICT developments and availability of talents will help to improve the infrastructure of new township projects. Echoing these sentiments, Francis Adrian Vernes, Assistant Vice President – Head of Data Analytics / Data Science, Megaworld Corporation and Jesryl Plarisan, Head of IT – DevOps, Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI) highlighted the role of data-driven decision-making in addressing environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals of a Smart City township.

Collaborative Efforts and its Impact on Digitalizing Banking, Retail and Corporate Venture

The conference continued with a discussion on Digitalization in Banking and Retail. Lito Villanueva, Executive Vice President and Chief Innovation and Inclusion Officer, Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) – Yuchengco Group and Rafiza Ghazali, Director Digital Banking, KAF Investment Bank represented two large banking corporations in Philippines and Malaysia, respectively, to share more about the importance of collaborations between banking corporations,  government agencies, and citizens, to promote a more inclusive banking environment. This sentiment was also echoed in the panel discussion: Albert Tinio, co-CEO and Chief Commercial Officer, GoTyme Bank highlighted the role of GoTyme’s collaborations with Robinsons team in standardizing the electronic Know-your-Customer (e-KYC) kiosks, and thus, simplifying banking process, while Ace Alvaro, Deputy Director, Group Head – Digital Banking Supervision Group, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) shared his idea of responsible innovation, making sure that financial inclusiusion is a consistent goal for the corporation and is working among customers. Maria Gaitanidou, Chief Product, Operations and Customer Experience Officer, UnionDigital Bank also shared the idea of a data-driven and customer-centric approach in addressing the customers’ needs and turning the unbanked Filipinos into their potential new customer base. For the panel discussion on the retail sector, the main topic of focus was on customer-centric digital transformation. Phillip Yong, Head of Ventures, AEON CO. (M) BHD. and Paul Davis, Vice-President APAC, Sales, Scandit, both agreed on how digitalisation in in-store personalisation and omnichannel presence for retail stores can prove to be a vital strategy in both short and long run.

Closing the conference was the panel discussion on the topic of Corporate Venture, in which partnerships and collaborations between different stakeholders were the main themes being discussed. Andi Suwandi, General Manager, Group Digital Strategy, Astra shared on the importance of investing on new talents to promote corporate creativity, as well as the crucial role of partnerships with other stakeholders that share the same interests, particularly in terms of sustainable growth. Echoing this sentiment, Rene “Butch” Meily, President, IdeaSpace Foundation agreed that partnerships with differnt conglomerates and government agencies will creat a robust shared environment in which each stakeholder will be able to benefit from mutual knowledge sharing. Similarly, Minette Navarrete, President, Kickstart Ventures shared that partnerships between Kickstart Ventures and the retail and business associations of Philippines will be able to create a sustainable source of fundings and knowledge sharing for Kickstart, while Matthew Kolling, Head of Venture Development, Aboitiz Group shared how partnerships will be able to create synergy and provide guidance and directions for start-ups to further flourish. 

Celebrating Innovation Success Stories In ASEAN: Aboitiz Equity Ventures and SM Malls Online – 2022 AIBP Enterprise Innovation Awards Winners 

The conference also saw us celebrating and handing the awards to the winners of the 2022 AIBP Enterprise Innovation Awards – Aboitiz Equity Ventures and SM Malls Online.

The annual ASEAN Enterprise Innovation Awards was established in 2017 by AIBP, with the key objective of giving recognition to organizations which have embarked on projects to digitally transform their business through the adoption of innovative technology. The awards are held annually in the following ASEAN countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. Out of more than 180 nominations across ASEAN this year, Aboitiz Equity Ventures and SM Malls Online have been selected as winners for Philippines.

Aboitiz Equity Ventures won the judges over with their project on Parlay, a data exchange platform that aims to unlock ecosystems by allowing the exchange of data and insights on around 20 projects across industries spanning from market price forecasting and collection intelligence in power to helping tackle food sustainability, increasing employee engagement, incentivizing employee’s sustainability efforts, and unlocking the mass market. SM Malls Online’s e-commerce platform for SM’s affiliate brands and MSME tenant partners to create a seamless end-to-end purchase process for consumers was another highlight from the judges in terms of innovation. 

Presenting the enterprises with their plaques and winner’s certificates was Undersecretary Jocelle from Department of Information & Communications Technology (DICT). 

Wrapping up the 38th edition of ASEAN Innovation Business Platform (AIBP) Conference & Exhibition

It has been an eye-opening journey across the two days of the 38th edition of AIBP Conference & Exhibition in Philippines, as we learn how digital innovation is shaping multiple sectors of the economy, including but not limited to, government agencies, manufacturing, banking, and smart city. One of the most pressing pain points in implementing nationwide digital transformation is the asymmetry in the level of economic development between the city and rural areas in Philippines: the countryside area suffers from a lack of internet and technology connectivity, as well as a lack of awareness on the importance of technology and innovation. To address this information asymmetry, collaborations between government agencies, enterprises, and the citizens themselves, will prove to be vital in promoting a more digitally-inclusive Philippines. 

We will also be hosting the last stop of the 2022 AIBP Conference and Exhibition in:

Bangkok, Thailand, from the 29th – 30th Nov.

Contact us at [email protected] if you are interested!


17 November 2022