Makati City – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) convened via a virtual conference of key stakeholders from the government, academe, industry, and other development partners last 15 December 2021 to discuss the progress of the country’s inclusive innovation programs.  Now on its fifth year, the annual Inclusive Innovation Conference (IIC) focused the theme: “Enriching the Philippine Innovation Culture: The Path to Global Leadership,” with resource speakers emphasizing the promotion of an “Innovation Culture” as a means to inculcate an innovation and entrepreneurial mindset across all levels and as a long-term strategy for advancing the country’s research and development and transformation of human capital.

IIC 2021 featured a lineup of experts and thought leaders working on the nexus of Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Setting the tone of the conference, DTI Undersecretary for Competitiveness and Innovation Dr. Rafaelita M. Aldaba underscored that “the drive towards digital transformation would lead to more innovation and application of new technologies in addressing social, economic, environment, and health problems. Thus, [the DTI] views these both the development and adoption of new technologies can drive an inclusive, resilient, and sustainable industrial development.”

In his keynote address, Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez emphasized that “the foundation of innovation rests on a changed mindset and culture. This innovative thinking requires risk-taking, tolerance to the process of trial-and-error, a calculated allowance for failure, domain expertise and competence, disciplined execution, and financial accountability. It is now all up to us as innovation actors to inculcate the culture and mindset in the ecosystem that we aim to build.”

Policy keynotes were also delivered by Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato T. De La Peña and Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua. Secretary De La Peña stated that “the future R&D landscape in the Philippines requires research development and commercialization. To ensure inclusive innovation we need to continue the Science for Change Program Bill that can mean significant support for the industry and academic institutions in strengthening their STI endeavors.” 

Secretary Chua, on the other hand, highlighted the recent improvement of the country’s economy stating that “despite the setbacks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Philippines is now on track to achieving our 2022 goal of becoming an upper middle-income country. In the second quarter of this year, we recovered strongly with a gross domestic product growth rate of 11.8 percent.” Secretary Chua further explained that the most recent economic indicators have shown further gains in the economy, expecting growth to accelerate in the fourth quarter of this year. 

Select panelists from the government, academe, and other key sectors shared their in-depth knowledge and experiences at the three panel discussions on “Engineering the Innovation Culture”, “The Social-Cultural Contexts of Innovation” and “Human Capital Formation for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.” 

IIC 2021 also witnessed the launch of the collective regional movement for the Regional Inclusive Innovation Centers as common platforms for collaboration and sharing of resources to drive up innovation and entrepreneurship in the regions. Concluding the conference, renowned innovator, entrepreneur, and venture capitalist Dr. Diosdado P. Banatao said that “for the Philippines to become an enriched country, it must protect intellectual property used for innovation, rights of individual to be free to pursue ideas for enrichment, promote availability of capital to invest in innovative ideas, and protect equal rights for all segments of society.” Dr. Banatao emphasized that “innovation and entrepreneurship are inseparable from an economic growth point of view.”

Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Ambassador Benedicto Yujuico closed the Conference reiterating the necessity of appropriating a sufficient budget to put up a robust telecom infrastructure, implementing the Innovation Act, and strengthening research and development as these will significantly bolster the innovation ecosystem.

The Inclusive Innovation Conference 2021, the Facebook live recording is available on the DTI Competitiveness Bureau Facebook Page (@DTI.CB).  To tune in for the latest Innovation-related information, like and follow the DTI-CB Facebook Page (@DTICB). ♦

Date of Release: 23 December 2021