BATANGAS CITY, Philippines. – The Department of Trade and Industry – Competitiveness Bureau (DTI-CB) held the 6th Inclusive Innovation Conference at the Batangas State University on 25-26 May 2022 with the theme, “Leadership in Innovation: Key to Sustained Competitiveness and Economic Growth.”

With the rapid adoption of technology and the rise of tech-centric programs, the IIC 2022 aimed to define the kinds of innovation that drive growth and help the country meet its developmental and economic objectives, elevate innovation to the top agenda as a foundation of reform and organizational change, and set governance performance metrics for innovation and entrepreneurship.

The IIC gathered government officials from partner agencies, high-ranking members of the State Universities and Colleges, Startups, Startup Enablers and supporters of the DTI’s Inclusive Innovation Industrial Strategy, like the United States Agency for International Development, to rally their collective capabilities and jointly articulate their intent and actions to boost the country’s innovation strategies and sustain cohesive innovation programs at the local, regional, and national levels. It served as a venue where the stakeholders solidified existing partnerships and bridged the gap between the industry and academe on our road to competitiveness.

Prioritizing economic recovery, the speakers and breakout session panelists highlighted the importance of innovation, digital transformation and the role universities play in encouraging innovation and driving technology adoption to answer pressing socio-economic issues.

“The talk of the government approach has now evolved to an all-society approach to innovation and entrepreneurship. University and colleges are crucial in orchestrating a multi-actor network

university-industry collaboration is one of the main sources of external knowledge and technology for companies,” said DTI Secretary Ramon M. Lopez. He adds that “strong government-academe-industry collaboration is the key driver of industry 4.0 and digital transformation strategy. “

Department of Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar supports this by adding that “upscaling technology and scientific research are key to achieving a more robust (agriculture) industry.” He underscored that “Universities and colleges xxx provide enabling support mechanisms and technologies both for key industry players and for students and researchers with the potential to transform the industry.”

As such, Department of Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato De La Peña called for the need for investments, “we need to invest in Growth; we need to invest in science and technology facilities and human resources.”

Indeed, innovation and technology adoption are necessary to aid industries and businesses in their competitiveness agenda. It is the enabling factor that makes organizations more efficient and businesses more competitive. With Industry 4.0 ushering in, the IIC provided an opportunity for startups to showcase their purpose and products, university-driven research and development, and the programs and projects of the DTI.

The IIC likewise became a forum where innovation champions and leaders discussed several issues such as the development of the Startup Ecosystem, Regional Supply and Value Chains, Research and Development, and mainstreaming of the innovation concept at the university level. In these discussions, emphasis was made on the role of universities in weaving innovation at the core of their programs and curriculum and matching graduate competencies to industry needs. Encouraging a tech-savvy and adaptive mindset among the students, professors, and other learners is instrumental in continuous development and social inclusion. Developing technologies must come with the end in mind: commercializing university-born innovations, driving regional economies, and expanding globally competitive enterprises, in order to accelerate innovation adoption for economic recovery and growth. Thus, coordination and collaboration among the relevant players in the ecosystem will enable an effective and sustainable scheme of getting and producing ideas, thereby fostering innovation and holistic problem-solving. Furthermore, collaborative research and programs would result in the proper matching of the needs of the industry, whether local or global.

To facilitate innovation, we need to enable digital transformation. “There is a need for digital transformation for economic recovery for sustainable growth, which will have the potential to create various opportunities in the industry,” said Undersecretary Rafaelita M. Aldaba of the DTI Competitiveness and Innovation Group. The continuous support of DTI towards this end is evident from the programs and projects that are ongoing and currently in the pipeline. Usec. Aldaba emphasizes that “DTI is providing end-to-end support to manufacturing firms in their digital transformation journey covering the different complex needs of MSMEs in shifting to Industry 4.0 and will continue to do so to push for a progressive economic transformation.”

After the panel discussions, the Batangas State University showcased its startups and its innovation centers aimed at fostering an innovative mindset among the students and putting research and development at the forefront of economic growth through the tours of the Knowledge, Innovation and Science Technology (KIST) Park, Science, Technology, Engineering and Environment Research (STEER) Hub, the LIKHA FabLab, and Institute for Research, Innovation and Scholarship (IRIS) Hub. The creation of these centers serves as a commitment to developing university-based innovation to support digital transformation.

Innovation has now taken center stage. It is the actor for change that will move the country forward and uplift the economy. The DTI has been relentless in its efforts to provide programs that aim to bring together the community of start-ups, innovation and industry leaders, and public government officials to forge and solidify partnerships and foster collaboration.

The live recordings of the Inclusive Innovation Conference 2022 are available on the DTI Competitiveness Bureau Facebook Page (@DTICB). To tune in for the latest Innovation-related information, like and follow the DTI-CB Facebook Page (@DTICB) and join the DTI-CB Viber Community ( ♦

Date of Release: 09 June 2022