by May Nina Celynne Layug
Trade Commissioner, Philippine Trade and Investment Center San Francisco | 14 November 2018

Silicon Valley has been a beacon that continue to inspire startup ecosystems and entrepreneurs. One of its unique characteristic is its innovative and collaborative culture that transcends the nature and size of a company. This is the main theme of ENGAGE 2018 Silicon Valley Immersion Program organized by Startup Village and Techshake.

Part of the ENGAGE program is the fireside chat on “Fostering Innovative and Collaborative Culture in Companies and Organizations”organized by the Philippine Trade and Investment Center – Silicon Valley in partnership with the Philippine Consulate General in San Francisco, SPARK447, and the Science and Technology Advisory Council (STAC-SV). About 60 representatives from the Filipino-American startup community, technology professionals, community leaders attended the event.

The seventeen (17) – member Engage delegation with representatives from multinational companies and startups benefited from the insights shared by Mark Goldenson, Founder of Breakthrough, the Bazaar, and Woosh; Mr. Andrew Lee, Co-Founder of Stanford’s StartXMed and Managing Director of StartX-QB3 Labs; and Michael Ynion, SVP of HSBC bank USA Global Relationship/Corporate Banking.

How does a startup and a corporation adopt corporate innovation? what about management’s role on innovation and culture? How do you strike a balance between creativity and control? These were some of the topics explored by the panelists, sharing various perspectives from that of a multinational company and that of a startup. While there are differences on approach given that startups could exercise more flexibility and a larger company would have to conform with established guidelines and rules, TALENT has been identified as an indispensable tenet for a company culture that thrives on innovation. From a management standpoint, talent will not thrive without establishing rapport and establishing trust. From a systems standpoint, discipline needs to be enforced.

We also have something to learn from the “network effect” – a phenomenon that characterizes the success of Silicon Valley as an ecosystem. Silicon Valley is an ecosystem that early on has identified and focused on its unique advantage, which attracted like-minded groups to share knowledge and encourage each other.

The goal is not to mimic Silicon Valley, but to stay true to our unique advantages and opportunities in new industries. It is therefore, very timely that DTI participated in the Startup Genome Project using data-driven analytics to identify our startup ecosystem’s core strengths – FINTECH, Enterprise Solutions, and AI. AgTech is also a key sector that could benefit from the network effect model.

PTIC-SV and the Philippine Consulate General in San Francisco aims to contribute to this endeavor. Through the Philippine Startup Meetup series and SPARK447, we aim to connect and build networks among those in the industry in San Francisco and the Philippines, and in the process, identify opportunities that can mutually benefit the US and the Philippines.

As highlighted by Consul General Henry Bensurto “Today is an opportune time to make ourselves known and recognized in the industry. Silicon Valley is now looking East, with more and more Asians and Asian-Americans becoming titans and industry leaders of business and innovation. With the movie Crazy Rich Asians highlighting to mainstream society just how far Asians have come, Let’s also show the world that Filipinos can be leaders and innovators, capable of being in the forefront of the world startup-industry”

The event is the 4th in a series of “StartUp MeetUp” events. To date, the platform has provided a venue for QBO, Philippine Startup World Cup finalists, “Made a Difference” Travel for social tourism and entrepreneurship, and Startup Village, and Techshake, to engage the Filipino Americans and other partners in the Silicon Valley startup ecosystem. We invite other Philippine ecosystem players to reach out to PTIC-SV as we work towards the Philippines’ “network effect”.♦