The De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde (DLS-CSB) Hub of Innovation For Inclusion (HIFI), in partnership with the De La Salle University (DLSU) Office of the Vice President for Lasallian Mission (OVPLM), organized the Metro Manila Leg of the Benilde Prize Design Thinking Workshop held last July 5 to 7, 2017, at the 20th Floor Multipurpose Hall of the Br. Andrew Gonzalez Hall.
The event was attended by 11 colleges and universities in Metro Manila, and was the seventh design thinking workshop conducted by HIFI as they tour around the Philippines conducting roadshows. The workshop jumpstarts the year-long Benilde Prize 3.0 Social Innovation Competition.
The Benilde Prize 3.0
The Benilde Prize is the first University-based social innovation competition that promotes the application of design thinking methodology to create scalable and sustainable solutions on today’s social issues. Benilde HiFi Director Abigail Mapua-Cabanilla emphasizes, “The Benilde Prize is a unique competition because it not only provides an opportunity for students to win in a contest, but is also a learning experience for them. As a student [or] team participates, they get exposed to human-centered design or design thinking as the primary methodology in idea incubation.”
The first stage of the competition involves conducting design thinking workshops in order to help the participants generate an initial tangible idea that they may pursue as an entry to the contest. As the competition progresses, teams chosen to advance are invited to an intensive bootcamp where they will be mentored to refine their ideas. Finalists will be chosen towards the end of the contest where they will undergo another bootcamp leading towards the announcement of the winner.
Since it began in 2015, the competition has always focused on the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), especially those affecting “people and planet”. Specifically, the event tackles eight out of 17 SDGs: no hunger, good health, quality education, clean water and sanitation, life on land, life below water, climate action, and responsible consumption.
“We are focusing on these because we feel that these are SDGs that require urgent attention as it affects mainly our fellow human beings. We also maintain an open and inclusive approach to accepting entries so long as it meets our criteria of human-centered design and its trifocal focus on desirability, feasibility, and sustainability,” enumerates HIFI Innovation Development and Mentoring Coordinator Rex Lor.
Compared to the previous Benilde Prize competitions, the event this year has streamlined the process to introduce design thinking before the actual call for entries. As of press time, the Benildean Design Thinking teams have visited six regional centers around the country and have reached out to more than 30 colleges and universities.
“Because of this, we are expecting more entries to be submitted and are assured that [these] participants will be submitting entries that are user-centered and uses human-centered design as a common language,” asserts Lor.
Among some of the partners of the event are Power Mac, Primer, and several schools, colleges, and universities around the country, especially the Lasallian institutions of De La Salle Philippines. Moreover, they also have a partnership with Peter D. Garrucho Jr., who has made significant contributions in the country’s trade, industry, agriculture, and energy sectors. The organizing team is also tapping their partners in the social innovation network of the Philippines, who will be providing their expertise during the event.
The winner of the contest will be awarded a plaque, prizes, and seed funding of P500,000. The seed funding will primarily be used for the incubation-acceleration of the winning team’s social innovation idea and will be spent for project-related expenses. Moreover, aside from the funding, the Benilde HiFi will also provide the winning team expert mentorship, additional training, and opportunities to connect with the social innovation network in the Philippines.
Social innovation in the Philippines
HIFI believes that there is still a lot to be done in terms of promoting social innovation and the design thinking methodology as the country is still rather conservative in adopting methodologies and frameworks.
“However, we have seen a trend, especially with the younger generation, the millennials to be exact, of an easy adoption of the design thinking methodology, because of its flexibility, relevance, practicality, and ability to be applied immediately,” Lor assures. “There also seems to be a good connection between the ‘gospel’ of social innovation with that of the collective values shared by the millennials.”
Meanwhile, Benilde HiFi Mentor Jag Garcia shares that they are very optimistic and excited for the upcoming projects. “The young minds of college students really have a lot of solutions and ideas that will help change communities and people’s lives. What they lack in maturity, they more than make up for in [their] drive and vision for a better world.”