Reports from Cristina Francia
This year’s Innovation Inclusive Impact (In_Pact) Asia Forum was launched on April 13 at the Multipurpose Hall, at the fiftth floor of Henry Sy Sr. Hall. Organized by De La Salle—College of Saint Benilde (DLS-CSB), Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation (ASSIST), Hub Innovation for Inclusion (HiFi), and its flagship program, DigiBayanihan (DB), the forum gathered more than 300 delegates; including pioneers, sectoral leaders, speakers, stakeholders, and aspiring influencers of social innovation in the country and across the globe.
With the theme “Designing Tomorrow’s World Today”, In_Pact serves as a channel to push forward the discussion on “change-making and inclusive innovation through digital enablement and creative thinking.” It prompts multi-sectoral collaboration to create collective impact.
The forum also highlights interactive learning streams beneficial for discovering and exchanging strategies through breakout sessions focusing on design thinking, impact investment, technology and tools, and cohesive partnership. DLS-CSB President Br. Dennis Magbanua FSC instigated the tone of the event by ending his opening remarks with an emphasis on “hatching ideas that should hopefully change the world.”
Importance of collaboration
During the morning session of the forum, a plenary entitled “Leaving no one behind: Operationalizing Inclusion” was held. Four speakers from different backgrounds presented their points and answered follow-up questions from the moderator.
There was no specific target audience. One of In_Pact’s primary goals is to have a representative for each sector and organization because limiting the number of people involved in the activity will also limit the discourse of ideas. The call for various sectors to work together is also a call to build a sound strategy for socially inclusive innovation and then aligning initiatives to that strategy.
“When working with scale of impact, you have no choice but to also work with government. Policy formulation is important in supporting these impact initiatives,” says a student participant. Inclusivity is merging together and harnessing diverse talents and resources as well as leveraging differences to deliver the best business results.
Call to partnership
In setting the context prior to the plenary sessions, Mapua-Cabanilla, the Director of Hub of Innovation for Inclusion (HiFi), emphasized the importance of diversity and inclusion. For Mapua-Cabanilla, diversity is “the way we differ”, which makes us unique whereas inclusion, in relation to diversifying, is “bringing together, leveraging on the difference to being better.” As there are shift in markets, especially in Asian markets, it also helps to rely on instinct in terms of innovation.
One the topics highlighted in one of the sessions was the importance of reflecting on what is our role in social services and its inclusion of communicating with the youth. Moreover, this should serve as a helping hand in the inclusion of government in the narrative of innovation. Inclusion for innovation, as discussed in the forum, includes reaching out to grassroots—building solutions for them.
Open-source was another essential idea was put on the table. Much like crowdsourcing, it goes hand-in-hand with the concept of partnership. According to Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Launchgarage, Jay Fajardo, “Open-source is not limited to I.T. (Information Technology). [It also] works in systems, policies, governments.” He explained that open source is an effective tool to accelerate collaboration and inclusion globally and that “everyone just takes the technology and improves on it.”
An idea brought up was that collaboration is dealing with one’s personal fears as there would be no rewards without risking something to some extent. However, with the fears present that may hinder someone’s innovative self, Usec. Mon Ibrahim says that such innovations are “going to be the future”.
Role of Technology
“There will always be someone who can bring in the [technology],” those were the words of Glenn Estrella, Vice President for Digital Ventures of Globe Telecom. Another recurring topic throughout the forum was the function of technology in the social innovation. In one of the breakout sessions, the understanding on digital innovations and how technical revolutions go hand in hand.
In a time where billions of individuals are connected, digital economy will now be more crucial than ever. With the immense reach of digital conversation through social media, it is through digital technologies that all sectors will be able to widen their scope of knowledge and immerse themselves to societal issues and topics. Move.PH Partnership Manager Voltaire Tupaz talked about how the efficiencies of companies have improved with the help of the Internet.
Towards an inclusive impact
At the end of the day, all new strategies and emergent ideas are interconnected. They are all about solving undisclosed and unresolved major problems that communities face across multicultural societies through collaborative social innovation. It is an initiative created to ensure that inclusion and social change will become a reality. There is need to work towards this in a collaborative fashion.
Through In_pact Asia Forum, potential partnerships and potential partnerships emerged and potential solutions to bigger problems discovered. “It’s a movement that we’re creating—a movement to push for social innovation, and make sure no one gets left behind. And innovation is our tool to attain social impact,” says Nain Batta of Asian Venture Philanthropy Network (AVPN).