20 Insights from the Top 10 Filipino Innovators of 2020

From left to right (1st row): Bautista, Cobonpue, Lim, Valdes, and Chan. 2nd row: Chong, Evangelista, Ilao, Ledesma, and Palencia. 

On March 3 and 4, 2021, Mansmith and Fielders, Inc. held the very first Mansmith Innovation Awards and Summit. A dual conference and awarding ceremony, the event recognized the top 10 Filipino innovators for their significant contributions to innovation in the Philippines.

Innovation is the job of everyone–it is seeing things differently and doing things differently, not just within one’s own organization but within the entire industry as well. Part of Mansmith’s advocacy is to spread this knowledge of what innovation is and help build a culture of innovation in the country through education and inspiration.

Here are the winners of the Master Innovator category, as well as some accompanying insights from their keynote talks at the summit.

Edwin Bautista, CEO and President of Union Bank of the Philippines, Master Innovator for Digital Technology Innovation

“Previously, innovations were heavily focused on how to increase market share. Today, you cannot separate business model innovation from your strategy.”

“Think of innovation as a total business model transformation. Look at tools and technology to make this happen. But most importantly, put together a culture that supports all of this.”

Kenneth Cobonpue, CEO and Creative Director, Interior Crafts of the Islands, Inc., Master Innovator for Product Innovation in the Creative Industry

“Inspiration comes from everywhere. For me, it could be crushed cans, leaves, foam, and the best of Philippine craftsmanship.”

“Original can be a new process, new materials, new shape, a twist. The intention is always to stand out.”

William Tiu Lim, President and CEO, Mega Global Corporation, Master Innovator for Business Model Innovation

“Once you have set the standard, it has to be consistent along your product lines. You are building a brand with innovations in place.”

“Define what you can do differently versus your competition. Disrupt them.”

Bea Valdes, Owner, BEAVALDES, Master Innovator for Innovative Designs and Use of Creative Technology

“Make your meaning. It gives you the tenacity to go extra miles. The things we make represent the things we value, it reveals who we are as a people and as a society.”

“Disrupt the process. Observe different scales, try a different perspective as it leads to an innovative path.”

The Enterprise Innovators also shared their experiences through panel discussions. 

Katrina Chan, Executive Director, QBO Innovation Hub, Enterprise Innovator for Business Model Innovation

“Never let a good crisis go to waste. Disruptive events around the world are catalysts for innovation.”

“Create an environment where people are encouraged to try, make mistakes and learn. Set-up easy channels for mentorship.”

Barnaby Chong, President, CHG Global, Inc., Enterprise Innovator for Product Innovation

“In our company, we encourage our team to take small bets and look for projects to compensate for losses.”

“Operate consistently. Sometimes innovations fail not at the concept level but at the execution level.”

Neogin Evangelista, President and General Manager, PHILUSA Corporation, Enterprise Innovator for Business Model Innovation

“Innovation is the job of everyone in our organization.”

“Our employees have visibility on innovations in the pipeline. It emanates from a strong sense of purpose.”

Maria Rosario Ilao, CEO and Founder, MobileOptima Inc., Enterprise Innovator for Technology Innovation

“Innovation is not a finish line. If we don’t make ourselves obsolete, others will. It is difficult to constantly iterate and keep changing but this is what we need if we want to stay relevant.”

“More and more local companies have acknowledged that technology and innovation should be core principles of their organization.”

Merlinda Abadicio-Palencia, Chief Operating Officer, Envigor Natural Products Mfg. Inc., Enterprise Innovator for Product Innovation

“As an educator, there is a bigger responsibility to show everyone that we can make local technologies successful.”

“We need to be models that the way to grow is innovation and it can be done.”

RJ Ledesma, President and Co-Founder, Mercato Centrale Philippines, Enterprise Innovator for Business Model Innovation

“Entrepreneurs don’t see business failure as a personal failure, and never stop thinking on how to overcome the crisis.”

“In our small, agile team, we always think of solving pain points. Irritation of clients became our inspiration to create innovations.

The search is on for the 2nd Mansmith Innovation Awards! Application forms are available for download on https://www.mansmithinnovation.com until October 31, 2021.

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Josiah Go features the movers and shakers of the business world and writes about marketing, strategy, innovation, execution and entrepreneurship


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