Facing a brave new normal: Resilience through innovation

Published October 13, 2020, 2:06 AM

by John Tria


John Tria
John Tria

By now many of you may have been reading my columns where i have been writing about the innovation imperative for businesses to recover and achieve resilience as they face the new normal.

Already the wider acceptance of online technology, including meetings, payments, and processes push MSMEs to build speed, efficiency, and sustainability, and reach out to new markets in a more competitive environment- all while maintaining safe workplaces. This, as situations are forecast to change even more as disruptions come.

These are among the elements of the innovation template of businesses for 2021 and beyond.

The recent Philippine Business Conference and Mindanao Business Conference activities highlight the need for innovating for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises  (MSME) sector, which comprise 90% of all businesses. There is a need to institutionalize the capacity to innovate at the level of our enterprises, be they commercial enterprises and even farms.

As innovation is a buzz in the manufacturing and IT sectors, such tools and approaches can and must be cascaded to MSMEs to make them more competitive in the new normal. Building more innovative MSMEs, especially in the rural areas, creates more inclusivity and builds our collective resilience.

Knowing this, management tools such as a continual improvement and innovation programs can be learned by MSMEs, by migrating or even fusing them with quality management systems. More on this in the next columns.

 Attracting more industrial investments to Mindanao

As we have noted also in the recent Mindanao Business Conference, with the approval of new economic zones added to current ones, the government and private sector can work together to promote investments in their areas. There is a need to push growth in Mindanao’s industrial capacities. This will promote jobs that will absorb many Mindanaoans yearning to come home, including returning OFWs.

Particularly, local business groups and the local government, and national agencies such as the  Board of Investments and the regional development councils can craft investment promotion strategies anchored on the strengths of the particular area, campagning for the available low hanging fruits, such as investment-ready locations for quick construction of labor intensive industries. 

Speaking of manufacturing zones, apart from the already operating Phividec Industrial Estate and the Zamboanga and General Santos Ecozones, a unique and investment ready destination already attracting manufacturing investments in Mindanao is the 63-hectare Anflo Industrial Estate in Panabo City, Davao del Norte. 300 meters away is the deep water port and Davao International Container terminal facility with gantry cranes.

Already, several locators have begun constructing manufacturing facilities related to packaging and food processing that complement the Davao region’s industries.

Telecom rollouts: the race for speed

It looks like various telecommunications companies are now doing what they can to push their network capabilities through expansion and investment. We hope this quickly translates to faster internet for many of us doing our innovations and jobs for locals and returning residents.

A key element is the speeding up of permit approvals under Bayanihan 2 and the DICTs common tower policy that allows more than one telco to use commonly constructed towers. Details here:


The Acutis phenomenon

The recently beatified Catholic Italian programmer Carlo Acutis has touched the lives of many, as his example brings faith to a much younger, connected, online generation. As many young people face a confusing future, it is hoped that the eyes of faith can provide not only comfort, but clarity and courage.

Continue to stay safe!

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