January 16, 2021

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Philippine businesses are adapting faster to innovation

A recent study showed that the majority of business leaders in the Philippines consider innovation a ‘must’ amid market uncertainties brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the study, 88% of Filipino decision-makers treat innovation as a tool with the capacity to accelerate progress, and not just a ‘good-to-have’ element of the business. This number, while less than the response recorded in a broader study among Asia Pacific innovation leaders (98%), is still more than the average 74% positive response recorded for all business organisations in the region.

Meanwhile, Philippine organisations were also found to have increased their ability to be drivers of change in innovation by 4%.

The report also showed that technology was the top priority of businesses (44%). However, the same data revealed that people were considered by decision-makers as the least of their priority when it comes to building resilience.

The survey, which was conducted within a period of six months and included 213 business decision-makers, is part of a bigger report which involved 3,312 business leaders in 15 business markets across Asia. The research also showed that within this six-month period, an innovative mindset among organisations in the Philippines was quickly adopted. The positive response was recorded during the pandemic, the impact of which has left many businesses in a slump.

A senior executive who was part of the report said, “Innovation is no longer an option, but a necessity. We’ve seen how the recent crisis spurred transformation across the region, and organisations will have to integrate the ability to innovate into their core to recover.”

Innovation during the pandemic

The number of business leaders who had a change in sentiment regarding innovation was also reported. While 77% of decision-makers admitted that shifting to innovative methods is difficult pre-pandemic, 36% of leaders exhibited a turnaround in their perception.

“We see amongst leaders a constant appetite for growth and evolution. During COVID-19, 45% of them said they think their business model will lose competitiveness in five years’ time, as compared to 21% of firms in the Philippines. This desire and urgency for continuous improvement through agility and adaptation to change will determine the success of businesses in this new normal,” said the Associate Vice President, Head of Digital Transformation of one of the organisations involved in the research.

Data gathered from the survey were used in modelling called an ‘innovation framework’. In this model, various organisations were classified in four categories: traditionalist, novice, adaptor and leaders.

The results of the study are consistent with earlier news reports on the steady rise of the Philippines in the Global Innovation Index. In September 2020, the Philippines was reported to have ranked 50th in the said global index for 2020 which included 131 economies. In 2019, the Philippines ranked 54th in the Global Innovation Index.

The Philippine government, through the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT)  earlier announced that efforts at digitalisation are in the works. In 2017, the DICT introduced the National Broadband Program which aims to fortify connectivity services in the country. In addition, the department also unveiled plans for pursuing information and communications technology or ICTs.