Pandemic boosts importance of innovation, entrepreneurship

The country is ramping up efforts to generate new products and services that can be promoted and sold to the domestic and global markets, and build an enabling business environment to commercialize these goods amid the pandemic.

It shall be expanding the Regional Inclusive Innovation Centers (RIICs), a network of innovation agents that collaborate to commercialize market-oriented research towards the competitiveness of the region, as the collective regional movement for innovation and entrepreneurship through the RIICs has been launched.

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez said the imperative to advance innovation and entrepreneurship through the RIICs becomes more pronounced given the health crisis and the recurring threats of natural calamities.

“Crises such as these become opportunities for generating new products and services that can cater to the ever-changing dynamics of consumer demands and behaviors, as well as the shifting business and value chain landscape,” he said.

Lopez said considering the emerging and evolving trends, the country now has to be prepared with programs for a future where consumers expect greater convenience and control over transactions, digital will be “normal”, and consumers will be social and environmental advocates.

“Hi-tech interconnected value chains will be a part of the future lifestyle and business environment. More startups-scaleups will emerge. Greater transparency, efficiency, and convenience of doing business will be expected from the government,” he said.

Lopez said that although the pandemic has caused a global economic downturn and disruption, it has also been an impetus for enterprises to pursue digital transformation all over the world.

Within the dynamic multi-sectoral ecosystem of the RIICs, he said DTI positions itself as the primary agent for identifying opportunities to move up the value chains; creating or discovering niches to compete on domestic and international markets; adding value to products, services, and systems; and discovering new, practical solutions that can continually respond to community or regional needs.

DTI Undersecretary for Competitiveness and Innovation Group Rafaelita Aldaba said RIICs are vital instruments to stimulate collaborations for innovation and entrepreneurship in the region.

“By focusing on the products, processes, systems, and other solutions that can address problems salient and unique to the region, the RIICs serve as a convergent platform for productive exchange of ideas, sharing of resources and expertise, and setting common economic goals,” she said.

“This collective (regional movement) launch affirms our commitment to build and strengthen the RIICs, in cooperation with other government agencies, industry, the academe, and other stakeholders in the regions,” she added.

DTI Regional Operations Group Undersecretary Blesila Lantayona said the business has to remain relevant and resilient as the world is constantly changing.

“It has to adapt to these changes. Adapting into change requires one to innovate and innovation is the flipside of resiliency,” she said, adding that fostering innovation is a catalyst to achieving a more sustainable and inclusive economy.

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