In_Pact Asia Forum Offers Interactive Learning Streams For Inclusive Innovation

By Tieza Santos | A growing economy that demands rapid innovation necessitates raising the question of impact and inclusion, with sustainable development as the backbone. Such was the context of the recent In_Pact Asia Forum 2018: Innovation for Inclusive Impact, which gathered over 300 attendees comprised of innovators, startup founders, thought and industry leaders, non-profit sector representatives, impact investors, academics, and youth groups last April 13 at De La Salle University in Manila, the Philippines.
The plenary “Leaving No One Behind: Operationalizing Inclusion” set in motion the morning session, with speakers representing the commercial, non-profit, and financial sectors providing a robust discussion on inclusive innovation. The morning plenary had each of the speakers share their experiences on how practical and evidence-based solutions supported their organizational goals and achieving inclusive impact with stakeholders.

The narratives showcased innovation ranging from product development, program design, partnership management, and financing within the prisms of employment, healthcare, FinTech, and education.

Following the opening plenary, Asian Venture Philanthrophy Network CEO Naina Batra and Franklin Baker CEO Peter Garrucho Jr provided a more focused insight on the collective impact, the importance of inclusion, and how to steer it in the countryside.

With Batra having worked across various sectors dealing with social investments and impact bonds, she focused on collective action and how it can be translated to unlocking the various pools of capital available. She reiterated how such capitals operate in silos, resulting in challenges in deal flow and fund deployment.

Garrucho, on the other hand, focused on innovations in the rural areas where they are needed the most in order to achieve greater inclusion. He gave examples on sectors that demonstrate such practice such as in energy where deployment of technology props the development of Small Island Grid Systems (SIGS).

The plenary was reconvened in the afternoon through a high-level fireside chat on “Innovation In The Digital Economy”, with chief executives from notable incubators and telecommunication companies in the country and the Honorable Undersecretary Mon Ibrahim of the Philippine Government’s Department of Information and Communications Technology gracing the session.

This chat centered on the creation of a healthy digital environment that is characterized by inclusivity that bridges and connects people across sectors. With the rate of change in a digitally-enabled economy, the panel also emphasized the role of the government in shaping policies that support innovation, maximizing benefits of open source in amassing social impact, and disrupting legacy enterprises through detachment in order for differentiation to take place and innovation to be adopted.

Then there were breakout sessions that support the forum’s learning streams. The sessions covered a range of topics that focused on approaches to support inclusive innovation, which include impact investing, design thinking, and digital technologies.

The event was capped with two plenary sessions with in-depth discussion that rounded out the earlier sessions. At the plenary, “Breaking Silos: Conversations On Collective Impact”, panelists from the non-profit sector and startup accelerators zeroed in on the discussion on collective impact and breaking silos, and how centralized and decentralized structured approaches can make collaboration work for differentiated players and sectors.

At the end of the forum, participants were treated with an open conversation with panelists from the host university and previous plenary speakers summarizing the key highlights of each session. The closing activity also opened the Minds Marketplace and networking cocktails, allowing the participants an opportunity to have one-on-one discussion with potential collaborators.


About The Author

Tieza is Jumpstart’s Journalist In Residence (JIR) for Manila. By profession, she specializes in social entrepreneurship, startups, community development, sustainable finance and impact investing, public policy, and climate change. She has launched and implemented a number of development and environment projects, startup enterprises, and incubator programs, providing advisory support and project management leadership.

She is also a freelance writer and manages her own advocacy campaigns. She is a seasoned globetrotter who loves the outdoors and exploring new cultures. She has enlisted herself in a number of fun activities from mountain hikes, trail running, photo walks, painting, and boxing.

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