Mr. Naoki Ogiwara with DAP Management after the Executive Orientation.

The first Future Center and Innovation Laboratory will be set up in the country as the Development Academy of the Philippines plans to establish a dedicated facility that is envisioned to help government agencies and other stakeholders co-create solutions to “wicked” problems through a new, innovative approach. The first step to this trail-blazing project was taken when Naoki Ogiwara, managing director of Knowledge Associates Japan Ltd., visited the Academy last March 19-23 to help in the concept development of the planned Future Center and Innovation Laboratory for the public sector.  The said assistance was part of the Asian Productivity Organization’s Technical Expert Service (TES) for the Philippines in relation to the country’s designation as the APO’s Center of Excellence on Public Sector Productivity in 2015. First of its kind Although already a trend in European countries, the planned Future Center and Innovation Laboratory would be the first of its kind in the Philippines.  The DAP has received funding from the national government for its facilities expansion plan for DAPCC Tagaytay, which involves the construction of a 14-storey building that will serve as the Future Center and Innovation Laboratory.  The said building will provide state-of-the-art facilities and training to help government agencies and other stakeholders solve their persistent problems through collaborative and innovative problem solving. As part of the TES, Ogiwara conducted an executive orientation on knowledge productivity for DAP officers in Pasig where ideas regarding the planned facility were generated.  The same orientation was conducted at DAPCC Tagaytay where the APO expert was also given a tour of the planned construction site. Stakeholders’ appreciation In order to understand stakeholders’ expectations for the Future Center and Innovation Laboratory, Ogiwara also conducted interviews with top officials of some of the Academy’s partner agencies such as Civil Service Commission Chairperson Alicia de la Rosa-Bala, Department of Budget and Management Undersecretary Lilia Guillermo, Department of Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato de la Peña, and National Economic and Development Authority Undersecretary Adoracion Navarro.  These partner agencies were very positive about the prospect of developing the country’s first Future Center and have agreed to work closely on pilot studies for the said facility.

Team with NEDA Undersecretary Adoracion Navarro.

Ogiwara also worked with key DAP officers on developing the concept paper for the Future Center and Innovation Laboratory.  Using information gathered from various stakeholders, they discussed and formulated the purpose, program, people, business models, and pilot plans for the Future Center.  The output of the workshop was then presented to DAP management, which also gave a very positive response.

The Future Center and Innovation Laboratory Development Team.

Foundational work More like a foundational and ongoing work rather than a finished development, the TES is set to be followed by other activities such as benchmarking visits, trainings on design thinking and facilitation, pilot test design, and client consultations, all of which are expected to further equip the Academy in designing and running its Future Center and Innovation Laboratory. Ogiwara, in addition to his spade work with the DAP, also served as resource speaker in a Kartilya session on Knowledge Productivity in the Public Sector, which was attended by various government agencies that have also become interested in the idea of such a facility for the public sector. The DAP, which has earned the reputation of revolutionizing minds in the 1970s when it was first incepted, is again trying to respond to the challenge of becoming the breeding ground of innovative government programs for future generations, DAP management said. Through the Future Center and Innovation Laboratory, it explained the 44-year-old institution believes it is taking the next big step to reinvent itself by aiming not only to provide cutting-edge facilities but also lead the whole public sector towards innovation management and creative problem solving.