iInnovate interviews Harvey G. Libarnes

September 19, 2008 at 4:18 am Leave a comment

Harvey G. Libarnes, Incubation Program Head

Incubation, Innovations Development, Service Creation Division

Globe Telecom

AYALATBI: Key to integrating innovation in the culture of an organization is having a clear and shared definition of it. What is the definition of innovation in your organization?

HARVEY G. LIBARNES: Given its highly technological nature, innovation in Globe—or the telecommunications field in general—has often been thought of as the ability to incorporate new technologies in the creation of new products and services. While this is certainly true, and it continues to be a major innovation focus area, Globe recognizes that innovation is a perpetual activity that spans the whole organization and through time has embraced a wider definition.

As a participant to the overall progression of Globe’s innovation agenda, there are three very important changes to the definition that I believe continue to solidify innovation as it develops across the organization.

#1 – Innovation happens everywhere in Globe and in all shapes and sizes. Beyond the traditional innovation happening in the development of products, services, and brands, both revolutionary and evolutionary innovations have been recognized to also be in many other activities. Some of these other innovation focus areas identified today are: organizational processes, input technologies and materials, logistics and channels, market development and deepening, growth engines and platforms, and business models. In this aspect, innovation is a collective responsibility of all Globe employees and needs to be facilitated by putting the right structures and processes in place.

#2 – Innovation should be centered on the end value to customers. Technology is but one avenue for innovation, and it is how Globe incorporates the needs of its customers into the different technologies that derive true innovation value. In this sense, all innovation must directly or indirectly translate to some value for the end customers for it to translate to sustainable value for Globe.

#3 – Innovation happens best in an ecosystem. Whether it is the generation of good ideas or the creation and delivery of easy-to-use services, Globe works within an ecosystem of partners to deliver each innovation. Globe Labs is perhaps a good example of how Globe further opens up to create a healthy innovation environment where all parties collaboratively design and invent new services.

AYALATBI: How does your organization encourage innovation?

HL: Globe works to continuously build a culture of innovation in many ways. From a process perspective, many ideation processes are built into the service creation discipline to enable the funneling and sifting of good ideas—coming from internal and external Globe sources—to the right people within the organization so that they can be acted upon. Proper organization structures have also been put in place to ensure that the different innovation landscapes are covered like the Innovation Development Division to handle longer-term innovation initiatives.

AYALATBI: What characterizes the Filipinos’ attitude towards innovation? Please answer in terms of what we should continue to practice and what we ought to revise.

HL: Filipinos in general are very creative and thus have a high propensity for innovation. This has surfaced time and again in the application development perspective where we see many of the local developers on a par with the rest of the world in the richness of ideas and ability to create applications. This is something that should be continued—and perhaps even strengthened through building more collaborative innovation ecosystems involving the government, incubators and investors, telecommunications companies, and technology partners alike.

AYALATBI: In a country of such limited resources as the Philippines, why does innovation become important when there are more risks that attend it?

HL: First of all, I do not believe that limited resources pose a risk to limit innovation in the Philippines. Perhaps traditionally this would have been the case where the old paradigm for innovation was purely competitive. But with how the Internet has evolved and information avenues flow across the world, innovation today really is just as collaborative as it is competitive and people continuously leverage on each others ideas and innovations.

In this sense, Filipinos have as much opportunity to learn, secure resources or investments, and innovate on a global scale. Perhaps what is important is that we learn to incorporate what is uniquely ours to differentiate our own innovations globally. In this sense, “limited resources” as an example is as much a potential global competitive advantage as it is a risk – similarly to India and how it is now strongly positioned to produce cheap small cars for Asia due to its own local market limitations.

AYALATBI:  Please name a personal interest or endeavor that is not related to technology but feeds your aptitude for innovation.

HL: I have been a bonsai enthusiast for a few years now and humbly admit that I probably have as much to learn today on the subject as when I first started. Other than the continued need for creativity and patience, one of the biggest lessons I have learned is that the art of bonsai is what one does—not something that one finishes. I always try to maintain the same mindset when engaged with innovation: Innovation is what one does – not a something that one finishes.

AYALATBI: What excites you, apart from technology?

HL: The power of the human mind has always fascinated me in the sense that it has so much untapped potential. I hear much study has gone into this field on how to utilize more than 10% of the human brain and I’m truly excited about where it is headed—and its exponential implications for the future when coupled with how technology is already currently evolving.




Entry filed under: iInnovate. Tags: , , , .

William D. Dar, PhD Gregory L. Tangonan, PhD

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