Posts filed under ‘Innovation Forum’

Taking on That One Great Leap

Ayala TBI’s 4th Innovation Forum for 2012 featured Juan Great Leap, a start-up movement which aims to encourage Filipinos to take the great start-up leap.

Peter Cauton, a man who has gone to more than 6,000 interviews, talked of how being in the Human Resources industry for 10 years has led him to become bored and demotivated. He noted that through the support of his wife and after much discernment, he was able to take the leap into having a business of his own back in 2008. What started with STORM Consulting, was soon followed by Searchlight, Stream Engine Studios, and the Mobile App School. Peter even went on and started his 1st blog – – which served as the avenue for start-ups and start-up wanna-be’s.

Peter talks of how it was during these periods in his life that he got to realize that money & meaning no longer need to be exclusive…that it is actually passion that would make you stand out…and that now, more than ever, is the right time to strike in the Philippine field.

Peter introduced three start up samurais who comprised the panel; Denton Chua (Medical and Tech Entrepreneur, CEO and President of HealthCube, Howard Go (Mobile Game Developer, Co-Founder of Mochibits), and Glenn Santos (Writer, Serial Entrepreneur and Founder of Memokitchen). The panel started off with the punches that they dealt with when they were just starting up their business ventures.  All three were fearless as they shared with the big crowd of more than a hundred who braved the big downpour last August 29 at the Tech Portal, UP-AyalaLand TechnoHub. They talked of threats from big players, economic instability, internal theft, and a labor case, amongst others. They gave their advices of how a start up wanna-be should consciously adopt a growth mindset – described as a mix of optimism and realism. They reiterated that if an aspiring entrepreneur thinks he or she has certain skill sets, one has to think again and put it to test to find one’s real skill sets. A risk and reward system was also pointed out as a constant in all entrepreneurial ventures.  All panel members were one in saying that everything truly boils down to you making that DECISION.

These samurais echoed that their strengths lie in their trust for others, full commitment, and the ardour for continuous learning. From the first-hand stories of these four courageous entrepreneurs, the question posed to the crowd was: “are you ready to take that great leap?”


September 5, 2012 at 3:50 am Leave a comment

Beyond IQ and EQ, there’s XQ!

What is a better way of spending the afternoon of February 22, 2012? Entrepreneurs, techies, experts and students were treated to an Innovation Forum on raising capital, a common problem shared by all   at the Tech Portal, UP-AyalaLand TechnoHub, Commonwealth Ave., Diliman, Quezon City.

Due to growing concerns on technology commercialization and even more so, funding sources for start-ups, Maoi Arroyo, President & CEO of Hybridigm Consulting Inc. along with Liz Fumar,  Associate Consultant, gave their take on Raising Capital The Hybridigm Way.  Maoi Arroyo started off by reminding the audience  that innovation does not stop with their inventions but   with commercialization. She gave emphasis that with innovations looking as though the business’ “porn”, innovators should actually take into account what is desirable to users, what is possible with technology and what is viable to the marketplace. She  also noted that the process by which  Filipinos follow in doing business actually differs from the norm.  A number of teams and start up companies she encountered, source out funds by first doing the pitch, followed by making the executive summary, then having the business plan. There is greater success rate when from the get go, start ups deal with commercialization goal.

Her  talk  included insights from her own experience  on funding milestones  of tapping friends, family, founders, and fools for seed capital, and of bootstrapping using your credit cards. She  mentioned that venture capitalists’ game theory is that you only have to get one and it will create a domino effect. She was more than steadfast in reminding the forum guests that they should never fall into the trap of thinking that there is no competition. More importantly,  it is  not a matter of what you know in the long run but who knows you. A critical element in the success equation for start ups and entrepreneurs is the fact that funders will go beyond your IQ and EQ and will peer closely at the teams’  XQ, which is the  execution quotient. In closing, she gave an important reminder to all that giving a great pitch is like going on a first date where you leave the other party wanting more.

The afternoon session continued with  Liz Fumar and  her presentation on valuation methods and valuation of IP for licensing and technology for start-ups. A quick introduction was made on how business  looks at how much the technology / IP / product is worth. The audience went through valuation exercises to familiarize themselves with  the process and the common tools applied.

A very engaging Q and A ensued where the audience was more than happy to bombard the speakers with questions. Amongst them were questions such as “How big the market should be?”, “What should their go-to-strategy be?”, “How much of their business’ equity should go to the investor?” The event came to a close in networking.

February 22, 2012 at 2:36 am Leave a comment

Global Health Markets

An Innovation Forum  for Global Health Markets was held at  De La Salle University last February 21, 2012  co-sponsored by AFI and ACCESS Health International with the College of Computer Studies (CCS), De La Salle University (DLSU).

Dr. Sherwin Ona, Director for Research and Advance Studies Office, CCS,  who gave the opening remarks cited that among the many initiatives that the University had already undertaken, ICT for Health and Disaster Risk Management are  top priorities.   He welcomed the forum as an opportunity to look into areas that need focus such as  maternal care considering the   average of 11 casualties per day  in Metro Manila alone due to maternal problems/cases.   Dr. Elmer Soriano, Country Director for ACCESS Health International-Philippines emphasized  the objective of the Forum  which was for participants  to be able to  share  strategies  to convert university researches into commercially viable business plans and help solve the increasing problems and systems gaps on health care/services. More significantly, he challenged the students and faculty members to align their skills, talents, time and effort to help solve health problems.

William A. Haseltine,  Founder of ACCESS Health International, a not for profit organization focused on facilitating access to high quality and affordable healthcare worldwide,  challenged and inspired the students with the questions:  “how do you convert your researches into commercially viable businesses so that you could earn money, and, how do you take your ideas into viable businesses?

He emphasized  the need to have a goal and good use of  talents, skills and resources to improve human health. To be able to  excel in a particular area, students  must  look for mentors who are tough, mean,  competitive and who can teach them to excel and convince people.

W. Haseltine mentioned that the  partnership with Ayala Foundation’s  Technology Business Incubator  targets  university-based  researchers, start-ups, and technology firms to develop commercially viable health solutions to pressing health problems. The biggest sector in the US  economy is health and it is considered a  huge economic driver that  offers wide opportunities for technology development.

Myla Rose Reyes, Managing Director of Total Transcription Solutions, Inc and former President of the Healthcare Information Management Outsourcing Association of the Phils. (HIMOAP) gave a talk on “Trends and Innovation Opportunities in Healthcare Information Management”.  Two primary  principles are:   safety of patients is a priority, and,   reduction on medical errors to save on operational costs.  Strategies of successful health  innovation models are: to customize patients’ needs,  use technology to reinvent health services, train the workforce on technology application, and, standardize operating procedures for a more efficient service delivery.

The Innovation Forum ended with participants being apprised on  health as a viable business,  getting healthcare to remote areas;  and the market size. On how  the University can assist  and support students to pursue researches towards entrepreneurial ventures, W. Haseltine advises creating affiliations with both junior and senior faculty members, having worked as a biophysicist, professor, inventor and entrepreneur. He worked with HarvardMedicalSchool and Harvard School of Public Health and founded seven biotech companies. He is holder and co-holder of over 50 patents.


February 21, 2012 at 2:35 am Leave a comment

Maternal and Child Telehealth for Cebu

The Philippines has been trying to bring forth initiatives that address critical shortages of health services all over the country especially in unreachable areas.  The increasing number of constituents and the lag experienced in reaching them require the application of science and technology advancements, in particular telehealth. With this in mind, AyalaTBI in partnership with CebuinIT (UPCebu TBI) and ACCESS Health International brought the Innovation Forum:  “Advancing Universal Health Care through Telehealth” to Cebu last December 9, 2011 at the University of the Philippines – Cebu.

Dr. Elmer Soriano, Country Director of ACCESS Health International-Philippines, started off with the Cebu province maternal health and child health situationer and opportunity space. He talked of the affected populations – childbearing numbers, maternal mortality rates, the number of childbirths, and childcare. The talk proceeded to how Filipinos, in their own right, can help solve the problem through their own resources and ingenuity. The use and application of technologies and pursuing entrepreneurship ventures in this space was highlighted with three presentations on how technologies were being used in countries like Ghana, Philippines and the US.

ClickMedix’ Director for Systems Development, Ms. Nina Soliman, talked of the growing need to provide affordable health care to the Filipinos using mobile health technologies.  Mr. Raul M. Caceres, IEC Specialist of PRISM2 (Private Sector Mobilization for Family Health Phase 2 – a USAID-funded project), discussed the possibility of business opportunities for technology entrepreneurs providing youth appropriate facilities, medically correct information, web and/or SMS-enabled applications, medical record and data portability, and cloud-based storage.

To cap off the event, forum guests and participants consisting of students, programmers & developers, registered nurses, businessmen/entrepreneurs, found and formed themselves into teams to talk, prioritize and zero in on ideas that would address maternal health problems. A fire pitch session followed where each team pitched its IT-enabled health program ideas to the entire group and amongst these were: web forum site for questions and expert advice using a sophisticated programmer technology application that internally sources best advices; centralized web data with flexible applications for various users from patient to doctors to clinics and hospitals; SMS system tied to alarm devise to give reminders to pregnant women and mothers; platform subscribed for by doctors & with issuance of eprescriptions via a device that recognizes security codes; and data integration service.

Six teams were formed and committed to pursuing these ideas into technology ventures targeting various client bases from patients to service providers and tapping a combination of funders like USAID, social venture funds and VC-angel networks. These teams will be pipelined into the TechBootCamps lined up by Ayala Foundation in the first quarter of 2012 – the outputs of which are firmed up business plans and models after a short incubation phase to be presented in Emerge!, Ayala Foundation-Ayala TBI’s investor presentation platform.

December 9, 2011 at 2:32 am Leave a comment


During the past ten years, the Imagine Cup has held its Worldwide Finals all over the globe. This year, it was held in New York City, USA last July 8-13, 2011.  From its modest beginnings back in 2003, the competition has grown to include more than 358,000 registered students from 183 countries/regions.

Two teams from the Philippines were global finalists this year:  Team for the Software Design Category and Team Signum Fidei for the Game Design Category. Proudly,  Team Signum Fidei  grabbed 2nd place in its category.  And, Ayala Foundation’s Innovation Forum last July 26 at the Filipinas Heritage Library featured them to talk about the product, the innovation, inspiration and overall experience they had. The Innovation Forum is a regular networking platform run by the AyalaTBI Program and is a venue where technology advocates, start-ups, academe, researchers, VCs and policy makers meet. Last July 26, despite Tropical Storm Juaning’s heavy rains, the forum was held and attended by a number of enthusiasts who braved the rains and the heavy traffic to interact with not only Team Signum Fidei but also Team By Implication who was the Philippine team that emerged global champion in the same category in the 2010 Imagine Cup in Poland.

Team Signum Fidei was represented by its mentor, Professor Lesley Abe and their sole Graphic Art Designer Mr. Kev Hernandez, a second year college student, all from De La Salle University.  The team’s winning entry was the game  ‘Conjuct’. Conjunct, which literally means to join together, was patterned after the game Tetris. With the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) as the major problems to deal with, Conjunct was designed to raise social awareness on the specific MDGs and the resources needed to address the problems through the puzzle pieces that the game player had to manipulate with. The game, which was built in HTML 5 technology and runs on Internet Explorer, also comes with a fast learning curve and caters to everyone, no matter what age or technical capacity.

A back-to-back feature was done with the 2010 Imagine Cup Champion in Poland. Another proudly Filipino team, Team by Implication comprised of interscholastic representatives from three (3) schools – Ateneo de Manila University, De La Salle University and University of the Philippines – emerged global champion in the 2010 Game Design category.  With the same theme of: Technology that Solves the World’s Toughest Problems based on the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals, Team By Implication’s winning entry was Wildfire.  The game play is to challenge the players to organize large groups of people in addressing MDGs and gather resources (for more info, please visit

While the two teams’ shared their experiences and learning from the competition, their views on gaming, digital media, potential use and applications of their games in society, the Philippines and the world were discussed. A number of industry representatives in the audience keenly followed the future plans of the teams. Representatives from UN agencies, USAID funded projects, academe and civil society were eager to know simulation applications to help in-country leaders address MDG targets. Another important aspect discussed was the educational and awareness raising potential of the games that both implementing and grant making agencies like the World Bank and UN system would be interested in.  On the enterprise road map, Team By Implication has formed and registered into a company and ready to tighten their business plan and see what growth trajectory is possible for them. Team Signum Fidei, on the other hand, was just formed as a team in January this year and is open to forming into a company once the team members are done with school. The challenge thrown their way was how they could maximize the product and innovation they did for all the possible applications that the audience shared with them. One member of the audience, inspired by the Wildfire presentation, made cost estimates on how much seed money can be raised to venture into simulation applications.

The event was capped with Microsoft’s Director of Developer and Platform Evangelism, Mr. Alvin Gendrano mentioning Imagine Cup as a way for Filipino students to use their creativity, imagination, and brainpower to open up a world of opportunities. Participants from companies such as LINC-EG-USAID, Asian Social Enterprise Incubator, Mo Anima, Namfrel, World Food Program, IMI, Brain Gain Network, AIM, and Mabuhay One TechPark continued discussions and networking with team members in the cocktails right after.

July 26, 2011 at 2:22 am Leave a comment

Getting It On With Innovation

Innovation, in some ways, is like the most stunning person in the room. People know he or she is there and want to make a move, but the fear of falling flat on one’s face (after costing you a lot of money) is also as palpable, even paralyzing.

And the latest article on innovation in the New York Times makes one’s approach even more daunting, and seem reckless even.  

Innovation, according to the article, “by its very nature…is inefficient.” But we all know that when times are hard, that life vest we put on is called Efficiency.

This is what’s frightening but invigorating with innovation—how it turns our beloved business beliefs and practices on their heads. Our post-capitalist age has drastically changed how we must perceive and understand our lives, our society and the marketplace to survive.

The article also proposes two types of settings a leader must cultivate side by side in the workplace when times are hard. There is the “factory farm,” which is governed by our much-beloved efficiency measures, and also the “greenhouses and experimental gardens,” where risky investments are cultivated.

However, we must remember that cultivating such a division also poses a risk to the company when the designated innovators decide to take root in some other company.  

There seems no cut-and-dried means of guaranteeing our investments in innovation will pay off, that we won’t fall flat on our faces. Thousands of print and online pages continue to be devoted to discussing innovation (this blog included), which tell us that while it is hot—and with good reason—a lot of people still get cold feet and need a good nudge towards it.

Even articles that advocate its immediate adoption refuse to be prescriptive, often showing binary arguments.

But at the same time, innovation gurus are also given to pithy statements that work like business mantras we hang on our walls, such as “Efficiency is for bean counters,” says Howard Lieberman of the Silicon Valley Innovation Institute in the same article. “Creativity doesn’t care about economic downturns.”

It is no neat trick, no easy flip, this innovation business. It is no mere application we install without question and then leave to run by itself.

Innovation is a concept, it is a mind-shift, it fosters a corporate culture that most of us think we can only read about and lust after from a distance.

Times change first before attitudes do. But those who choose to lie back or bury their heads in the ground are left reeling by the consequences of inaction.

Innovation demands that we pay attention and act now. Else we pay later.

What is telling about this article on innovation during a financial crisis is the insistence on balance, whether in terms of company values (e.g., balancing the risk that attends innovation with a questioning mindset) or targets (e.g., the short-term versus the long-term ones). This, at the very least, helps to demolish lingering biases against innovation as an imprudent business move during these tough times.  

November 3, 2008 at 6:47 am Leave a comment

Gregory L. Tangonan, PhD

Director, Ateneo Innovation Center

Chairperson, Electronics and Semiconductors Panel, of the Congressional Commission on Science and Technology and Engineering (COMSTE)

President, Asia Pacific Technical Strategies

Retired Director of R&D, Hughes Research Laboratories (Los Angeles, CA);

Holder of 38 U.S. patents, author/co-author of more than 100 published papers;

Distinguished Inventor Awardee, Hughes Research Laboratories in 2000, 2001, and 2002

Professional Experience

Dr. Tangonan joined Hughes in 1971 after receiving the Howard Hughes Doctoral Fellowship for studies at the California Institute of Technology. During his doctoral studies, he performed research in superconductivity and amorphous metals at Cal Tech and participated in optical device research at Hughes Research Laboratory. Dr. Tangonan has pioneered integrated waveguide detectors, Bragg modulators in LiTaO3 and LiNbO3, and glass-based couplers for wavelength multiplexing and coupling. He has been instrumental in developing applications of optoelectronics in radar, optical networking, and analog systems.

Dr. Tangonan was promoted to Director of Research in Communications and Photonics reporting directly to the President of HRL Laboratories. His work at HRL focused on the exploitation of wireless technologies for broadband access to interactive services, laser communications, optoelectronic devices and subsystems for RF systems, and novel inter-networking systems. Dr. Tangonan was responsible for setting the Strategic Technical Investments of the Owners of HRL – Boeing, General Motors and Raytheon.

Present Status

After 31 years with HRL Laboratories, Dr. Tangonan retired from HRL Laboratories to pursue newinterests. During the last few years at HRL Dr. Tangonan became very interested in the business side of technology and is the President of his Asia Pacific Technical Strategies. The company pursues strategic research and development projects that can be translated into Intellectual Property assets or start-up companies.

Dr. Tangonan joined the Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines as Adjunct Professor in the Loyola School of Science and Engineering. He is responsible for research in the areas of biomedical engineering, wireless and optical communications and material science. He is very active in the development of Intellectual Property, and has, with several of the Ateneo faculty, filed U.S. Patents on their research.

In the last two years he has taught a class called Innovation and Technology to last year engineering and science undergraduates. This class delves into the global competitive environment, the role that innovation plays in determining success or failure in almost every industry today, and how Filipino innovators can become successful through strategic planning of technology development.

Publications /Awards

Dr. Tangonan is co-author of >100 published papers and presentations in the fields of fiber optics, integrated optics, laser spectroscopy and amorphous materials. Dr. Tangonan has 48 U.S. patents. He has presented numerous papers at international forums in optoelectronics. Dr. Tangonan is a member of the Optical Society of America, IEEE Lasers and Electro-Optics Society and Sigma Xi.

Dr. Tangonan has received several major awards for his work. Among them are two R&D 100 Awards for

New Products and Technologies. The first R&D 100 Award in 1994 was for Secure Fiber Optics Technology and the second R&D 100 Award was for Optical Networking Node Technology for All-Optical Switched Networks. Dr. Tangonan received several Published Paper- of-the-Year awards from HRL Laboratories. Dr. Tangonan received the Distinguished Inventor Award from HRL in 2000, 2001, and 2002.


B.S. (Physics), Ateneo de Manila University Philippines, 1969;M.S. (Physics), California State University at Long Beach, 1971;M.S. (Applied Physics), California Institute of Technology, 1972; Ph.D. (Applied Physics), California Institute of Technology, 1975


September 24, 2008 at 1:44 am Leave a comment

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