‘I promise to empower myself to empower others:’ Learnings from #ThinkPH

Missed this year's #ThinkPH summit? Join the #ThinkPH viewing party on Saturday, September 10! Get your tickets here

MANILA, Philippines – At Rappler's ThinkPH: Back to Disruptive Basics, which was held at Resorts World Manila last July 21, a pool of digital experts from local and international organizations imparted valuable, eye-opening insights on technology and made predictions on how it can impact our lives in the next few years. (READ: #ThinkPH 2016: The future is here, now)

We are now well into the age of tech disruption, and instead of being swept away, we should be able to harness these advancements to our advantage. This is a lesson that not only resounded clearly to #ThinkPH participants, but also inspired them to help contribute to the development of their communities.

OLX AT #THINKPH 2016. Curious participants at #ThinkPH flocked to the OLX booth to check out the activities in store for them. Photo by Martin San Diego/Rappler

OLX AT #THINKPH 2016. Curious participants at #ThinkPH flocked to the OLX booth to check out the activities in store for them.

Photo by Martin San Diego/Rappler

Keeping up with technology

Mica Gonzales, a student from the University of the Philippines, believes that "integrating oneself" with technology instead of merely adapting to it is vital. As a member of the UP Psychology Society, Gonzales actively advocates for mental health and personal well-being, and makes use of social media as a way to shed more light into it and reach as may people as possible.

“As an organization, we sometimes function as a bridge for people who need help. We refer them to proper offices and things like that,” she told Rappler. “Working hand in hand with technology, I think the biggest plus here is the reach that we get as opposed to a more individual, person-to-person contact.”

Manuel Luis Martinez Ochotorena, Regional Director of the Office of Civil Defense (CARAGA Region), now sees the importance of social media in his line of work and wishes to mobilize more efforts through this platform.

“I think we have to do some catching up in terms of how we deliver our messages to the community… I’m thinking of enjoining the people, the community, to be able to come up with bayanihan [on social media] so that we can grow together and inform the people [on] the prevention and mitigation of disasters, and preparedness for [it],” he said.

Meanwhile, what struck Jeoffrey Tan, an IT Manager from P&G, most is the exponential growth of organizations and the need to change and adapt, especially now when the average lifespan of businesses has dramatically reduced to around 5 years. (READ: #ThinkPH: Man must learn to dance with machines – Van Geest)

Tan said: “What you learned two years ago is no longer relevant, so you need to keep yourself updated. I think that’s important and, putting it in the Philippine context since we’re still a developing nation, I think it’s not as fast but we need to prepare so that when the boom in economy using these emerging technology happens, we can ride the wave and we’re on top.”

On the personal side, though, Tan said he’s focusing on daily life to identify tasks that remain complicated, and how he can improve that. Right now, he’s zeroing in on local tourism, which he described as “good” yet losing out compared to our Southeast Asian neighbors, specifically Thailand.

“Why is that? How do we actually improve travel booking, the experience, so that people will be coming over? That’s still a challenge that I’m still thinking of, and hopefully we can come up with a solution for that,” he said.

PITCHING IDEAS TO #WINTOGETHER. #ThinkPH participants wrote pledges on what they can do to contribute to their community's greater good. Photo by Martin San Diego/Rappler

PITCHING IDEAS TO #WINTOGETHER. #ThinkPH participants wrote pledges on what they can do to contribute to their community's greater good.

Photo by Martin San Diego/Rappler

Going back to basics through collaboration

Conversely, for others, helping their community improve is as simple as engaging more people to participate.

“The most important lesson that I learned was that in today’s society, it is important to collaborate,” Angelo Santiago, a student also from the University of the Philippines, shared. “Earlier, they said, 'don't just take and take.' So you better give and give… for innovation to flourish.”

For Albert Caraan, a BS Agricultural Student also from the University of the Philippines, contributing to the community means actively participating in his school org, the UP Genetic Researchers and Agricultural Innovators Society. “I believe I should work together with my organization [so we will become] one organization moving towards a common goal and towards creating change and disruption,” he said.

Work together, #WinTogether

These insights echo not just learnings from ThinkPH, but also OLX’s own ideology which champions collaboration and community-building with the end goal of winning together.

"The buying and selling lifestyle, coupled with technology, has created a collaborative economy where people share and exchange goods and resources as they create connections and build relationships with one another," said Giancarlo Bonsel, General Manager of OLX Philippines. "We hope that our platform continues to be part of motivating more people to create communities engaging in winning exchanges."

During ThinkPH, OLX set up a booth where participants can pin their ideas on how they can pitch in to the improvement of their community.

“Respect right of way as a driver,” one wrote, while another said, “I’ll just commute and use public transpo if possible rather than bring a car.” Other answers included, “I will be a hardworking student for me not to be a burden to my family,” and “Not posting online posts that might ruin the country’s image.”

Meanwhile, others promised to make use of their profession to help. 

“I promise to know more about biotech and strive to deliver the knowledge to people for them to be at least be open to the potential of the technology,” one wrote. “By delivering newsworthy articles that are written objectively,” another shared.

“As a military officer, it is my duty to perform my job with utmost dedication. It is our duty to be of service to the people in the community that we are in,” one also said.

Of course, all these would not be possible if we fail to help one important person at the onset—ourselves.

“I promise to empower myself so I can empower other people,” one wrote. “I believe that through continuously striving to be better, we can contribute to the community’s greater good.” – Rappler.com