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Smart urges academe to turn innovative ideas into reality

by SMART Public Affairs | Oct 25, 2017
[25 October 2017] Smart organized a technopreneurship training for college professors to encourage the academe to turn innovative ideas into actual products and services.

Every year, students of technology courses churn out innovative ideas for their research projects and theses. Unfortunately, many of these ideas remain stuck in libraries and are not acted on.

Because of this, PLDT wireless unit Smart Communications has been encouraging colleges and universities to include technology entrepreneurship (technopreneurship) in their curriculum.

“Innovative ideas are great, but they need to be turned into reality for them to really have an impact on society. We hope that the academe would equip not just their business majors, but also their tech students with the skills needed to convert ideas into commercial products and services,” said Smart public affairs senior manager Stephanie Orlino.

To inspire the academe to inject technopreneurship in subjects or offer it as an elective, Smart recently held a three-day technopreneurship training for professors of colleges and universities in Luzon. The training is part of the Smart Wireless Engineering Education Program (SWEEP), which aims to improve information technology (IT) and engineering education in the Philippines.

The professors were asked to form teams, each proposing an innovative solution to a perceived problem. They were then taught to validate the existence of problems before creating solutions, the importance of getting feedback from peers and potential customers, and the need to adjust their plan of action based on these feedback. The teachers also learned from the experience of an actual Philippine startup.

Some professors especially appreciated the Lean Startup Methodology formulated by American Eric Ries, which encourages entrepreneurs to “fail fast” and drop ideas that are not working.

“The most important thing I learned in the last three days is that you sometimes have to fail in order to succeed. In the academic setting, there is a negative point of view when it comes to failure. In fact, failing is a better way to learn things,” said Orland Delfino Tubola of Polytechnic University of the Philippines.

Erlinda Casela-Abarintos, computer studies dean at Gordon College in Olongapo, Zambales, said IT students really need to learn practical technopreneurship lessons so they would have options in the future, aside from being employees.

“If they have background on how to develop business ideas, they can make their ideas a reality and create actual products,” she said.

De La Salle University professor Roy Francis Navea said technopreneurship would enable engineering and IT students to contribute to the community.

“Usually their ideas are stuck in a book or thesis and brought to the library. The students just move on to employment, while their ideas remain not very useful. When you go into technopreneurship, that idea can be incubated and brought to the community. It can also deliver possible earnings to the students and their mentors,” he said.

To further encourage college students to come up with mobile and digital innovations that can improve people’s lives, Smart is inviting them to join the SWEEP (Smart Wireless Engineering Education Program) Innovation and Excellence Awards. Details on how to join can be found on www.smartsweep.ph

Technopreneurship trainingTeaching the teachers: Professors receive practical lessons on technology entrepreneurship at a three-day training organized by Smart.