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FEU partners with Harvard in webinar that discusses innovative and collaborative governance among Philippine cities

Titled “Urban-novation: Multisector Solutions to Local Development Challenges”,  the webinar that hopes to jumpstart a collaboration between Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) Ash Center and Far Eastern University Public Policy Center (FEU PPC), which aims to replicate HKS Ash Center’s pioneering work in the Philippine context 

The webinar also featured Dinagat Province Governor Honourable Arlene “Kaka” Bag-ao, CEO and President of Magsaysay Group of Companies Doris Magsaysay-Ho, and Executive Director of Galing Pook Foundation, Dr. Eddie Dorotan as reactors 

FEU and the HKS Ash Center both advocate innovations in government through research and evidence-based policymaking.

Far Eastern University Public Policy Center (FEU PPC) collaborated with the Harvard Kennedy School Ash Center to launch the webinar entitled “Urban-novation: Multisector Solutions to Local Development Challenges,” which discusses how urban environments in the Philippines can be transformed through capability-building and strategic cross-sector partnerships. 

Led by Professor Jorrit de Jong, a Senior Lecturer of the Harvard Kennedy School and Faculty Director of the Harvard City Leadership Initiative, the webinar was a learning session for academics, practitioners, and city leaders in the Philippines, jumpstarting a possible collaboration between FEU PPC and HKS Ash Center that would replicate de Jong’s pioneering work in the Philippine context.

According to Professor de Jong, “innovation means finding new ways to do the work of governments,” engaging its citizens and thus becoming more effective, better able to solve problems, more efficient, equitable, and responsive to what people need and want. To do so, he says that all boundaries should be disregarded to apply innovation in its genuine form. He went on to explain that past cases of innovation failed to “reimagine governments at its core” and advocates for a problem-driven governance that identifies the root of a complex social problem.  

In response, Rolan Garcia, the Executive Director of the FEU Institute of Technology Innovation Center and one of the reactors in the webinar, said that in the Philippines, “there is a big disconnect between collaboration and the national government really listening to the local government.” 

Other reactors included key thought leaders Dinagat Province Governor Honourable Arlene “Kaka” Bag-ao, CEO and President of Magsaysay Group of Companies Doris Magsaysay-Ho and Executive Director of Galing Pook Foundation, Dr. Eddie Dorotan. 

Bag-ao reiterated how the poorest sectors of the community should be recognized, while Magsaysay-Ho emphasized that mayors have limited governing time, which was a challenge to achieving sustainable and meaningful change. Dorotan stressed the importance of a government that listens to the public in order to create and strengthen adaptive capacities.

Professor de Jong listed three capabilities in order to achieve problem-driven governance: collaborative, which creates partnerships for better solutions; data-analytic, which enables sharing of knowledge and information for better insight and; reflective or the ability to connect your actions with the desired outcome.

He concluded the discussion by saying that in the end, it is people, and not data, who will solve problems. As such, he says that “it is important to first acknowledge that there are no other people than us that are going to make the change.”

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