Tuesday, August 1, 2017

AmBisyon Natin 2040

The Neda must be applauded and encouraged for coming out with AmBisyon Natin 2040: A long-term vision for the Philippines. What about media, should media be allocating time and space to keep AmBisyon Natin front and center of Juan de la Cruz? Or how do we become more sensitive to the imperative of “community and the common good”? Think about it. If we acknowledge that our institutions have failed us, it is the starting point.

The challenge then is for Neda to engage us beyond the roadshow they did to showcase the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) for 2017-2022. If you have bought a book from Amazon, you will be in their engagement crosshairs. It can be annoying but this writer is a sucker and he’s not alone otherwise Jeff Bezos would not be the richest man in the world.

Full disclosure: The writer – given his MNC background where bridging planning and execution is religion, and it’s the mantra he has preached to his Eastern European friends – finds the Neda document loaded with platitudes. But that should not discourage us because visions are not as concrete as the war on drugs, for example. And concrete is what gets people’s attention as in EJK despite putting our Christianity to a test.

Neda can learn from one of the great visionaries of all time – a genius in the league of Einstein and Beethoven. “20 Years Ago, Steve Jobs Demonstrated the Perfect Way to Respond to an Insult,” Justin Bariso, inc.com, 26th Jul 2017. “In 1997, Steve Jobs had just returned to Apple, the company he had been ousted from over a decade before. He was answering questions for developers at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference when one audience member took a shot at him: ‘Mr. Jobs, you’re a bright and influential man,’ he begins.

‘Here it comes,’ responds Jobs, as both he and the audience chuckle. Then, the famous insult:

‘It’s sad and clear that on several counts you’ve discussed, you don’t know what you’re talking about. I would like, for example, for you to express in clear terms how, say, Java and any of its incarnations addresses the ideas embodied in OpenDoc. And when you’re finished with that, perhaps you can tell us what you personally have been doing for the last seven years.’ Ouch.

“But Jobs’s response is a perfect demonstration of what to do in this situation. He takes a pause. He takes a pause, sits in silence ... And thinks. ‘You know,’ he begins his reply. ‘You can please some of the people some of the time, but ...’ Another pause.

‘One of the hardest things when you’re trying to effect change is that--people like this gentleman--are right! ...In some areas,’ explains Jobs.

“But becoming familiar with every feature of every app is not the CEO’s job, as he goes on to explain. He helps everyone see the big picture. Jobs goes on to outline his role at Apple: ‘It’s not to know the ins and outs of every piece of software. Rather, it’s to see the big picture, to reiterate the vision, and to keep everyone on course:

‘The hardest thing is: How does that fit into a cohesive, larger vision, that’s going to allow you to sell eight billion dollars, 10 billion dollars of product a year? And one of the things I’ve always found is that you’ve got to start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology. You can’t start with the technology and try to figure out where you’re going to try to sell it.’

‘And I’ve made this mistake probably more than anybody else in this room. And I’ve got the scar tissue to prove it. And I know that it’s the case … There are a whole lot of people working super, super hard right now at Apple,’ Jobs exclaims. He names a few examples, before going on to credit the whole team, literally ‘hundreds of people.’

‘They're doing their best,’ says Jobs. ‘Some mistakes will be made, by the way. Some mistakes will be made along the way. And that’s good. Because at least some decisions are being made along the way. And we’ll find the mistakes, and we’ll fix them,’ Jobs says to applause.

“He then comes full circle to the original questioner: ‘Mistakes will be made ... some people will not know what they’re talking about, but I think it is so much better than where things were not very long ago. And I think we're going to get there.’”

There is a lot to digest from the Steve Jobs story. Neda with the help of media can direct us to the big picture, constantly reiterate the vision and keep all of us on course – fitting the pieces into a cohesive, larger vision.

As AmBisyon puts it, “Where do we want to be?” In the case of Apple, with products to sell, Jobs explains, “you’ve got to start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology. You can’t start with the technology and try to figure out where you’re going to try to sell it.”

“AmBisyon Natin 2040 is a picture of the future, a set of life goals and goals for the country. It is different from a plan, which defines the strategies to achieve the goals. It is like a destination that answers the question “Where do we want to be?”. A plan describes the way to get to the destination; AmBisyon Natin 2040 is the vision that guides the future and is the anchor of the country’s plans.”

And clearly to bridge planning and execution equals lots and lots of hard work ... as well as making mistakes and fixing them. And why there is constant decision-making challenges. And that is a handicap we must recognize as a nation. Beyond the lack of foresight, do we suffer from the inability to learn from our mistakes?

We are now into Martial Law II or ML Lite. We used to dread it ... yet now many of us applaud it? Have we learned from the past? Another example: It took decades to make NAIA 3 a reality ... and the next airport will take decades again? Where is the credibility behind Build, Build, Build ... if there is one? Is it EJK?

What about tax reform? Are we taking BOC, as an example, for granted? Tax reform cannot take a bureau tasked with tax assessment and collection for granted. If we truly understand global competition, there are imperatives we must step up to. There is no tentativeness in global competition. We either win or we lose.

It applies as well to our inability to attract foreign direct investment (FDI.) Yet we want to count the chickens before they hatch? Comparing FDIs – and let’s forget Singapore for the moment being a league all its own – what is the real picture? Relative newcomer (to the free market) Vietnam has amassed 183% more FDI than PH, Malaysia – 246%, Thailand – 304%, and Indonesia – 466%.

And why “investment” is central to the blog and the requisite platform of an inclusive economy – e.g., infrastructure development, industrialization and innovation and competitiveness. To be an inclusive economy is not about platitudes and populism. It is about reality. Which reminds the writer of Fr. George?

And, the Oxford University program, “From poverty to prosperity: Understanding economic development.” This body of knowledge is truly relevant if we are to succeed with AmBisyon.

We’ve always been tentative in the pursuit of industrialization. Wittingly or not, we wasted 6 years with the Aquino administration that kept the JFC’s 7 industry winners in the backburner. And is Du30 doing any better? As the blog pointed out in an earlier post, if we are to get industrialization going, we must learn to focus on fewer industries – to overcome “crab mentality” – and where we will get the biggest bang for the buck. We must get quick wins to give us the confidence in the quest for something truly grand – and where we have no track record to bank on. Our penchant for “kuro-kuro” is no substitute for real world experience.

“And the top PH exports are a good starting point while we inject greater market orientation and figure out consumer needs – and scale and ascend the value chain. [These are PH’s top exports that yield a trade balance surplus: (1) Electronic machinery, equipment; (2) Wood; (3) Optical, technical, medical apparatus; (4) Ships, boats; (5) Fruits, nuts; (6) Ores, slag, ash; (7) Gems, precious metals; (8) Knit or crochet clothing, accessories; (9) Leather/animal gut articles; (10) Vegetable/fruit/nut preparations]

“To establish a true north and to prioritize both demand foresight.”

Beyond learning from Steve Jobs, Neda must also figure out the “driving and restraining forces” that will either spell the success or failure of AmBisyon Natin 2040. While problems in execution are bound to crop up, being proactive and putting on the table these positive and negative forces will stand the AmBisyon enterprise in good stead.

And overcome something that has dogged us, a vicious circle, a sequence of reciprocal cause and effect in which two or more elements intensify and aggravate each other, leading inexorably to a worsening of the situation. [Google]

And what better example than our culture of impunity, a by-product of: parochialism and insularity; hierarchy and paternalism; political patronage and dynasties; and oligarchy. And unsurprisingly, foresight is not second nature to us.

More to the point, our instincts of hierarchy created the Pinoy caste system that neutered “forward-thinking” on one hand, and nurtured subservience on the other. This vicious circle must constantly be in the headlines to clear the way forward for AmBisyon.

“Why independence, if the slaves of today will be the tyrants of tomorrow? And that they will be such is not to be doubted, for he who submits to tyranny loves it.” [We are ruled by Rizal’s ‘tyrants of tomorrow,’ Editorial, The Manila Times, 29th Dec 2015]

“As a major component for the education and reorientation of our people, mainstream media – their reporters, writers, photographers, columnists and editors – have an obligation to this country . . .” [Era of documented irrelevance: Mainstream media, critics and protesters, Homobono A. Adaza, The Manila Times, 25th Nov 2015]

“National prosperity is created, not inherited. It does not grow out of a country’s natural endowments, its labor pool, its interest rates, or its currency’s value, as classical economics insists . . . A nation’s competitiveness depends on the capacity of its industry to innovate and upgrade.” [The Competitive Advantage of Nations, Michael E. Porter, Harvard Business Review, March–April 1990]

“Learning and innovation go hand in hand. The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow.” [William Pollard, 1911-1989, physicist-priest, Manhattan Project]

“Development [is informed by a people’s] worldview, cognitive capacity, values, moral development, self-identity, spirituality, and leadership . . .” [Frederic Laloux, Reinventing organizations, Nelson Parker, 2014]

No comments:

Post a Comment