Sunday, August 28, 2011

The UNcreative Cebu

I believe that for Creative Cebu to move forward, it's also equally important that the org must challenge itself from within.  To question an existing status quo.  To sort and identify the barriers.  And more importantly, to acknowledge the value of accepting what makes an UN-creative Cebu.

WIPO, IPOPHIL, DTI, Cebu Chamber of Commerce, and Creative Cebu recently sponsored an event called National High Level Forum on Innovation and the Creative Industries Ecosystems.  Branding, evolving business models, and the use of intellectual property as its utility belt were the prevalent agenda.  Insightful it was, yes.  Very informative.  Grandly inspiring.    I'm writing this entry as an attempt to document the experience and knowledge I've savored in that 2-day forum.

My favorite topics were those presented by Brandon Rawson (1st Act, Silicon Valley, USA), Jason Potts (ARC Centre, Brisbane, Australia), Jay Aldeguer (The Islands Group, Cebu, Philippines), and Kenneth Cobonpue exhibiting all his grand offerings to the world.
Jason Potts speaking on customized music business model

And then there was the thought provoking semi-lecture on branding by Mr. Junie del Mundo (CEO, Management Association of the Philippines, Manila).  I'm sure there were other speakers that were equally mind-moving but I missed it due to a pre-scheduled separate appointment (had to leave for a couple of hours and came back).

Bullet pointing all that has transpired, these are the key notes identified in a creative community that caught my fancy:
  • The need to experiment and consequently support it
  • Customized music business model per region
  • The empirical ratio between opportunities versus challenges
  • The empirical ratio between risks versus rewards
  • The proposed action to rebrand the Philippines (and Cebu as a creative hub)
  • The need to draft and enforce applicable policies (whatever this may mean to artists and entrepreneurs alike)
  • And the ironic impact of the use of intellectual property (yes I knew there was a downside to this but couldn't put my finger on it until this forum)
I waited for somebody to scale the above a little bit down and bring forth subjects such as:
  • The need to provide more avenues on financial support especially in the experimental phase of creativity where only a few listen, vision-share, and pay attention to
  • The need to make meaning first - branding via the basic needs on food, clothing, shelter, and transportation
  • That creativity should include science and engineering ergo not limited to music and arts alone
  • Is there an existing policy that supports this?
Nobody did.

So I braved in and expressed (and hopefully contributed) some ideas and opinions.  Here they are;

  • The government should be more aware of "existing experiments" going on around them.  Unless they figure out a way to tap in these potential resources and fund them, these efforts could end up flourishing elsewhere.
  • Branding Cebu is asking what makes it special.
  • "Puso" or hanging rice should be proudly served in hotels and restaurants.
  • In this tropical country, designers could come up with a better idea of a formal attire than the preferred western suit.
  • Houses should be designed with natural ventilation and less air-conditioning necessities, and that low cost houses should mean affordable and functional rather than inadequately cheap.
  • Unless the highest ranking official of every government agency is able to take the jeepney everyday to work, the problem of traffic will only get worse.  Traffic is caused by inefficient public transport resulting to more people buying more cars resulting to more private cars congesting the roads.  Road widening is not the answer.
  • Local government offices should assert on a paperless system of business permit application.  One effective office with an efficient system should be enough.

Learning happens when you acknowledge that there is still more to understand.  You can never learn enough.  And you cannot learn if what you believe is that you know everything.

The same principle applies.  Creativity happens when we learn about what makes an uncreative Cebu.


arkigirl said...

This is an absolutely amazing and very insightful write-up Ian. I really hope responsible parties take the wisdom shared here and are already in the process of drafting & executing policies and programs that address the challenges enumerated above.

My only concern with Creative Cebu is, how to make it more accessible and inclusive. Correct me if I'm mistaken, but Creative Cebu appears to be quite exclusive. Is this intentional or just a communication lapse? I've heard about Creative Cebu and its programs.I truly admire what it does but I'm not quite sure how one can participate. If you could provide us information, tips or details on how to participate apart from just attending, and for the public to be more involved (by involved I mean people actually get to be more hands on in doing the dirty work of making things happen), please do so as I'm sure many will want to volunteer or share their time with Creative Cebu.

Ian Zafra said...

Thank you for the comment Arkigirl. I guess it's a communication lapse. So many things need to be addressed at this time. As it turns out in this forum, Creative Cebu has a huge of responsibility. Will raise your concern in the next meeting.

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