I had the opportunity to attend the Innovation Summit spearheaded by the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) last June 19 to 20. Presented in line with Cebu Business Month, the summit was well-attended by CCCI members and business enthusiasts from all over Cebu.
During the summit, several esteemed speakers from different fields shared their financially viable inventions, unique business models, and eye-opening discoveries. The highlighted innovations included perpetual lights without electricity, maglev trains powered by spinning magnets, magnetic elevators capable of transporting horizontally and vertically through buildings. Cybersecurity vis-a-vis being an ethical hacker was also discussed. Listening to inspiring entrepreneurs and their rags-to-riches stories made me realize that my challenges are trivial compared to what they have gone through to reach the zenith of their careers. Other speakers talked on the power of hope and courage that could eventually translate to greater glory and success. During the talks, however, I noticed a common word uttered by most of the innovators, other than guts and confidence: crazy.
These inspiring innovators and disruptors described themselves as crazy. Despite the label, they are in unison in saying that their craziness made them think out of the box, innovate their mundane businesses, and be different. By being crazy, they were able to break barriers and change the status quo.
In comparison, I noticed that I am regularly exposed to rules and regulations. As a lawyer, I have a modest knowledge on the basics of law, with a notion that it should be followed to its core, getting out of touch with my craziness in the process. As an accountant, accounting standards and tax rules have become a career staple. Listening to the speakers, my memories as a young person flashed back to the days of being innocent and idealistic.
I used to dream of inventing a machine that could absorb pollutants in the environment. In one of my high school freshman class activities, I presented to the class an illustration of the said machine, which resembled more like a tree. In my younger days, I always asked questions and tried to figure out the answers to them. As my education progressed, however, I had more answers than questions. My thirst for learning was overshadowed by my desire the get a Latin honor; so much that I learned to faithfully ascribe to a set of rules. Since then, following the “rules” has become my norm.
With this comes a sudden realization that, perhaps, we become bored and exhausted in our work as we have detached ourselves from our innate craziness, our ability to think out of the box, and our creative self.
Being in the accounting and legal professions, it is but normal for me to deal with crafted rules, standards, principles, and laws. The path I will pursue has already been laid out. Innovation seems to be out of the picture. In business, on the other hand, the possibilities for innovation in order to capture the desired market are limitless. Is the exercise of a profession not a business? How, then, can we innovate? An exercise of your profession is not a business for profit. Rather, it is primarily a public service. Profit only comes next to service.
While innovation may be necessary to be more profitable, it is also necessary for better service to the public. Innovation in connection with the exercise of one’s profession might be bleak, but not impossible. We can very well innovate the way we practice our profession without necessarily veering away from professional ethical standards.
In an organization of practicing professionals, innovation could be introduced in how professional services are delivered to clients. A mobile app to easily contact a professional service provider (much like Grab or Uber) could be a startup. Services could also be introduced not only to cope up with market demands, but in order to be at par with dynamic industries.
We should not sit on our laurels. Having a professional license is just the start of a career. We should continue to strive to become empowered professionals by immersing ourselves in various fields of practice, taking up further studies, or engaging in worthwhile activities.
Innovation is highly risky, not to mention costly. Yet, it could offer high returns. Competition = Innovation = Profit. In this fast-paced, technologically driven world, it is not enough that we find our market niche. As one speaker in the summit pointed out, it is a must that we create our own niche. Our education may have made us professionals, but we ultimately determine how innovatively we practice our profession and grow as a person. With innovation in mind, I end with this question: Are you crazy?
Atty. Kim Aranas is a manager of the Tax & Compliance Division of P&A Grant Thornton in Cebu. P&A Grant Thornton is one of the leading Audit, Tax, Advisory, and Outsourcing firms in the Philippines, with 21 Partners and over 900 staff members. We are in Makati, Cavite, Cebu and Davao. For comments on this article, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or PAGrantThornton.email@example.com. For our services,visit www.grantthornton.com.ph.
As published in Mindanao Times, dated July 03, 2018