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April 21, 2018 | Manila Polo Club

They say that two heads are better than one. Imagine, then, what a powerhouse of 80 can achieve.

On the afternoon of April 21, people from a dizzying array of fields and industries put their heads together to reimagine the future of learning and labor during the second IGNITE xCHANGE.

The Circle’s participative performance art makes an appearance at the xCHANGE

New xCHANGERs discover the Necessary Progression

In attendance were those you’d expect: teachers, trainers, students, HR and organization development specialists. But there were also engineers; software developers and computer scientists; a doctor and a nurse; filmmakers; entrepreneurs, business developers and investors. There were CEOs; blue collar workers; working mothers; government workers; and philanthropists. It was this diversity by design that made the half-day session that much richer.

Diversity is key in every xCHANGE.

We called for 50 xCHANGERs. Eighty showed up!

As a densely populated metropolis, Mega Manila’s labor woes are as wicked as they get. Last year, the capital ranked second highest in unemployment, in a country where 2.4 million are still jobless.

Add to that the threats of automation taking over more jobs; the “exporting” of our human resources; the throngs of less-than-ready graduates seeking work every year; and the vulnerable sectors, like balikbayan OFWs, the seniors and the uneducated – and it becomes clear that unless radical change happens, tens of thousands of Filipinos will not be able to maximize their productivity potential. It’s a tragic situation for a city with so much talent, and so much need.

Shahab Shabibi, founder of MyKuya

Farouk Meralli, co-founder of MyKuya

Brian Perley, co-founder and COO of Zennya

This wicked problem was what the 80 xCHANGERs dove into, head on. The discussion was started by Shahab Shabibi of MyKuya and David Foote of Zennya – two ventures that are already tackling the issue via breakthrough recruitment and training platforms. Jojo Concepcion of Concepcion Industries joined them, representing the “demand” side of labor, with hundreds of technician jobs to fill. Importantly, the kuyas and ates of MyKuya shared their own experiences and perspectives as crucial partners of the operations.

The kuyas, ates and customers of MyKuya share their perspectives

Then it was the xCHANGERs’ turn. Breaking out into 12 groups, they put their heads together to come up with viable solutions to the issue at hand. But unlike in most think tanks or ideation sessions, instead of jumping straight to the HOW, the xCHANGERs began with WHY and WHO.

They began by articulating their individual genius and purpose – what makes them come alive, and what inspires their deepest compassion. In this way, they approached the problem from a much deeper place, and came up with innovations more connected to their gifts and pains.

Hard at work navigating GPMCII

Want to nurture your own Genius and Purpose, and awaken your capacity for greater Innovation and Impact? Join us for Ignite Circle 7!

The diversity of people naturally led to an array of solutions: mentorship matching, a health provider platform, a benefits program, financial literacy plug-ins, and kitchen aide and governess-training facilities, to name a few. But it was amazing to see how having a shared mission could push people to accomplish so much, in just an hour of dedicated problem-solving.

Gamified presentation of breakout ideas

Every xCHANGE promises action, not just talk. IGNITE xCHANGE 2 came with a big announcement: the launch of the Catalyst Fund, a 100M peso engine to power ideas that will impact 100M Filipinos. By 2020, the fund is targeted to grow to 1B – unleashing unprecedented potential to seed sustainable change in Mega Manila.

Unlike most venture capitalist systems, the Catalyst Fund uniquely and boldly proposes a more participative venture catalyst system – one that is better suited to the problems, opportunities, markets and capitalists in the Philippines. The hallmark of the venture catalyst system is participation, and in this regard, the Catalyst Fund offers 6 ways to engage.

The future is rife with possibility. As one xCHANGER put it, we stand at the cusp of a breakthrough. The 80 xCHANGERs – far more than the targeted 50 invitees – were testament to the restlessness, compassion and eagerness of people to create positive change, right now.

April 21 was just Day One of the future of labor, learning and maximizing human potential. Where we go from here is limited only by how deeply we care, how high we aspire, and how big we dream.

IGNITE xCHANGE focuses on Collaboration, Innovation and Impact as part of a series of programs to unleash the great potential of Mega Manila. For more on finding one’s Genius, Purpose and Mission, join Ignite Circle 7.

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