MANILA -- Filipinos need to upgrade their innovation capabilities, especially those in the corporate sector, to ready themselves in harnessing the potential of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (FIRe).

Dr. William Maloney, chief economist for Equitable Growth, Finance and Institutions of the World Bank (WB) Group, said the Philippines has “done astronomically” in terms of its business services sector.

“But a lot of new technologies are going to threaten some of the jobs that you have. So (boost) human capital and to be able to move nimbly and flexibly enough so that you can move into sectors, which will not be taken over by AI (artificial intelligence), machine learning, and that sort of things,” he said in an interview Friday at the sidelines of a symposium on FIRe organized by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS).

Maloney particularly cited Asian Tigers, including South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong, which send people abroad to study new changes that may be brought about by new technologies.

“The Philippines needs to be doing that kind of thing, as well to make the networks and to see where (Industry) 4.0 is going,” he said.

“Part of making that possible is ensuring that the regulatory environment facilitates firms making these changes. Firms making these kinds of decisions, they need to invest in capital, invest in new knowledge, (and) invest in people,” he added.
Maloney pointed out that the country needs to help firms innovate as they generate growth and value-added jobs.

He also underscored the importance of strengthening the managerial and organizational capabilities of firms, and having strong linkage between public research institutions and universities and the private sector.

“You have to have a playing field. The regulatory structure needs to be good. It would actually be very useful for the Philippines to benchmark the quality of its entrepreneurs,” he added. (PNA)