By Atty. Gilberto Lauengco, J.D.

Denver Nuggets, media influencers, neurodivergence and innovation

“You want to be ahead of that curve. You don’t want to be the team reacting to it or fighting that. It’s fun. You just got to make sure you’re constantly challenging yourself.” - Michael Malone, Denver Nuggets Coach

In this basketball crazy country, where Filipinos follow the NBA as much as local basketball, many were still recently surprised when the Denver Nuggets swept the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Western Conference Finals. Normally, our countrymen measure the perceived chances of a basketball team based on the number of stars in the said team. The Denver Nuggets basically has one legitimate star who, despite having won two conference MVP’s, is still underrated. Denver’s center, Nikola Jokic, moves differently from previous star centers. He doesn’t have the raw brute strength, the elegant post up moves or quick slashing abilities of the more popular centers. As such, both he and his team are not as popular here as the LeBron James led Lakers.

The success of the previously lesser known Nuggets is said to be based on a combination of innovation and the long view style of team building. The team slowly experimented on new techniques which were not as exciting to view as the plays of other teams. They also took time to recruit, develop and nurture their players. The team eschewed the superstar team building style of the other teams.

Innovation and long-term building are tried and tested methods of getting ahead of competition. Unfortunately, these methods are more difficult, tedious and boring to many. Innovation alone takes both skill and planning. Usually, many in our country use the shorter “lechon manok” style. “Lechon manok” or roasted chicken became popular a few decades ago. Rather than creating new food styles, thousands of new businessmen just made several stalls copying the successful food phenomenon.

The previous years have seen the rise of the social media influencers. One such new and innovative social media influencer is Mr. Motivational rice himself. This influencer rather than find ways to make people like him as many other social media influencers do has gone the opposite direction. He has made it a point to get more people angry and irritated at him. These horde of enraged netizens then make it a point to follow his page and express their anger and disgust. Today, he has already 1.8 Million followers.

Even long- time social media influencers have followed suit and experimented with more innovative approaches in their content and style.  Long time influencer, Doc Willie Ong, has added more spice to his normal medical content with topics on mental health and even sex. He has also gone on location to communities to promote his advocacies.

In local government and politics, we have also seen the successful rise of innovative and deliberate local government executives.

In the town of Gumaca, Quezon Province, the local government is being known for implementing a novel project where its citizens can exchange their trash for rice. In their program called, “Bigas Palit Basura”,  the town folks are urged to gather discarded materials such as plastic wrappers, shampoo sachets, and other packaging materials, cut them into pieces and stuff the shredded trash inside a 1.5 liter plastic bottle. The said bottle is then weighed and correspondingly exchanged with rice with the same weight.

Rather than the normal style of giving away rice, the local government has used this innovative program to engage its citizens and involve them in its environmental program. This program has garnered several positive responses.

In advocacies across the country, organizations are turning to innovative ways to drive their messages. On May 28, Boundless Possibilities Foundation Inc., an organization dedicated to promote the welfare of adults with neurodivergence, will conduct the first of their collaborative efforts with other organizations entitled, “PWD Fun Run”. Rather than conduct talks on inclusivity, the organization has opted to do an activity with other organizations to show that neurodivergent adults can participate in activities with other sectors of the community and thus illustrate more pointedly the possibilities for inclusion.

Someone once said “it’s much easier to copy other people and stay within what everybody else is doing. I think it’s been really cool to do something different that people haven’t seen before.”

Perhaps more of our countrymen should focus on innovation as a key to success.

This is my oblique observation.

Editor’s note: The opinions expressed in the foregoing article are solely the author’s and do not reflect the opinions and beliefs of the Philippine News Agency (PNA) or any other office under the Presidential Communications Office.


About the Columnist

Image of Atty. Gilberto Lauengco, J.D.

ATTY. GILBERTO LAUENGCO, J.D. is a lawyer, educator, political strategist, government consultant, Lego enthusiast, and the director of CAER Think Tank. He is a Former Vice Chairman of MECO, Special Assistant of NFA and City Administrator among others. His broad experience has molded his unique approach to issues analysis which he calls the oblique observation.