[OPINION] Surviving AIM's first-of-its-kind innovation learning

I could not be more delighted and proud to have survived the Asian Institute of Management's first-ever Innovation Fellowship Program.

The AIM School of Executive Education, together with Bonifacio Global City, just launched its pioneer program where entrepreneurs, students, marketing professionals, and aspiring innovators participated in a month-long course on design thinking, complex problem solving, and innovation. 

So, what does a journalist like me, with no management or business background, have to do with these topics? Frankly, this is also the initial question I had in mind. But as the days went by, it all made sense to me.

At the end of my journey with AIM, I realized the world would be a better place if people would all have a solution-based approach to problems, or what we call "design thinking."

Such a methodology is not just significant in innovating businesses. It is wide-ranging since it is applicable to any field – be it media, government, technology, or others. It can be applied to systems, customers, readers, procedures, and many more. Where there are problems, it is relevant.

Through the course, I learned that empathy is crucial to fully understanding the lives, including the pains and the joys, of the persons you are meant to design for. If you are a business owner, this could be the struggles of your customers or employees. After all, the ultimate goal of innovation is to improve the quality of life, and you can only do this if you truly know what they're going through.

All in all, it was a crazy and productive month with AIM. Imagine diving into an unknown world in just a month, on top of your day jobs. While it may sound grueling, my classmates and I agree that we wouldn't have it any other way. It is worth it because on top of it all, you get to meet and work with people from different fields and backgrounds.

I was fortunate to belong to a diverse team – a stockbroker, a reporter, an IT sales specialist, a businessman, and an architect. It made me realize how big the world out there is and how designing good products and services takes a whole village, so to speak.

In a month, we had masterclasses; social learning where they allowed us to go out, talk to people, and design for them; mentoring; customer insighting; and solutions/products testing and evaluation. In the end, they gave us a challenge on how to define the next big role of BGC in the co-working space.

All of this was possible thanks to the AIM professors – Richard Cruz, Gaston Ortigas Jr, Ricardo Lim, David Gulliver Go – who consistently gave us "Aha!" moments every session day. Imagine being trained by the best and brightest from AIM.

These professors were not just there to lecture us. They were walking their talk. Before they taught us about innovation and disrupting our respective industries, they had first accomplished that. In fact, the pioneer program, which disrupted the entire learning and development space, was all thanks to their creativity, curiosity, and collaboration.

The course is beneficial for those who want to enhance their personal and professional development.

With the success of the pioneer batch, it won't be surprising if AIM would hold several more courses in the near future. After all, innovation never ends.

For those interested, you may contact Jia Santos at jsantos@aim.edu.

You, too, could be a part of this "ecosystem of innovators." – Rappler.com

Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email camille.elemia@rappler.com

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