The Filinvest Group, one of the largest conglomerates in the Philippines with diverse businesses in banking, property, infrastructure, utilities, and agriculture, recently collaborated with Amazon Web Service’s (AWS) Asia Pacific Innovation team to launch its second annual Hackathon program. Twenty-five diverse teams across the conglomerate and from a variety of industry sectors joined and accepted the challenge to create new digital services with the goal of addressing real customer challenges.
The initiative is in line with the Group’s Filinvent campaign, an open innovation initiative launched in 2020 to step up the conglomerate’s future-proofing and internal digital transformation efforts. Spearheaded by F(DEV), Filinvest promotes a more holistic way of approaching digital innovation across the organization.
“We believe that true innovation happens when you enable everyone in the organization to innovate. We see the passion and drive of our employees to do this – however, people need mentorship to equip them with the right frameworks, tools, and skill sets to be able to do so. Through Filinvent, we aim to democratize these frameworks and tools for everyone to use in their day-to-day work,” shares Xavier Marzan, CEO of F(DEV) and the conglomerate’s Group Chief Digital Officer and Chief Innovation Officer.
The Hackathon program is one of the initiatives enabling design thinking to solve operational or commercial challenges. Ideas were translated into working wireframes and prototypes to validate the new experiences with their customers. At the end of the 3-month program, the top teams went on to a Y-Combinator style “Demo Day”, a pitching exercise, to showcase their prototyped products and experiences to the Group. Today, the teams continue to iterate on their products and experiences as they move from prototype to launching Minimum Viable Products (MVP) in the market.
Reuben Jayasinghe, Digital Innovation Lead for ASEAN, Amazon Web Services during the Hackathon as mentor and speaker.
Filinvest’s next-generation leaders continue to champion innovation across all of its subsidiaries, empowering its employees to openly collaborate to chart the future of the company. Through Filinvent, the Group strives to tech-enable its various businesses to better serve its core underserved middle markets.
“We saw how empowering the Hackathon was for our people. It enabled them to discover how they can be more impactful by having an entrepreneurial and transformative mindset. Through programs such as this, we hope to equip our people with the skills they need to make sure that everything we’ve started will be sustained and continued by the next generation of Filinvest Group employees,” said JP Yap, Chief Technology Officer at Filinvest Group’s IT company.
With F(DEV), the Filinvest Group also continues to undertake strategic tech-driven projects to transform experiences across the conglomerate.It has created its own digital procurement experience called Qwote to digitize buying processes in its banking and shared services divisions. It is now working with its hospitality and F&B units to bring this e-commerce experience to more companies and making sure users and customers find it easier to do things with these new tech solutions. At the same time, it is rolling out a new payment and financial operating experience called Fastwire to its various property management teams to streamline the process of customer payments and account management, taking out a lot of the manual pen and paper behaviors that have historically been plaguing operations.
By focusing on a holistic approach to innovation and digital transformation, the conglomerate remains steadfast in its commitment to serve the underserved middle-class Filipinos at scale and hopes to significantly impact the country’s digital growth and sustainable economic progress.