80 Words Bio
He has mentored thousands of leaders — catalysts and changemakers — in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines.
How I Work
Begin with your customers, and you’ll succeed in business.
Begin with your starving crowd, and you’ll succeed in creating value.
Begin with the leaders you want to help, and you can change the world. My approach is based on a very simple and powerful principle: People first and last.
This is why in my training program, I moved from universal use of ISD to Design Thinking. I will tell you in a while.
My purpose for writing this page is not to tell you how different I am to others. It is easy to be different. On the other hand, you’ll realize that I am using a similar approach to creatives, instigators, innovators, and social entrepreneurs everywhere.
As a corporate trainer, I have learned many strategies and have gathered tools from the social sector which will be very useful in many business organizations. I also borrow tools from the business sector which can create bigger and more sustainable impact in nation-building.
Welcome to the brave new world of inspiring, educating, equipping, and enabling people.
What is HCD?
HCD or Human-centered design is a creative and innovative approach to solving world’s problems.
It inspires me to start with you.
Based on my experiences in working with leaders, applying the principles of human-centered design produces better results than using the traditional training or speaking methods.
For example, ISD or Instructional Systems Designs are commonly practiced by corporate trainers who run “competency-based” training programs. The focus of ISD is instruction, not innovation.
What you need is business growth. You need to create something that will make you ahead and stay ahead — and not the sets of skills usually sold to everyone in your industry.
If this is the first time you have heard of ISD, you can find more a handbook for instructional designers here. You can also find a comprehensive review of the models here. ISD works for its purpose: instruction and learning. For five years, I studied and used various ISD models.
But as much as ISD is an excellent model for instruction, it does not necessarily help you achieve your desired business results or social impact.
Teaching leaders the “competencies” that worked in the past may not work now and in the future. Competencies are about the past. Innovation is about the future.
But it is always easier to tell old stories than to create new ones. That’s why.
Why is HCD good for you?
Human-centered design is a mindset.
In traditional ISD, learners are seen as people with problems and must be cured.
A classic example is the WAVE program which is now popular in the Philippines. WAVE is Work Attitude and Values Enhancement. The first assumption of the program is that there are sets of attitudes that you must learn (in two days) in order for you to be successful. And that you must enhance your values. I have seen others who tried to change the definition of WAVE, but they are all following the bandwagon.
Attitudes are important, of course. And there are attitudes you like to cultivate in your organization. As to values, what you need is alignment, not enhancement. You can enhance the value of a product, but you do not enhance someone’s values.
This is why I prefer human-centered design over traditional problem solving methods.
Human-centered design is appreciative. Your values, gifts, and abilities matter. HCD is about believing you can make a difference. It is about having an intentional process in order to get to new, relevant ideas that create positive impact.
Human-centered design gives you faith in your creative abilities — and a process for transforming difficult challenges into opportunities.
Human-Centered Design Phases
You will use HCD tools when we start working together. The process is scalable. We should be able to work no matter how limited our time is. To help you get a better appreciation of the Human-Centered Design phases, think H-C-D.
H is for Hear. I will hear you. I will learn directly from you. I will immerse in your work life and I will dig deeper to understand your needs.
C is for Create. I will make sense of what I have learned from you and identify opportunities to design a better solution for you, and develop a combination of program for you. Some of the programs I have designed for clients include the creation of reading materials, job aids, podcast, workshops, learning sessions, coaching sessions, demonstrations, and others.
D is for Deliver. We grab the opportunities and apply the solutions. And we will know whether a solution is successful because you’ll really use them. You will measure your progress. You’ll monitor and make necessary adjustments.
Why You’ll Love Human-Centered Design
In traditional training programs, you are a student. An expert has created the program for you. They will not ask you what you want or need. They have already decided that for you. You only need to enrol. Or follow your manager’s order to attend a seminar.
HCD is human-centered. It is you-centered. It begins from deep empathy and desire to understand your needs and motivation. You must have heard of training companies that offer tailor-fit or customised programs. They’ll put your company name and logo on their slides and handouts and consider that customization.
The process of HCD will help me, your consultant, understand you and the motivations of people around you — your managers, customers, colleagues, and everyone who make up your community. Only then I can find meaning. Training without understanding can make things happen.
In traditional training, you invite training providers to present their program to you. You purchase the program. They’ll do all the work; they are the experts.
In HCD, you are an expert too. You are the owner of the problem and you have the solutions. We will collaborate. My job is to guide you in an intentional process. I will listen to you. I will ask you questions. You will tell me what you have — your talents, assets, and strengths. You’ll tell me what you know with what you have.
We will solve problems based on evidence, and not just from a theory of another best selling author. You role isn’t just of a listener or a learner, you play the role of a leader.
Do you see that beauty of HCD now?
You’ll be able to appreciate your strengths — and you’ll be able to use my strengths — to solve your problems. And you can do it again and again. In Filipino, we call this kapit-bisig.
In traditional training, the objective is always to fill-in the gap in skills. Success is measured based on your ability to meet the standards. People with different problems are given the same kind of instruction.
In HCD, we have a fundamental belief that we can create change — no matter how big the problem, how little time, or how small a budget. You see problems are opportunities. HCD is strengths-based and innovation-inspired.. There is always something you and I can do to become better now.
Traditional training provides you a finished product, not solutions. Learning has been packaged for you. You only need to consume them. Unfortunately, most training programs are big on input but provide little output and no outcome at all. People do not apply what they’ve learned from the classroom. Almost always, the workplace environment is different to what they’ve studied in the classroom.
HCD is experimental and creative. It gives you permission to fail and learn from your mistakes. Mistakes help you come up with new ideas, get feedback, and iterate. I am not interested in giving you grades. I want to see you improve while working with me. I want to see you continue improving yourself after we have worked together.
It is tempting for someone like me to sell to you myself as an expert. People are looking for experts nowadays. They do not want to solve their problems. They want someone else to do it for them. That’s their misfortune; they’ll always have problems for experts to earn a living.
I have a beginner’s mind.
I learned the power of the beginner’s mind from Michael Gerber. I empty my cup so that I can allow you to fill my mind with yours.
I remember that when I was just starting in my profession, I was to eager to sell my programs that I didn’t have time to listen to my customers. I was so convinced that what I knew then were the solutions to their problems. I had ready answers for their challenges.
Because canned answers aren’t the answers you need.
When start with a beginner’s mind, I approach problems as a novice even if I already know a lot about them. Trust me, when I talk to clients about their objectives for team building or leadership or personal development, they usually gave me general, safe, and hackneyed answers. It is also convenient to tell them that I already know the “right” answer.
That’s what they want to hear.
People in general will only tell you what they’re comfortable to say. But I ask questions and dig deeper. I allow myself to learn from my clients. It is okay with me not having the right answer at first. And as long as you collaborate with me, you’ll begin to see your problems which oftentimes are opportunities in disguise.
“What If” instead of “What’s Wrong”
A decade ago, I learned about appreciative inquiry process. It prefers the positive and solves the negative in the process. It’s mindset is very similar to HCD. Traditional training asks what’s wrong with you, then try to cure that. HCD approach will make you believe that the future will be better and that you can create that future.
My mission is to help leaders create a better future you and I really care about. HCD is about creating a better future. Appreciative inquiry is discovering and celebrating our best so that we can create a future we desire..
I know that some people feel safe inside a box. They get consultants who can help them be perfect-fit for the box. And they will find these boxes for they were mass-produced and beautifully-packaged.
I am for innovation.
I work with people who are not happy to be inside small boxes. I work with those who have the desire to outgrow their boxes.
HCD is a process for innovation. We must innovate in the way we train leaders. We must reinvent leadership. We must equip leaders who can lead us in creating a better world.
Imagine what we can do together.
National College of Business and Arts (Quezon City)The most important leadership skills I learned in college were mobilizing people and enabling leaders to act. I discovered the importance of creating second-liners for the leadership pipeline. I realized that when leading people, I must be adaptive. Together with my teams, we were able to create school-wide activities and social-change programs.Master of Arts in Teaching
Central Colleges of the Philippines (Quezon City)
I took the course because I was teaching. I wanted to give my very best as a teacher. The most important leadership skills I learned here were facilitation, designing educational programs, and motivating people. The Graduate Library had excellent collections of up-to-date books on adult education, motivation, and learning.
I got bored with the classes because nobody was reading the books I read (class reporting was the standard teaching methodology) so after having finished 30 units of credit, I decided to study on my own. Those Saturday and Sunday classes prepared me for result-oriented training.
Master of Arts in Public Administration
Polytechnic University of the Philippines (Manila)
I took some subjects. Some professors were good, but classes in general were not exciting. Many students took the course as a requirement for promotion in government service. The most memorable lesson I learned from the classes was that corruption in government was rampant and corruption had many names.
In retrospect, I should have finished the course. As of now, I am helping LGUs and LGAs. This is why I am now enrolled in some online classes on public administration.
The Certificate in POD is a five-month program that provides open participants mind to new possibilities in organizational development. Traditional OD focuses on problem solving. Positive OD focuses on positive possibilities to create new realities. You can learn more about the Certificate program here.
Certificates of Accomplishment
Acumen Impact Team, By +Acumen, a global learning community for social change makers.
November 23 to December 22, 2015In this 3-module course, I got started on building a Lean Data approach for you’re my chosen project. I explored and discussed case studies from companies in Acumen’s portfolio that have used Lean Data to gain new insights and refine their value proposition. Then I selected my own data collection tool, built a streamlined survey, and run a live demo with customers. The course provide me with access to survey templates that Acumen has tested in the field, along with step-by-step guides on how to use free technologies to collect and organize my data. I finished the course by building basic data dashboards and creating an action plan, run my own Lean Data sprint for my chosen project.Lean Startup Principles for Social Impact
Sasha Dichter, Chief Innovation Officer, Acumen
November 12, 2015 – December 12, 2015Lean Startup Principles for Social Impact is an 4-week course inspired by the Lean Launchpad Class pioneered by Steve Blank. In this course you participants learned how to test, validate, and adapt your vision of change to ensure you’re creating the greatest impact and investing your time in something that truly meets your stakeholder’s and customer’s needs.This 4-module course provided me an introduction to how Lean Startup Principles can be applied to the social sector. I completed a value proposition canvas, learned techniques for conducting customer interviews, and built a minimum viable product.
Financial Modeling for the Social Sector
Dr. Erik Simanis, Head, Emerging and Frontier Markets Initiative at Cornell University and +Acumen through Novoed
October 15, 2015 to December 2, 2015
This 7-week course by Dr. Erik Simanis and +Acumen provided a financial modeling framework that can be used to think about what is required for an early stage venture to achieve financial sustainability. Topics covered in the course included: bounding an operational unit of a venture, calculating the total running costs/total investment costs of an operational unit, and determining the price point and margin level required for financial sustainability.
Leadership: Ten Rules for Impact and Learning
By Amr Al-Dabbagh, Founder of Philantrophy University through Novoed
October 6, 2015 to December 1, 2015
I learned about a principled approach to entrepreneurial leadership fueled by Ten Golden Rules for impact and meaning. Through stories and case studies, I learned to apply the Ten Golden Rules to accelerate organizational success.
Social Entrepreneurship 101: Discovering Your Passion and Path to Change the World
October 7 to November 25
By +Acumen, a global learning community for social change makers.
This 4-module course from +Acumen introduced me to the basics of social entrepreneurship including impact measurement, financial sustainability, and pathways to achieve scale.
How to Scale Social Impact
October 6 to November 25
By Shashi Buluswar, Haas School of Business,
This seven module course reintroduced me to the meaning of scaling in social sector. The course offered nine definition of success: reach lift, efficiency, sustainability, scalability, replicability, unintended consequences, catalytic effect, and probability of success. I discovered that to push for social change, I must encourage behavior change. I understood the poverty problem and learn from various six case studies: a) Maternal, Neonatal, and Child Health b) Tuberculosis c) Water and Sanitation d) Food Security and Agricultural Development, e) Education and f) Human Rights
Networking Leadership 101: Building Your Core Professional Network
By +Acumen and The Center for Creative Leadership through NovoEd.
October 7 to November 25
This one-module course from +Acumen focused on interactive diagnostic activities to help me and my team unearth the social capital & relationships that we bring to the table.
Adaptive Leadership: Mobilizing Change
By +Acumen, in partnership with the Cambridge Leadership Associates.
October 14 to November 18
This four module course provided an introduction to several key tools of Adaptive Leadership. Participants were invited to come with a current challenge and to make progress on it by applying the tools of Adaptive Leadership. This included understanding the differences between technical and adaptive elements of the challenge, defining key stakeholders and their values, loyalties and losses, and practicing courageous conversations in preparation for addressing the challenge.
Making Sense of Social Impact: Acumen’s Building Block of Impact Analysis
By +Acumen, a global learning community for social change makers.
September 30 to November 12, 2015
This five-module introductory course by +Acumen shared how Acumen analyzes social impact of their portfolio companies and that same building blocks can be applied to any socially-focused company or organization that the learners are excited about. The modules include a) Introduction to Social Impact Analysis b) Depth of Impact and Theory of Change c) Focus on Target (the Poor and Disadvantaged d) Evidence Review and Data Collection
Certificates of Completion
Lynda.com provides me more opportunities to explore new ideas and tools for my own and my clients’ benefits. The certificates of completion shows that I have finished watching courses from the website. I explores more opportunities to learn and apply each in my life and in my business. I can only share what I have experienced.Here are a few of the completed courses:
- Decision- Making Fundamentals
- Modeling Courageous Leadership: Intelligent Disobedience
- Building Accountability into Your Culture
- Strategic Planning Fundamentals
- Building Creative Organizations
- Executive Decision Making
- Building Customer Loyalty
- Leading with Applied Improv
- Innovative Customer Service Techniques
- Leading a Customer-Centric Culture
- Quick Fixes for Poor Customer Service
Here is the link to all the courses I have completed.