Optimism and Innovation: A Piece of the Puzzling Problem for us Filipino Scientists?

Just to give a fresh start. I’ll be enumerating words or phrases.


It is a cool word. The new black. The thing that brings the inner geek in me. You never get tired of hearing that word.

You are the future generation.

That phrase has been going on for ages. One generation passing to another type of ritual. No matter how many times people repeat this phrase, you’d never get tired of it. That phrase actually engaged me to continue doing what I am doing now. It’s just sad that I am considered as one of those grown-ups who will be telling this phrase to the younger ones.

For weeks, B.S. Material Science and Engineering majors like us have taken week-loads of presenting what we or the course think as “innovative”. It involves presenting the hippest technology or inventions of this generation. Yes, they look cool. They can be our toys if we have the money to place our bet on. But getting the latest or the popular technology isn’t the only point this course was telling us directly. We also had to think of the profit-making scenario before that tech company of yours will die down. Money revolves in this world. It is a medium we use for transactions, investments and the such. Let me give great importance to the word, investment. Yes, big technocrats like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs may not even be known to us if there weren’t any investment. As said in one of our Macroeconomics lecture, technology (an indefinite term), increases the GDP growth of a country. But look at a non-technical point of view, people would want to have a happier, faster, and easier way of life, right? So yes, money seems to matter a lot also in “doing” innovation.

Innovation as I recall during one of those mini-lecture needs not be pessimistic. It has to place optimism for the part of the inventor. There are no boundaries, they say. Back when we were kids, we’d draw about anything we can think off. I’d remember back then that me and my brother imagine ourselves in some cool and big ship and attacking samurai and ninjas. It does not seem right when thinking of it now but I felt so right back then. We had the optimism that kids hold on to before the adults introduced limits and pessimism to the World of Kids. Yes, original sin as Fr. Dacanay may have mentioned way back then, meant the exposure of the child to the sins of this world. Well, there are also other things introduced to the mind of the child such as pessimism. I just don’t know if that is a good thing. It keeps us realistic but it can also stop us from reaching bigger heights or grounds.

Basing from the mini-lecture instances that our professor gave in Innovations Class, innovation seems to be a rare find among the human race. He eyes on us as the breadwinners of the intertwined world of Science and Technology along with Business. It seems to be a pretty good idea but sadly, not all of us have that kind of mind-set. Personalities and choices differ not because it is natural for us to be unique compared to others but because a person is exposed to events or experiences that are different from what other people were exposed to. Maybe experiences are not the only things that are different but I guess the ideologies we have been exposed to.

Science has been my stronghold ever since Grade School. I thought it was a joke back then that I was picked to join those Science contests. I thought I was good at Math but after years of exposure, I knew I wasn’t great in creating out of the box techniques to calculate integrals and combinatorics much faster as compared to others. As high school came to my life, there and then I knew science was the thing for me. And here I am, graduating with another degree – B.S. Material Science and Engineering (the future engineers that will further enhance the materials we have today depending on the properties we need)

Then sometimes we ask ourselves why our country seems to have a bleak future for us scientists. The country’s business sector has focused too much on the outsourcing of our people. Programming. Project Management. Consultancy. Technical Assistants. Financial Analysts. We get those stuff and we know those type of jobs or future are bright for many of us in the graduating batch. We all want to get a job as soon as possible. I’d feel so guilty if I would not be able to land on one a few months after graduation. Then there’s the health sector. We have tons of doctors, nurses, pharmacists. Yes, we need to develop the health care system more but in terms of the population ratio of the people in this sector to us – that is nothing. The future is great for those kind of careers but not for us scientists.

Isn’t it surprising that when we search for journals for our thesis or references for future publications that there are not much Filipino scientists doing hardcore research? We’ve done our part, graduating with degrees that involve pure research. We’ve been introduced the other side of the coin to promoting our field through innovation. I guess it is our part as well to push a step further in extending the lagging gap of the Science and Technology sector in our country. As to the term innovation, yes it is relevant to us because as scientists, we profit from being researchers or entrepreneurs by introducing new products for the entire world. We do help the economy and our piggy banks. We can even retire early. We have sold our nerdy turned cool ideas to the public. But this is only one side of innovation. We should not forget about the purity that science has – doing hardcore science work. To be able to create particle accelerators, research on rheology or fluid dynamics, to analyze the plasma in our universe, to look at plants’ toxicology and the such.

Innovation cannot exist because of forcing ourselves to think of new scientific ideas and let them captureĀ the consumers’ attention. No. It needs to the help of what others term as “no-sense science” as well. The field where theorists and experimentalists exist. The field that application lovers are not a fan of. Without that field, innovation or technology won’t matter. The countries would even stop thinking of increasing their capital growth or compete/collaborate with one another.

As scientists, we need to be optimistic in our field just as we were optimistic when we were kids, and not let one side of innovation take a hold of us. We are the backbone to what we see in this world as innovation. With innovation however, technology exists and so let that capitalistic idea work for everyone in this world as well. As evil as it may sound, true, I am not really a fan of capitalism but with the right attitude and mind-set, we can make the world a better place – not only for us but for Mother Earth. We don’t only survive through the globalization standards but also through the ideology of social justice, or social democracy.


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