(Manila, Philippines – April 20, 2016) James M. Donovan, CEO and Founder of ADEC Innovations, shared stories and answered questions at the recent ASIA SME Summit at the Manila Marriott Hotel with a presentation of the company’s history; its challenges and opportunities.

Like the other small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) represented at the summit, the 20-year-old company with roots and a strong presence in the BPO industry also started as an SME, evolving over time into a global impact investing enterprise. The ADEC Innovations CEO shared valuable insights about this journey to a group of seasoned and emerging business leaders during the summit. Here’s a recap of his presentation, “Innovation: The Key to Business Growth.”

  • On balancing short term versus long-term objectives

    “Everybody in this business, whether an SME or a conglomerate, faces the reality of having to exploit whatever resources they have today in front of them, in their hands. Probably the number one challenge for any business person is to balance this short-term approach with a long-term vision.”

  • On adjusting your business model quickly

    “So we learned a lot of things, mostly what not to do. Anybody in business out here will know that you tend to do several things that don’t work. Hopefully, you learn some intuition from that, adjust your business model and quickly go back out into the marketplace.”

  • On observing global trends and benchmarking against the best and the brightest

    “Whether it was delivered in New York, Brussels or Paris, it wouldn’t matter because it was world-class. We benchmarked ourselves against the best and the brightest.”

  • On integrating purpose into your process

    “The purpose is to have an impact; to have a higher calling about why we do something…We absolutely took our ability to have sustainable work and to bring that to the Philippines very seriously…This is a business opportunity. The UN would tell you there’s two trillion dollars. Let’s cut it in half. There’s one trillion dollars of unfunded business opportunities and business models that have yet to be matured to address the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. We want to be part of that.”

  • On getting ahead of the crisis

    “There are huge issues regarding climate change. This is a crisis, believe it or not. How do you get ahead of that? Think in multiple time scales. One year is not good enough. You have to think, ‘where are we going to be in a year… three years… ten years?’”

  • On inviting challenges

    “Be ok with somebody being critical of your business plan. We actually did take on board what they said, and it firmed up our belief that we were on to something.”

  • On being skeptical about success

    “Success keeps you in this little cocoon of happiness. The world marches on around you, and before you know it change has put you two or three steps behind. It is really about keeping that critical thinking going.”

From a company that had one laptop, a portable printer and a lot of ambition, ADEC Innovations has grown into an impact investing company that designs, develops and delivers a diverse data management and technology portfolio of Environmental, Social and Governance solutions in five continents across 12 different countries.

Watch his complete presentation