Creating world-leading solutions with the Filipino government

In 2016, the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business index ranked the Philippines in 113 place – a drop from 99 in the previous year. To improve this score, the Filipino government turned to the New Zealand government (ranked 1), who engaged Creative HQ to help.



Creative HQ + G2G KNow-How + Philippines Government

On October 31 2016, the World Bank (“WB”) released its most recent Ease of Doing Business (“EODB”) Report. The Philippines’ rank dropped to No. 113, down 14 places from its No. 99 position the previous year.

Prior to the release of the 2018 WB EODB report, the National Competitiveness Council (NCC) in the Philippines partnered with the New Zealand Government to bring the best of New Zealand’s state and private sector solutions to ease of doing business in the Philippines.

In December 2016 the NZ Embassy requested its NZ G2G Know-How (a joint venture enterprise of the Ministry of Foreign Enterprise and Trade (MFAT) and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) group to undertake a scoping and exploratory support exercise to provide recommendations for further improvements to make it easier for people to do business in the Philippines.

NZ mission: problem exploration

The NZ mission, led by Creative HQ, was undertaken to explore the problem in more detail, on the ground, and make recommendations. 

The Mission concluded that there exists a “significant opportunity for the Philippines to take a leadership position in the business registration process by becoming one of the world’s first countries to adopt a fully mobile-based registration process.”

One of the recommendations made by the NZ Mission was a programme of work. This programme would enhance the level of transparency and publicly available information; reduce confusion and duplication of data used during transactions between businesses and government agencies; and streamline the “end-to-end” registration process. The ultimate goal was to create a seamless online transaction that could be completed on any internet-connected device. 

In line with experiences from the NZ public sector, the NZ Mission suggested a specific approach for delivering the outcomes; the use of “Design Sprints” (5-day workshops to develop a realistic prototype for a given business problem). 

Over the last few years, Design Sprints are increasingly used in the public sector due to their high levels of productivity, efficiency, and customer orientation.

Our approach

Three Design Sprints focused on three connected problems – collaboratively solving complex problems represents a new way of working for the Philippines government.

The Design Sprint approach for the Philippines set out to achieve the following objectives:
  • Create and test realistic prototype solutions for well-defined problems, in five days
  • Strengthen engagement between the public and private sectors by bringing them together to solve critically important problems. 

The Sprints were five-day, ‘in-residence’ Sprints, in Manila, with the core team (of 6–7 people full-time) being made up of a combination of public and private sector participants.

A one-day Bootcamp was run to select the core team participants for each sprint; assessing and selecting from a long list of potential candidates based on a combination of ‘fit’ with the Sprint style of working (i.e. agile, ambiguous, fast-paced) and domain knowledge and expertise.

Sprint 1 – Local Government Unit Wiki (July 2018)

There is no single resource available online that provides general information about LGUs (Local Government Unit) and the specific business registration / permitting processes used by each LGU.

Produced a working website with supporting knowledge base that captured all relevant information someone registering a business would need to know, in one place.

The solution was successfully tested with real and future business owners on the Friday of the Sprint who were able to find the information they needed, to be clear about what was required to start a business in their LGU. The solution was launched publicly as part of a National LGU conference to all >1200 LGU’s in the Philippines and formed part of a broader national initiative.

Sprint 2 – Philippines Business Number (Sept 2018)

Businesses in the Philippines are issued with a range of numbers that are used by different national government agencies as the key identifier when those businesses are engaging with them. There is not a unique identifying number that sits across all government agencies.

Produced a working prototype that was comprised of:

  • the Philippines Business Number (PhBN) itself; a single, unique identifier specifically for businesses that, when implemented, will be the sole way for businesses to identify itself in the Philippines
  • an independent register of basic business information, tied to the PhBN, that allows government agencies (B2G) and other businesses (B2B) to look up information directly and remove the need to ask for this information from the businesses directly.

The plan for implementation of the PhBN, and supporting data exchange model, is being considered at the time of writing.

Sprint 3 – End-to-end business registration on a mobile phone (Nov 2018)

There are multiple websites and physical locations that businesses have to engage with to complete the registration of a new company. An opportunity exists to develop a fully electronic, end-to-end registration process which can be completed on the web or ideally by smartphone - making it easier for businesses to be registered.

Produced a working end-to-end registration mobile responsive website. The website provides agencies with all of the information, in the same format, that the different government agencies receive today and that they need to process a business registration. 

For new registrants, the value created by the solution is far-reaching:

  • the provision of all information and documentation required to register your business in one place
  • no need to visit a physical location, meaning customers can register when and where they want to (i.e. not restricted by office hours and physical location)
  • a single place to view notifications, requests for further information and progress updates.

The solution has a significant impact on government agencies too in that all information required for them to process an application is in one place, in full. This will materially impact the time and therefore cost, of processing business registrations.

The results

  • The Philippines Ease of Doing Business ranking improved to 95.
  • A working website with supporting knowledge base that captured all relevant information in one place.
  • The creation of the Philippines Business Number - a unique identifier for businesses.
  • Working end-to-end mobile responsive website for people to register their business.

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