Fall in love, Mr. Raul Joseph A. Concepcion, 52nd Commencement Speaker, dares new graduates

Posted: August 30, 2019

Are you ready to fall in love?

This was the challenge guest of honor Raul Joseph Concepcion to the graduates of the College of Engineering and Computer Studies during his 52nd Commencement Exercises speech at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC).

By falling in love, he did not mean a typical, romantic kind but a more complex and noble one.

He elaborated by quoting Fr. Pedro Arrupe, former Superior General of the Society of Jesus: “Nothing is more practical than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way.
What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you will do with your evenings, how you will spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in love, stay in love and it will decide everything.”

As third generation Chairman and CEO of Concepcion Industrial Corporation, he shared how falling in love enabled him to keep its reputation as the most trusted cooling, vertical transport, and appliance solutions provider in the country for the past 60 years.

First, one has to accept the reality that the old formula is not enough and companies should be constantly innovating.

“We should be ready for a world where disruption is the name of the game, where falling in love is not only about being comfortable with what is already normal but also what could be.”

Concepcion shared that only 59 of the original global 500 companies still exist today.

“Companies like Kodak and Nokia are gone and taking their place are Uber, Airbnb, and Netflix, which did not exist 15 years ago. We have to embrace the reality that disruption is happening and if we do not recognize it and accept this, the next thing you know is that you are already irrelevant.”

It is also important to find out the “who” and “why” of innovation.

“The ‘why’ is the purpose of doing the innovation. Is it for the money? Is it to be the leader in the field? Or to solve a problem?”

The “who,” meanwhile, refers to the people they are innovating for.

“Real innovation is about understanding the ‘who’ and therefore it is the ‘who’ and their challenges and needs that we have to fall in love with. Because when you have fallen in love with their problem, when you care truly and you care deeply and madly about people, you will not stop until you have solved their problem,” Concepcion said.

“We see our customers not as purchasers of aircons, refs, or home appliances but as wives, mothers, husbands, and fathers—people who manage their homes and balance the demands of their career with the needs of the family, friends, and communities.”

This form of love is what he calls compassion, which “enables us to chart a path of continued leadership and relevance for the next 100 years.”

This is why he hopes that the graduates are ready to fall in love when they step out in their various industries.

“As you leave this school, I pray that you find your love—be it in your professional life or in your advocacy or even in your families and communities because love brings out what is good and noble in you and fuels you to action.”