Phil Smithson

+63 947 890 6034


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Phil is the Managing Director of On-Off Group, a strategic design company based in the Philippines, whose mission is to create meaningful change through the application of design thinking principles.


He has over 6 years training experience with senior leadership teams, managers, government, educators, startups, students from a diverse client list including Sun Life, Meralco, DICT, QBE, EastWest Bank, Shell, Security Bank, KMC, Unilab, Trend Micro, AusTrade, European Chamber of Commerce, the Department of Trade and Industry, the Department of Labor and Employment and more.


Before starting his own business, he previously worked for WPP, and was involved in creating digital campaigns with brands such as Axe, L’Oréal, Del Monte, KLM, Maybelline amongst others where his desire to solve real world problems was born.


In addition to his work at On-Off Group, he teaches a class in Human-Computer Interaction at Mint College in Manila, Philippines and is a regular mentor in the Manila startup scene with incubators like IdeaSpace Foundation and Founder’s Institute where he helps ensure startups are solving a real problem for real people by applying design thinking and lean startup methodologies.

More than just teaching, he has used design thinking to solve two real world problems close to his heart:


1. He wishes he’d discovered design thinking and creative confidence at an earlier age so founded The Failure School, an activity-based program designed to equip attendees with an entrepreneurial, problem-solving, innovation-focused mindset, to help others uncover these skills of the future sooner.


2. After living in the Philippines for a long time, he realized that Filipino (a.k.a. Tagalog) was unnecessarily hard for a lot of people to learn so founded Learn Tagalog Fast and designed the curriculum from the ground up based on his experiences so that expats could connect better with those around them.


He holds a first class honors degree in Software Engineering, a User Experience Certification from the British Computing Society and is also a Certified Scrum Master.


He is originally from the UK and now lives in the Philippines and enjoys speaking conversational Filipino.