Global: Data Innovation for Policy Makers

Innovation Areas: BIG DATA
Stage: Early stage

Conce on data innovation in policy making

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The problem addressed

Data innovation is talked about in policy circles but there’s still unfortunately a limited body of practice to substantiate claims of its positive impact or an in-depth understanding of the potential negative consequences. The purpose of this activity was:

-          to accelerate the process of moving from theory to practice in data innovation

-          to facilitate the creation of a subregional ecosystem of data innovation practitioners

-          to take stock of existing data innovation practice from the region (and beyond)

-          to raise awareness of policy makers of the gap between theory and practice

The intervention

Preparatory workshops with data innovators and policy makers in Indonesia

Fundraising and partnerships: leveraging seed funds from UNDP Innovation Facility to the tune of 1:2 (from DFAT KSI program and the Government of Indonesia)

Organizing of an international conference and related media coverage

Organizing of an exhibition of local data innovators

Launch of data innovation minigrants to stimulate the development of a body of practice

The partners

We worked with the Indonesia’s Ministry of National Development Planning (Bappenas), the Knowledge Sector Initiative and UNDP. We also mobilized the local data innovation community, with around 20 partners showcasing their tools and solutions. Finally, Devex was our media partners for the event. 


The newly appointed Minister of Bappenas opened the meeting with a heartfelt, off-the-script speech on the importance of data and attended a number of sessions - a great sign of interest and support from the new administration. The team who is working with the new President on big data analytics also presented at the event. Government participants got exposed to a variety of different tools and approaches and were able to identify entry points for data innovation interventions (from fuel subsidies to social protection). 

In terms of financing, thanks to Pulse Lab Jakarta's effort, DFAT matched UNPD's Innovation Facility seed investment and the Government of Indonesia also added its own contribution through cost sharing - overall, we leveraged the initial investment to a ratio of almost 1:2.

As for positioning us as a knowledge partner, UNDP showcased its work on both disaster response and fire monitoring and clearly positioned itself as a partner that has plenty of expertise to offer when it comes to data innovation. 

The conference was instrumental to open up a number of conversations with private sector partners like Singtel and potential donors like South Korea. I will follow up on some of these leads in the upcoming weeks. 

We expect immediate, tangible follow up from the minigrants that PLJ and UNDP jointly announced at the event.

Last but not least, we got significant coverage of the event both offline and online and a number of knowledge products will ensue as a result of the conference

Lessons identified

Talking about innovation theoretically is boring, talking with and about practical examples of innovation is energizing. Practice is ahead of theory when it comes to innovation and the fact that we focused on it was a major driving factor for success and attracting partners and funds to the event.


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$75,000 USD

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