GovJam Jakarta: bridging the empathy gap

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‘There is a big disconnect between what policymakers think people want and what they actually want’ ~ a GovJam Jakarta participant.

Last week Pulse Lab Jakarta teamed up with Make.Do.Nia, Gerak Cepat, Telkom Indonesia’s DBB Accelerator and Jakarta Digital Valley to address this challenge by hosting the Jakarta component of GovJam 2015.

Our big take away from the event is that the ‘empathy gap’ is manageable, but that the ‘sense of agency gap’ is huge.

Over 36 hours, multidisciplinary teams of civil servants, techies, creatives, social entrepreneurs, activists and many others embraced the logic of agile development, turned rough ideas for addressing social challenges into working prototypes and tested them with citizens.

It was inspiring to connect and work with genuinely passionate public servants, as well as the creative crowd. The teams developed alternative approaches to problems facing government and society, including:

  • A platform connecting graduates of vocational education to companies through innovation challenges;
  • An emotion board and case tracking system for civil registration;
  • An app connecting blue-collar workers to legal aid;
  • An approach using arisan for entrepreneurship;
  • An e-book library for public transportation;
  • A networking/mentoring app for women in business.


We hope that the teams continue to develop their ideas. To help them out and to enable them to share their learning we will be integrating them into the Inovasi Bersatu network.

As internet-enabled innovation is relatively new to public institutions we will also continue to connect with and support the participants from government. For a start, we are planning a skills bazaar, with booths introducing open data, data science, open mapping and Github, among others.

We were really pleased that representatives from the Ministry of Manpower were active participants at the event and we intend to take this initiative further with them.

Events like this are a rich source of data innovation champions and opportunities within public institutions, so we certainly look forward to co-hosting others in future. Let us know if you are planning something similar…


GovJam Jakarta: bridging the empathy gap 1


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