Every day, Indonesia’s diplomats around the world send mountains of diplomatic cables and dispatches into the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) in the capital, Jakarta. But until recently, the civil servants struggled to analyse and classify the firehose of information and correspondence. Previously, these tasks were performed manually, creating a time-consuming and exhaustive process.

UN Global Pulse Jakarta partnered with MoFA to develop a machine learning tool to understand, categorise, and provide easy access to diplomatic data so it could be more easily incorporated into analytical reports, potentially contributing to faster and better decision-making by diplomats.

Our Jakarta office developed and tested a prototype, and trained ministry staff to improve their qualifications in data analytics. Continuous discussions are underway to further integrate the tool and its derived insights into the ministry’s operations, fostering a more data-informed decision-making process.

Our impact

Digitizing and automating the handling of diplomatic cables revolutionises the way the ministry processes information, which becomes more timely, relevant and accurate. This makes the ministry more efficient and changes the way it works by  incorporating service design methodologies and machine learning into its workflow. This project benefits diplomatic staff abroad and foreign ministry staff at home, potentially opening the door to improved diplomacy informed by better data.

Ministry staff also received advanced data analytics training so they can use and maintain the tool, for the benefit of many units within the Ministry.

Our lessons

  • Machine learning can streamline and transform governmental processes. 
  • Foresight methods have a role to play in government processes.
  • AI improves efficiency and the timeliness of insights, supports data-informed decision-making and improves diplomacy by overcoming the traditional bottlenecks of manual data processing.
  • To produce targeted, effective tools, the organization that will use them must play an integral role in the development process.
  • To ensure system-wide adoption of the final product, it’s important to design a whole, agile product, not just a functional prototype.