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Since our portfolio sensemaking process in November 2019 aimed at repositioning Pulse Lab Jakarta, much has occurred internally and externally. A recent invitation from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), our main financial contributor[1], to fill in a training session provided an extremely useful opportunity to reflect on factors impacting on the Lab and what has progressed. …


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Ongoing discourse on governments’ response to COVID-19 emphasizes the crucial role of data in saving lives and protecting livelihoods. As more government institutions and development projects foray into the art of the possible with new data sources, it is important to address underlying systemic conditions that hamper effective adoption of data innovations. This includes issues around effective data access and data processing, as well as the need for guiding principles and protocols for both current and future responses. At the Asia regional consultation for the forthcoming World Development Report 2021 which Pulse Lab Jakarta recently co-hosted, one of the central themes was on how to strengthen data systems to increase the value of data. …


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Angga represented the Lab at the Paris Peace Forum in 2019

Angga Gumilar joined Pulse Lab Jakarta in 2018 as a programme assistant, and has been supporting the Lab’s analytic partnerships and data innovation projects for policy making alongside our government counterparts. He recently participated in a series of training on policy-related project management which was facilitated by Policy Lab Indonesia, and in this piece shares his takeaways and looks at how they intersect with his work at the Lab.

Since the beginning of my assignment with Pulse Lab Jakarta in 2018, project management has been central to my work. I have been involved in several data innovation projects for policy making, many of which are carried out in collaboration with our government partners. Despite the many experiential learnings that I take from each project, as a continuous learner, I always feel the need to further strengthen my knowledge and capacity. Focused on policy development and project management, I was thrilled to have been selected through a competitive process for participation in a series of training facilitated by Policy Lab Indonesia. …


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An interactive visualisation map developed by Pulse Lab Jakarta in collaboration with Bappenas and the West Java Government showing areas of West Java that might have a higher risk for COVID-19 spread.

Now nearing the end of September 2020, Indonesia has reported almost 275,000 COVID-19 cases since the first confirmed case in early March. Just in terms of the number of detected cases, it is second highest in South-East Asia, after the Philippines. With cases yet again on the rise, parts of Indonesia have brought back the soft-lockdown more commonly known as PSBB, an acronym for Pembatasan Sosial Berskala Besar (Large Scale Social Restrictions). At this stage finding the balance between decreasing disease incidence whilst also limiting the extent of the economic fallout is understandably a tough task, especially with poverty incidence on the rise. …


Authors: Petrarca Karetji (Head), Dwayne Carruthers (Communication Manager) and Faizal Thamrin (Humanitarian Data Advisor)

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Faizal, our humanitarian data advisor and one of the co-authors of this piece, often recounts what one of his supervisors said to him from his days as an information management officer. These were the days when he would, with 24-hours’ notice, journey to a disaster zone and be in charge of sourcing, collating, organising, and analysing the data that was needed to glean actionable insights for humanitarian actors on the ground. To paraphrase, what his supervisor told him was: “predictable data is what we need most in times such as this.” …


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Approaches to data collection for development programming have commonly relied on official statistical data in combination with surveys to plan, implement and monitor progress and impact for interventions. Today, the emergence of big data has resulted in a paradigm shift, with increasing use of non traditional data to promote more effective and responsive interventions across various domains. Contributing to the global Data Powered Positive Deviance initiative, Pulse Lab Jakarta conducted data analytics research by merging traditional statistical data with Earth Observation big data to identify potential rice producing villages across Indonesia that might be faring better than others, referred to as positive deviants (PDs). Our team recently wrapped up the pilot study and this post is intended to capture the process that they undertook. …


Author: Lama Ahmad, Project Associate

Illustration by Alfian Maulana Latief/Visual Information Designer, Pulse Lab Jakarta
Illustration by Alfian Maulana Latief/Visual Information Designer, Pulse Lab Jakarta
Illustration by Alfian Maulana Latief/Visual Information Designer/Pulse Lab Jakarta

I joined Pulse Lab Jakarta (PLJ) as a Henry Luce Scholar in September of 2019. I was drawn to PLJ because of the team structure, where a technical data science team works alongside a team that focuses on human-centered design and in depth qualitative user research. My interests are in harnessing the power of technology and big data, while preserving the idea that big data technologists must not lose sight of the people and communities affected by their technological innovations. During my time at the lab, I’ve learned that the development and humanitarian sectors are some of the most critical arenas in which these conversations need to be happening. Harnessing big data technologies has the potential to create unprecedented impact and generate new insights to address a myriad of development challenges. At the same time, big data processes carry risks of exacerbating inequalities, perpetuating stereotypes, and automating biased decision making. …


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To mark the 16 Days of Activism Campaign against Gender-Based Violence, in December 2019 a public discussion was held in Jakarta to share findings from PLJ’s joint After Dark research with UN Women. Anita Nirody, Resident Coordinator of United Nations Indonesia (centre), views an exhibition at the event.

2019 has been a year of transition for Pulse Lab Jakarta. Since its establishment in 2012, Pulse Lab Jakarta has effectively undertaken three main functions: (i) Forging and Leveraging Strategic Partnerships, (ii) Identifying and Combining New Data Sources, and (iii) Contributing to Global and Regional Research Agendas. Taking stock of what has been accomplished, it is exciting to note how PLJ has expanded the sources and types of data analysed, the number of partnerships now in place and the variety of contributions provided to improve research-oriented development outcomes. …


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One of the women-friendly safe zones designed by Gojek to improve the safety of passengers. Photo courtesy of Gojek/ Illustration by Pulse Lab Jakarta

Affirming its commitment to safety, Gojek, one of the leading super apps in Indonesia recently launched an initiative called #AmanBersamaGojek translated as “safe with Gojek”. Under the pillars of technology, protection and education, this initiative seeks to implement key measures to address the needs of customers and service partners. Zona Aman or safe zone represents one of these measures, which adopts recommendations from our human-centered design After Dark research with UN Women on the safety of women travelling at night.

Highlighting the fact that safety goes beyond the adoption of high-tech security measures, these safe zones underscore the importance of fostering a culture of safety in everyday public places. To learn more about how Gojek came across our After Dark research and went about designing this women-friendly intervention, we interviewed Monita Moerdani, Gojek’s Senior Vice President for Transport Marketing. Here she shares with us about some of the main features, the behind-the-scenes support system and how these zones are evolving to cater to different needs amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.


Authors: Mellyana Frederika, Partnerships and Advocacy Lead; and Muhammad Rizal Khaefi, Junior Data Scientist, Pulse Lab Jakarta.

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Motorists observe the traffic light at a busy intersection in Bangkok, Thailand. Photo courtesy of GIZ

As traffic congestion in modern cities becomes more complex and dynamic, continuous streams of data with high spatio-temporal coverage are important for transport planning to better meet the mobility needs of citizens, while safeguarding against possible harms to the environment. Whilst transportation planners in the past have relied on a range of analytical models to provide essential insights, the drawback has been with the infrequency of data from surveys and censuses on which these models depend.

With the growth in digital technologies, there are now emerging opportunities to leverage the data generated to complement existing models and approaches intended to improve transportation systems. Ride-hailing data is a promising example, as its volume and near real-time nature have the potential to inform urban planning as it relates to traffic patterns, as well as social, climate, and environmental concerns. In this blog, we reflect on our exploration thus far in Bangkok, Thailand using Grab’s ride-hailing data and the research partnership we’ve forged.

About

Pulse Lab Jakarta

Accelerating Analytic Partnerships for Development and Humanitarian Action

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