Data Innovation for a More Responsive Bandung City Government
By Mellyana Frederika
Bandung Government is a pioneer among cities in Indonesia. The first to create a command center, established in 2015, equipped with multiple dashboards to visualize data from the various departments, allowing senior decision-makers to monitor public services and the pulse of the city. It also has open data ambitions, such as the recent publication of its budget, in an effort to be more transparent and accountable.
To improve its data analytics and in order to formulate data-driven policy, the Department of Communication and Informatics is evolving from a public-relations office into a data agency. This requires not only changes in the organisational structure but also to culture and skills.
Pulse Lab Jakarta, HIVOS and Data Science Indonesia teamed up with Bandung City Government to help with these ambitious reforms and to harness data to address some of the policy challenges in Bandung. Each organisation is bringing a different perspective and expertise to the table, a combination of open data and data science and UX insights.
To kick-off, we ran a Data Innovation Clinic on 9–10 May 2017, with participants from the Department of Communication and Informatics (DISKOMINFO) and the Agency of Planning, Research and Development (BAPELITBANG). Our toolkit: A Guide to Data Innovation for Development helped to structure the workshop. We also used the lessons from our previous clinic, adapted the toolkit into Bahasa Indonesia, and prepared case studies based on prior consultations with the Bandung City staff.
We worked with a small group of people with diverse experience: from a person with more than ten years’ experience in the city’s administration to a person with only ten days’ experience. In addition, some of the staff have been working for the City for years, but were recently transfered to the Agency of Planning, Research and Development. This created an interesting dynamic among the participants, with some possessing imposter syndrome, thinking their knowledge is not sufficient to participate. The facilitators played an important role in encouraging everyone to contribute and in teasing out insights. New staff brought perspectives and experience from outside of government; senior staff shared their deep institutional knowledge.
We used the problem definition tool and the problem solver’s workflow to define problems and map stakeholders who could help address the issue. The tools are generic and easy to understand, and we introduced flash cards which summarise examples of existing datasets and new data sources to help participants map assets. Pre-workshop meetings also helped us to scope the challenges and be more prepared to facilitate.
(Political) Commitment is Key
We witnessed a strong commitment from DISKOMINFO, from top to bottom. A multi-level commitment should ensure project implementation, which will need both the involvement of decision-makers and technical staff.
Code4Bandung facilitated this entire collaboration. Pulse Lab Jakarta, HIVOS and Data Science Indonesia, each has its own approach to data innovation but all of us believe in merging our expertise and resources for better results. We are also open to other collaborators in this initiative.
The participants came up with three research questions related to traffic management and floods. Now we are entering the project conception stage, in which we have to ensure that the result of the clinic is concrete steps and new insights. It is also the time for consultation with the technical departments to check the assumptions which emerged during the clinic. We will keep you updated.
Pulse Lab Jakarta is grateful for the generous support of the Government of Australia.