How we measure the impact of our work is an important and ongoing discussion at the Lab, including between us and our government and development partners. In a recent blog, we described three contributions we’ve made towards positive change in the data ecosystem in Indonesia and the wider Asia Pacific region. In preference to categorising them as direct impact in the common sense of quantitative measurements and predefined rubrics, we’ve carefully interpreted them as meaningful contributions.
As part of the process of assessing these contributions, we invited an external evaluation team to produce Stories of Change, which is a thorough chronology and extensive first-hand testimony about a couple of our data analytics projects based on numerous interviews and analysis on a range of related results.
Initially developed for PLJ’s team own internal reflection, the Stories document how two initiatives we’ve contributed to were developed; how they are being used by our government or development partners; what kind of behaviour or policy change they’ve enabled; and the factors involved in helping or hindering progress. The reflection on a broader scale is intended to help us identify what worked, what didn’t, and — most importantly — what we should be doing differently.
In this blog, we share our reflection on Haze Gazer and VAMPIRE which we’ve developed alongside our development partners and have since been adopted by the Indonesian Government:
Haze Gazer — a crisis analysis and visualisation tool to track and manage the impact of fire and haze events.
VAMPIRE — an integrated map-based visualisation tool to track the impact of drought for vulnerable populations.
Discussed more thoroughly in these Stories of Change, the Executive Office of the President adopted both of these platforms as key building blocks in developing the architecture for its Early Warning System, which is now a cyber centerpiece of the President’s Situation Room. Our team at the Lab has learned from and scaled these prototypes, including in developing multi-disaster platforms and tools for better monitoring of air quality; and through VAMPIRE, PLJ has supported the World Food Programme’s (WFP) ability to integrate and promote data innovation. ~ Operational Impact
Haze Gazer and VAMPIRE most vividly represent tailored and relevant applications of data science — and provide important lessons from the hits and misses in experimentation along the way. These tools have contributed to richer and more real-time data being used by the Government of Indonesia for emergency monitoring, planning, response and evaluation related to haze and food security. ~ Methodological Impact
In addition, through collaboration on VAMPIRE, PLJ has benefited from The World Food Programme (WFP) technical collaboration and also supported WFP Indonesia’s ability to integrate and promote data innovation. ~ Ecosystem Impact
But as anyone working on new tools and innovations for development would know, the showcase of the final prototype is often on the smoother side of things. We’ve decided to share our frank and genuine Stories of Change reflection on Haze Gazer and VAMPIRE in all its glory, especially for our colleagues operating in this space. The Stories are intended to share the lessons we have learned while working with new data sources and collaborating with partners from different sectors, to inspire collaboration among other diverse stakeholders in the ecosystem and to point out the importance of having a dedicated team and motivated partners for developing and scaling data-driven innovations prototypes once they’re ready.
Drop us a line if you have questions about any of these tools or just want to have a chat about the innovation and development process.
Pulse Lab Jakarta is grateful for the generous support from the Government of Australia.