Introducing Colloqumotion: A Series of Learning Talks on Development Issues

M. Bijaksana Junerosano, Head of Greeneration Indonesia, speaking at the first Colloqumotion event.

The success and popularity of TED-style talks, lightning talks, one-minute social media videos and the likes, have changed the rules of engaging with public sector audiences — especially on development topics and related insights that at times get buried in reams of printed reports. This month, Pulse Lab Jakarta kicked off its inaugural series of Colloqumotion, a monthly sharing session organised for the United Nations team in Indonesia. Exploring Big Data for sustainable development, this series features academics, analysts and a host of domain experts interested in development issues, data science, human intelligence, as well as their crossovers.

Every month a different speaker is invited to share about how new types of data sources can help to address and tackle issues related to his/her selected topic of interest and expertise. Parting from the monologue-style of discourse at development conferences in the past, Colloqumotion encourages a two-way exchange of knowledge and learning with an open dialogue between the speakers and attendees.

In addition to amplifying and building understanding about existing issues, initiatives and opportunities related to areas of development, this series of learning talks also aims to serve as a capacity building mechanism for UN staff; a channel for continuous engagement on development issues among stakeholders; and a kind of brainstorming whiteboard for the UN Country Team and its partners.

The first talk in the series, “Monitoring Your Garbage with Big Data” was well-attended on January 15th. Mohamad Bijaksana Junerosano, the head of Greeneration Indonesia, set the tone for the discussion by emphasising the importance and need for an effective waste management system in Indonesia.

While underscoring the problem of improper waste disposal throughout communities and cities across the country, notably residents’ tendency to dump their garbage in nearby rivers, Junerosano cited that 81 per cent of garbage in Indonesia is unsorted; 10 per cent is sorted but will end up being mixed again; while only 9 per cent is sorted and reused according to Badan Pusat Statistik, Indonesia’s statistics agency.

Based on these official figures and trends identified by his organisation, Junerosano argued the need for a holistic, integrated waste management infrastructure, which would among other facets, trigger behavioral change within communities.

“At the moment, the majority of people still see garbage as garbage as opposed to something that can be reused or recycled,” he explained.

Indonesia is currently the second largest plastic polluter to the ocean, which poses a threat to the coral reef ecosystems and wider marine biodiversity. At the 2017 World Oceans Summit in Bali, the Indonesian Government pledged up to one billion USD a year towards reducing its marine waste by 70 per cent, targeted for 2025. To achieve this result, the Government needs to identify and explore intersections between Big Data and waste management and look into how emerging technologies and data sources may help to address waste management issues.

In Songdo, South Korea for instance, the city is already using Big Data to support its waste management efforts. Known for its forward-thinking Smart City initiatives, residents there can use chip cards to dispose of their garbage (allowing the Government to collect information on the location, the time as well as the quantity), and sensors are placed in receptacles to measure different data on the contents. These approaches have been useful for determining optimum times for garbage disposal and designing effective routes for waste collection vehicles.

In his post-event interview, Junerosano reiterated some of the main points from his talk, and suggested ways that members of the Indonesian society can contribute to the Government’s goal.

In line with the Lab’s ecosystem catalyst focus, Colloqumotion hopes to promote collaboration among researchers, academics and analysts from both the public and private sectors. The next speakers in the series will share on diverse topics, ranging from data privacy and cyber security to non-communicable diseases and urban health.

At the next Colloqumotion event, scheduled for February 15th, Professor Sinta Dewi from Universitas Padjajaran will facilitate a dialogue on data privacy and law within the context of developing countries’ legal frameworks, with an emphasis on the Indonesian perspective.

The complete 2018 Colloqumotion schedule is available below.

Staff from the UN in Indonesia who are interested in joining us at the event may RSVP via bit.ly/colloqumotion. A brief post-event interview with each invited speaker will also be available on our social media channels for the general public. For updates and more on the Colloqumotion series, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn: @pulselabjakarta.


Pulse Lab Jakarta is grateful for the generous support from the Government of Australia.