How do you use technology to improve citizens’ lives? Tell us about your role or organisation.

Open Government Indonesia (OGI) is a secretariat set up by the Government of Indonesia to help promote, facilitate and push for greater and more open government initiatives in the country.
At the same time, we are also preparing and educating the public on how they can contribute to decision making processes and what are the available platforms.

Although we are a democratic and open country, the bureaucracy is not used to that. So, we are in the process, and I think we are still continuing to make both entities accustomed to be to working together.

We use our website and social media to make sure that the good work we are doing in Indonesia is being promoted, consolidated and crystallized. The thing is in Indonesia, there are so many islands of openness, but there is yet to be one entity that bring everything together. That’s what OGI is trying to do.

At the same time, we think technology shouldn’t be overrated. Technology shouldn’t be the only means to solve everything. It’s actually the business process behind it, the rationale and the understanding of people which leads to a functioning and effective government. Technology is just a facilitator, a catalysator, a tool to help become more effective. So in a way, that’s why it’s not all about technology.

What has been the most exciting thing that you worked on in 2017?

So many things! Producing the first National Action Plan of the Government of Indonesia in a participatory way. It’s an exciting and challenging task for us.

And also the actual implementation the the plan, including how we are monitoring the implementation. The secretariat is playing instrumental role and coming up with what’s the most effective, comfortable, easy to use mechanism for both government and public to be part of the action plan itself. We are trying to ensure that both government and public can see and have a chance to review what we have been producing, whether it is actually working, what the gaps are and how do we fill the gap.

The One Data initiative is one of the key actions in this plan. We are hoping the presidential regulation will be out soon so that the country would have finally a standard that regulates how data governance works across all government agencies, central and local.

The One Data initiative isn’t just about some cool technology. It’s about helping government make decisions and policies based on evidence and facts, based on accurate, credible, verified data, which is currently absent and lacking in the government.

What tool or technique particularly interests you for 2018?

I think two things. One is we look forward to having the One Data initiative approved by the president and subsequently being materialised, bit by bit.

Second is that Government of Indonesia is also working on the e-government processes. Similar to the One Data initiative, we are also currently working on a president regulation that would become the umbrella of our e-governance, including planning, budgeting, procuring, evaluating and auditing. So at the end of the day, the president regulation we hope will become the umbrella of end to end cycle of e-government.

If you were to share one piece of advice that you learned in 2017, what would it be?

I think a working government or innovative government simply is a responsive government; a government that listens to the people’s needs, acts on it, and follows up on it, and is accountable to it.

Listen to your people, act on it, make yourself responsible. It’s not about what tools you use; it’s about the commitment of government officials that the citizens is your king, is your constituent. You are responsible to them; you are not responsible to your president; you are not responsible to your minister; you are responsible to the people. It’s the people’s needs that should drive your commitment and what policy you make.

What was the greatest challenge that you overcame in 2017?

Setting up the OGI secretariat itself, and setting its mission and vision. This included planning how the secretariat adds value to whatever we have planned, and making sure that whatever we have now is being carried forward. It has been challenging the foundation of an OGI secretariat, making ourselves heard and known by people.

Who inspired you in 2017, and why?

Suyoto Ngartep Mustajab, the Regent of the Regency of Bojonegoro and former Jakarta Governor Ahok.

Suyoto is a politician, but he definitely knows what public service means and he is actually doing that.

Ahok – I am not sure whether he is a politician or not – but he is a true picture of a public servant. He knows what an effective government means, that your people are your king, you just have to listen to them, you just have to work on it, and you just have to solve it. If we don’t have people like that, that’s a problem.