Doing Things Differently: UNFPA Indonesia’s Innovation Day

17 April 2015



Brainstorming: UNFPA Indonesia on 8 April 2015 held an Innovation Day to explore new ways to communicate, share knowledge and work together.


UNFPA Indonesia will be looking to do things differently this year. With both the post-2015 development agenda and the Ninth Country Programme with the Government of Indonesia approaching, now is the time for the Country Office to think outside the box and generate new ideas and solutions for Indonesia’s development.


To give staff the space to brainstorm, UNFPA Indonesia hosted an Innovation Day at the ARMA Museum and Resort in Ubud, Bali, on 8 April 2015.


The initiative was integrated with the Country Office’s yearly retreat programme, and was organised in response to an invitation from UNFPA Headquarters to encourage staff to come up with innovative approaches to their work, as supported by a global Innovation Fund. The objectives of UNFPA Indonesia’s Innovation Day were to explore new and innovative approaches to the Ninth Country Programme, and to come up with innovative ways to communicate, share knowledge and work together.


The UNFPA Indonesia Country Office is fast developing a reputation for innovation. Two proposals for innovative programmes−on the use of big data to study youth issues, and on mobile geo-spatial mapping for better disaster response−have made it to a shortlist for funding from UNFPA Headquarters, and were presented at the Big Data Boot Camp in Barcelona, Spain, last year.


At the recent Innovation Day in Bali, staff members heard about these and other innovative programmes, and discussed new ideas for approaching UNFPA’s mandate in Indonesia.


Mr. Richard Makalew from the Population and Development unit and Mr. Narwawi Pramudhiarta from the Humanitarian Response unit were invited to share with colleagues the outline of their shortlisted innovative programmes, while Mr. Angga Dwi Martha, as the Youth Advocate, shared his ideas for future programmes.


Mr. Daniel Oscar Baskoro, a young leader featured in a book (link: launched by UNFPA Indonesia last year, showcased his award-winning application for disaster mitigation using Google Glass, and talked about the future of technology in driving innovations in this field.


Finally, Ms. Dias Rahwidiati from the UN Global Pulse Lab in Jakarta spoke to the Country Office about the ways in which social media data can be used to complement demographic data for tracking mobility, attitudes and wellbeing. She also hosted a brainstorming session in which participants were invited to approach everyday problems from a variety of different angles in order to find new solutions.


Speaking at the event, UNFPA Indonesia Representative Mr. Jose Ferraris emphasised that while new technology provides a good basis for innovation, not all innovative approaches are necessarily high-tech.


“The goal of innovation is to serve human needs,” Mr. Ferraris said. “Technology can be a useful tool for innovation, but only if it connects with the real agents of innovation: people.”


The Innovation Day was followed by a team-building session in the grounds of the ARMA Museum and Resort, in which staff members worked together to solve a variety of problems using different approaches. The teamwork and problem-solving skills developed at the retreat are hoped to provide the basis for an innovative year ahead as UNFPA Indonesia plans for its next Country Programme and the post-2015 development agenda.