Opportunities for Indonesian policymakers
Commitment to innovation within the public sector
After restructuring several ministries and establishing the Directorate General Strengthening Innovation, President Jokowi’s administration has targeted the development and use of 100 Science and Techno Parks (later reduced to 66). These parks are intended to be bridges between higher education institutions doing research and industry, and are expected to improve technological commercialisation by allowing spin-offs and start-ups to emerge from university research.
Under the initiative Centres of Excellence of Ristekdikti, 78 institutions (as of 2017) benefited from strategic support in order to increase sourcing and deployment of technologies, R&D activities, and dissemination capacity.
Taking steps to facilitate innovation
There are several areas in which Indonesia has facilitated an environment prone to innovation: optimised regulation (climbing from 120th in 2014 to 73rd in 2018, in Ease of Doing Business, out of 190 economies); trade links with Japan and the United States are healthy; those with regional neighbours and China are improving; and the contribution of Total Factor Productivity to output growth has also been improved.
Good political will to govern knowledge assets
Although knowledge governance is still lacking and the number of patents and articles cited in indices such as Scopus is rather low, new regulation is designed to address this (Law No. 13/2016). This includes the introduction of online filing, and extending the scope of what is defined as a ‘simple patent’. This regulation is also designed to protect traditional knowledge.
Efforts to resolve lack of indicators and evidence underpinning innovation policy
The Centre of Data and Information for Science, Technology, and Higher Education (set up within Ristekdikti) is seeking to quantify what success means in relation to Indonesia’s strategic goals. This unit will integrate all the relevant data in science, technology, and higher education in order to quantify progress.
Opportunities in start up and digital and creative economy
The entrepreneurship and startup climate is improving and boosting the digital and creative economy. E-commerce, applications and game development, craft, or fashion are some of the powerhouses of growth in the digital and creative economy.
There is a wealth of public programmes to support entrepreneurs, startups and small businesses, but these efforts could be streamlined and coordinated far more effectively. This presents a huge opportunity to harness the fact that SMEs account for nearly 97 per cent of domestic employment and 56 per cent of total business investment.
Opportunities in higher education
Indonesia is not a frontrunner in the higher education sector in South East Asia, but there is plenty of scope for the country to provide high quality training and facilities and become a top-tier higher education destination.
The Indonesian government in the past years have been focused on revamping its higher education sector, both to provide better education and keep pace with global competition in the sector. A greater proportion of the population is enrolled in tertiary education; women especially have seen a significant increase in this respect (climbing from 14 per cent in 2012, to 25 per cent in 2017).