How Innovation Is Reshaping Indonesia in the 21st Century

IEF founder Shoeb Kagda opens the second day of the 3rd annual meeting of the Indonesia Economic Forum (IEF) at the Shangri-La Hotel Jakarta on November 15, 2016. (Photo by Jurnasyanto Sukarno/IEF)

The world is going through monumental changes and at the heart of it is innovation in various sectors, business leaders and policymakers heard at the opening of the second day of the 3rd annual meeting of the Indonesia Economic Forum (IEF) at the Shangri-La Hotel Jakarta on November 15, 2016.

“We are also seeing huge innovations in more traditional sectors, such as transportation, infrastructure development, geo-spatial mapping, manufacturing and retail,” IEF founder Shoeb Kagda said during his opening speech.

There is also innovation in politics, which offered new mindsets and paradigms, championed by the likes of Donald Trump in the United States, Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines and Joko “Jokowi” Widodo in Indonesia, he added.

“What is the common thread linking these three leaders? I call it political innovation,” Shoeb said.

He added that each man took a different path and non-traditional mindset to the presidency, compared to more traditional politicians.

In the early part of the 21st century, people are witnessing status quos being disrupted, creating bold and huge opportunities and oftentimes undermining the established order. This means people from all walks of life – politicians, business people, academics, think tanks, consumers – all have to reset their assumptions. 

“The question for Indonesia is what role does it play in this new world order? Would it contribute new ideas and innovations, new technologies, or are we just going to be consumers of what the rest of the world produces?” Shoeb asked.  

Indonesia’s economy has been reshaped by the emergence of new innovations such as digital healthcare, financial technology, entertainment as well as those in the traditional sectors such as transportation, infrastructure development, geospatial mapping and retail.

The IEF has also joined the innovation bandwagon in the way the forum is organized.

Shoeb said IEF believes in the co-creation of content by engaging its partners in terms of defining the agenda throughout the year, and not just for the two-day forum, by testing ideas generated on its various social media platforms.

This was also the approach used to reach out to a much broader audience out there, while having the forum inside a hotel auditorium.

“This really is the new paradigm,” Shoeb said.