Open Data + Innovation: Making cities work for citizens

How can open data improve citizens’ lives in Indonesian cities?

This is the question we keep asking as we embark on our “Innovating for Open Cities” project, supported by Making All Voices Count. We’re developing and testing open data-driven, citizen-centric solutions at the local level, working with selected like-minded innovators who share our belief in the power of open data to build more inclusive, open, and sustainable cities.


A significant component of the project is our incubation programme, where we support the development of innovative solutions using open data. So how exactly do we incubate, cultivate innovative solutions, and also bring in open data to this equation? We seek out initiatives that are innovative, and already backed by amazing people working behind them. Then we provide customised training and mentoring, network-building, and modest funding to selected projects.

We started by identifying individuals and organisations with ‘early-stage innovative solutions’ – ideas practically implemented in the field – that tackle problems beginning with the cities of Jakarta and Banda Aceh. Good ideas are everywhere—and often inexpensive to come up with, at least so long as there’s no actual, practical implementation yet.

With this in mind, we were more interested in implementing, refining, and scaling good, existing, and already well-planned ideas, rather than starting from scratch. This assessment process was then followed by more research on these solutions to find a good match with our project’s focus, not only in terms of the scope and objectives, but also in terms of chemistry with the people and common ground for collaboration. After all, chemistry is key for collaboration!

Now, we’re proud to say we’ve found our perfect partners! During the Open Cities Summit, through a poster presentation and sharing session, we will further introduce our three selected incubatees:

  1. International Centre for Aceh and Indian Ocean Studies (ICAIOS)
    ICAIOS is working on a project called “Kota Tanyoe”, which aims to solve the lack of interaction and communication between the citizens and the city government in Banda Aceh, particularly in the sector of urban and city planning. This issue has specifically caused a crucial mismatch between what citizens need versus what the city government is planning and building.
    The lack of interaction also causes serious a lack of understanding of the government officials of the “gampong” (city districts) potential, thus hindering them from harnessing the full potential of Banda Aceh’s gampong. Kota Tanyoe is a platform that brings together the citizens and city government officials to identify and collect data of the gampong’s potential, followed by them collaboratively planning the development of gampong based on the collected data. The data will be made available through an open data portal, After all these, ICAIOS will engage with the citizens for them to be involved in monitoring and evaluating the status of the agreed city development. The main target beneficiaries of the project are the citizens and the city government of Banda Aceh, who will use citizen input for urban planning.
  2. Perkumpulan Skala
    Skala is working on a project called “JKT Safe City”, which aims to solve the problem of lack of awareness of potential hazards caused by disasters and what to do when faced with one, e.g. floods, earthquake, and spreading fire, in Jakarta. JKT Safe City will focus on strengthening the role and capacity of youth communities to act as leading agents in providing data-based advocacy and disaster management campaigns to citizens. Their efforts will be based on the data provided by the National Board for Disaster Management and the Board for Meteorology Climatology and Geophysics, and their main target beneficiaries would be the residents of Jakarta, especially the youth population. Their main product – a web portal embedded to the existing one -, data, and other advocacy products will be displayed in open formats through the portal.
  3. Puja Pramudya
    Puja is working on an innovative solution called “DARU”, which aims to solve the lack of coordination and planning during firefighting, particularly at the time of fire extinguishing, which results in more casualties in Jakarta. DARU is a mobile application that supports the command center system of the Jakarta Fire Department for better planning and coordination of the mobilisation of fire trucks. It will use open data from the department, including the location mapping of fire hydrants, fire trucks, fire-prone areas, and more. The main target beneficiaries of the project are the Jakarta Fire Department in the short term, and the city’s citizens in the long term.

We will be busy testing and developing these solutions with our partners until the end of January 2017. To learn more about the project, get in touch with Antya Widita at or @AntyaWidita on Twitter. We will also be attending the Open Cities Summit and International Open Data Conference 2016 in Madrid, Spain, from 5 to7 October 2016 and talking more about this “Innovating for Open Cities” project, so if you’re around – let’s meet up!

For more updates on the Web Foundation’s Open Data Lab Jakarta, follow us @ODLabJkt.

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