Innovating for Impact: Collaborative Journey with the Government of Indonesia to Transform Public Services

A group of civil servants holding a book of action plans for accelerating the Human Development Index (HDI) in West Kalimantan Province for the years 2023-2025
Caption: From left to right, the Regent of Sumba Barat Daya, Regent of Belu, Acting Governor of East Nusa Tenggara, and Regent of Sumba Timur during 2023 IGA event.
Caption: From left to right, the Regent of Sumba Barat Daya, Regent of Belu, Acting Governor of East Nusa Tenggara, and Regent of Sumba Timur during 2023 IGA event.

USAID ERAT’s proactive collaboration with the Government of Indonesia reflects an effort to foster innovation in public services. While various central government ministries have championed public service innovations since 2014, the knowledge surrounding these advancements has not been effectively managed. This hinders subnational governments and service providers from learning, adapting, and adopting these innovations. To address this challenge, USAID ERAT initiated a comprehensive three-prong approach in 2022 to enhance the innovative ecosystem. 

The first focus of USAID ERAT’s strategy was to elevate national innovation knowledge management. Nearly 3,000 innovations identified by three central government ministries – the Ministry of Administrative and Bureaucracy Reform (KEMENPAN-RB), the Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA), and the State Administration Institute (LAN) – underwent careful curation, structuring, and publication on a unified online platform. This platform serves as a valuable resource, accessible through an e-learning platform, enabling others to learn from and replicate successful innovations. 

In parallel, USAID ERAT sought to empower provincial governments in championing local innovations. Web-based innovation platforms were established in key provinces where ERAT works, including North Sumatra, Banten, West Kalimantan, and East Nusa Tenggara. These platforms facilitated innovation competitions and the sharing of existing successful initiatives, fostering a collaborative environment for the development and implementation of impactful solutions. 

The third element of USAID ERAT’s approach involved facilitating peer-to-peer learning to replicate and scale up innovations, particularly in addressing crucial development challenges. For instance, peer-to-peer learning activities in Banten province resulted in the development of ten innovations in the education and health sectors, drawing insights from successful practices in other provinces. These efforts produced tangible outcomes, such as the reintegration of 28 out-of-school children into schools in Kota Serang. 

USAID ERAT’s commitment to promoting innovation in public services did not go unnoticed. On December 12, 2023, the efforts received national recognition through the prestigious Innovative Government Award (IGA) organized by MOHA. Entries are assessed based on the Local Innovation Index, which requires local governments to submit reports detailing innovations in governance, public services, and other sectors. Evaluation criteria include quantity, quality, and impact, resulting in categorizations such as “Very Innovative”, “Innovative”, and “Less Innovative”. The award honored the outstanding contributions of three provinces, two cities, and five regencies supported by USAID ERAT that actively supported and implemented the recognized innovations. 

In the provincial category, East Java and East Nusa Tenggara provinces stand out, securing spots among the seven most innovative provinces out of the total of 38 provinces. South Sulawesi Province has not only demonstrated outstanding innovation within the Kalimantan and Sulawesi regions but has also claimed the top score. In the district category, Banyuwangi in East Java earned the third position among 415 districts, while Blitar and Sidoarjo, also in East Java, earned well-deserved recognition as “Very Innovative.” Among the 93 cities, Kota Makassar in South Sulawesi proudly secured the seventh position as the “Most Innovative,” and Kota Tangerang was acknowledged as “Very Innovative.” Notably, Belu and Sumba Timur in East Nusa Tenggara received recognition among the five most innovative districts in the underdeveloped region category. Continuous support from USAID ERAT has played a pivotal role in assisting these governments in implementing innovative public service initiatives through various peer-to-peer learning events. 

While East Java has been consistently leading in IGA, this year marks East Nusa Tenggara’s inaugural achievement of the “Very Innovative” status. This significant milestone is largely attributed to the support provided by USAID ERAT to the provincial government. Notably, USAID ERAT facilitated the province’s inaugural innovation competition in 2022 and played a crucial role in establishing the provincial innovation hub, “Lopo Inovasi Flobamorata,” which was successfully launched in November 2023. This acknowledgment highlights the transformative impact of USAID ERAT’s initiatives in shaping a more innovative and effective public service landscape in Indonesia.

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