2016 Indonesia Update

Digital Indonesia: challenges and opportunities of the digital revolution

16-17 September

MO16258-N Indonesia Update (Feature) v1

16-17 September 2016

Coombs Lecture Theatre, H C Coombs Building #9, corner Fellows Road and Garran Road, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 2601


It is widely believed that we are in the middle of a technological revolution. The dynamic capacity of the internet to connect and transmit information—as well as the evolving nature of devices and infrastructures, owing to digitalisation—has seen new technologies bring rapid change to many parts of the world, including Southeast Asia. Unfortunately, much of the scholarship and debate surrounding the impact of digital technologies remains highly Western-centric.

In Indonesia, digital platforms have been used to organise mass rallies, assist with election monitoring, and generally provide a space for greater freedom of opinion and expression on a variety of issues and events. Digitalisation has impacted the media industry, banks, polling institutes, terrorism networks, disaster relief and city planners, as well as education, employment, political activism, artistic production and much more.

President Jokowi himself recently promoted Indonesia’s capacity for investment in the digital economy during his visit to the White House. Yet digitalisation has seen existing business models thrown into disarray through what scholars describe as ‘disruptive technologies’. But what exactly is the digital economy, and can it live up to its promise? What challenges and opportunities does digitalisation bring to Indonesian governance, politics, policy, culture and society more broadly? How can Indonesia bridge the ‘digital divide’?

The 2016 Indonesia Update addresses these and other urgent questions surrounding ‘digital Indonesia’. It includes experts from Australia, Indonesia and around the world, from a range of disciplines, who are researching the impacts of digital technologies. It also includes speakers who are actively involved in developing new digital platforms in Indonesia.

The conference is free of charge

Conference convenors

Ross Tapsell
School of Culture, History and Language

Edwin Jurriens
The University of Melbourne
Email: Edwin.jurriens@unimelb.edu.au

Conference administrator

Indonesia Project
The Arndt-Corden Department of Economics
ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
Canberra ACT 2601

P: 61 2 6125 3794
F: 61 2 6125 3700



See the speakers’ profiles and videos of Digital Indonesia at New Mandala.

Read the blog for a complete summary of Indonesia Update, Day 1 and Day 2.

Read our coverage of Indonesia Mini Update at Lowy Institute for International Policy, Digital Indonesia at Asia Research Centre, Murdoch University and our discussion with Indonesian digital start-ups.

See the photos taken by our volunteers on ANU Indonesia Project’s facebook page.

Information on previous Indonesia Updates is available on our website.



Media coverage

Indonesia’s digital art is breaking new boundaries as well as tackling important issues in society, writes Edwin Jurriens. Read more: The rise of Indonesian digital art, APPS Policy Forum.

“The two most defining trends facing our current generation of young Australian are the rise of Asia as an economic power, and the digital revolution. This calls for two urgent types of literacy: Asia literacy and digital literacy. Australia has long seen China, Japan and Korea as places of technological innovation, but less is known about how the enormous trends of the internet affect our nearest neighbours, Indonesia.” Read more: New technology may bring Australia and Indonesia closer by The Sydney Morning Herald.

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo is now a fluent player in the game of patronage politics after successfully consolidating power just two years into office. The former mayor of Surakarta and governor of Jakarta has even gone so far as to bring back “developmentalism” governance, which dominated Indonesian politics for three decades during the New Order era. This analysis was delivered by Australian National University (ANU) researcher Eve Warburton during the 2016 ANU Indonesia Update in Canberra on Sept. 16. NEWS ANALYSIS: The President and ‘new developmentalism’ by The Jakarta Post.

Trade protection policies in Indonesia are disrupting the manufacturing growth, reducing trade and will ultimately backfire Indonesia’s efforts in poverty alleviation, according to Günther Schulze during the Indonesia Update 2016 in Canberra. Indonesia’s protectionism complicates poverty alleviation: Expert by The Jakarta Post.

Two speakers at the 2016 Indonesia Update, Yanuar Nugroho and Michele Ford, discuss aspects of e-governance and digital disruption in Indonesia. Digital Indonesia by SBS.

As Indonesia becomes an increasingly digital nation, what does that mean for the population, the government, the economy, the media and even art? Ross Tapsell, convenor of the Digital Indonesia conference at The Australian National University, joins Hamish Macdonald on RN Breakfast. The rise of technology in Indonesia by ABC Radio National.

Indonesian political analyst Eve Warburton told The Australian National University’s recent Indonesia Update conference that Jokowi was positioning himself to make infrastructure construction his main campaign theme for re-election in 2019. Business divided on the state of ASEAN infrastructure improvements by the Australian Financial Review.

The Australian National University annual Indonesia Update conference this year focused on how the country is developing an ecommerce sector and starting to attract external investment for digital business ideas. Bali a new IT hotspot as innovation takes hold by the Australian Financial Review.

“The president has consolidated his political power, he has a formidable governing coalition now in the parliament with 69% of the seats, and the Red and White coalition, the opposition, looks to be in tatters and no longer a serious threat,” Warburton told the ANU’s annual Indonesia conference in September. Hamish McDonald — Indonesia’s Widodo, a maverick no longer in Nikkei Asian Review .

This time last year, most analysts saw Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) as weak and overwhelmed by the challenges of national politics. Now, after two years in the job, he is viewed as the undisputed ‘boss’ of his administration. Over the course of the year, Jokowi expanded his governing coalition in parliament, left opposition forces in tatters and asserted his authority over a fractious cabinet. The question now is not whether Jokowi can consolidate political power, but what he want to do with it. What does Jokowi want for the Indonesian economy? by Eve Warburton for the East Asia Forum.




Presentations and videos

View full program.



Presenter: Eve Warburton (ANU), Discussant: Bayu Dardias (ANU), Chair: Greg Fealy (ANU).

Download slides by Eve Warburton, Bayu Dardias.


Presenter: Gunther Schulze (University of Freiburg), Discussant: Muhamad Chatib Basri (University of Indonesia), Chair: Paul Burke (ANU).

Download slides by Gunther Schulze, M Chatib Basri.


Presenters: Yanuar Nugroho (Executive Office of the President of the Republic of Indonesia), Ainun Najib (Kawal Pemilu) via video recording, John Postill (RMIT University). Chair: Edward Aspinall (ANU).

Download slides by Yanuar Nugroho, John Postill.


Presenters: Emma Baulch (Queensland University of Technology), Onno W Purbo (Surya University), Diastika Rahwidiati (Pulse Lab Jakarta). Chair: Eleanor Lawson (Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade).

Download slides by Emma Baulch, Onno Purbo, Diastika Rahwidiati.


Martin Slama (Austrian Academy of Sciences), Kathleen Azali (ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute), Edwin Jurriens (University of Melbourne)

Download slides by Martin Slama, Kathleen Azali, Edwin Jurriens.




Presenters: Mari Pangestu (University of Indonesia), Bede Moore (founder of Lazada Indonesia), Michele Ford (University of Sydney). Chair: Stephen Howes (ANU).

Download slides by Mari Pangestu, Bede Moore, Michele Ford.


Presenters: Ross Tapsell (ANU), Usman Hamid (ANU). Chair: Marcus Mietzner (ANU).

Download slides by Ross Tapsell, Usman Hamid.


Presenter: Budi Rahardjo, Chair: Ken Setiawan (University of Melbourne)

Download slides by Budi Rahardjo.


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