#Doesn’t mean to be an arrogant person by commenting government institution; rather, just wanted to evaluate our institution’s work based on what I’ve learnt.
Indonesia is one of the emerging countries which is said to be the missing additional “I” in the BRICS grouping. Even though it was severely hit by the Asian Financial Crisis 1997, of which the effect lasted until 2003, the new leadership in 2004 has helped Indonesia to gradually recover which then was even praised for weathering the 2008 crisis really well. This writing simply look on how Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI) policy in Indonesia is (especially by looking at Komite Inovasi Nasional’s work) and whether this is sufficient to move the country form lower middle-income status.
In general, many developing country, including Indonesia, has adopted system of innovation approach to design its STI policy, nonetheless the practice usually follows old paradigm and rarely address the core problem (Intarakumnerd & Chaminade, 2011). The policy usually only focuses on increasing resources available for R&D, human resource development, and infrastructure development (i.e. linear model of innovation), while abandoning the importance of cooperation among various actors in the economy. I think this is mainly caused by the government’s assumption that researches from universities and public research institutions will easily be transferred to the private sector. Furthermore, there is usually dichotomy between STI policy and economic policy which means the STI policy was not design as part of industrial policy.
Realising the importance of national innovation system, Indonesian President established National Innovation Committee (Komite Inovasi Nasional) in 2010. This committee was tasked to help president in formulating a planned, integrated, and coordinated national innovation policy under national system of innovation framework.
In 2012, the committee launched 1-747 innovation initiative programmes which consist of several programmes (KIN, 2012):
- 1% of GDP should be used as R&D spending.
- 7 steps to improve innovation ecosystem, these are (1) incentive system and regulation to support innovation; (2) improving quality and flexibility of human resource movement; (3) development of innovation centre to support small-medium scale industry; (4) development of regional innovation cluster; (5) improving researcher innovation system; (6) revitalization of R&D infrastructure; and (7) establishment of system and management of research financing which support innovation.
- 4 industries to accelerate economic growth, these are (1) basic necessity industry; (2) creative industry; (3) local-based industry; and (4) strategic industry, such as defence, transportation, and information and communication technology (ICT).
- 7 vision of Indonesia in 2025, these are (1) increasing the IPR related to economic growth; (2) improving ST infrastructure; (3) achieving food, medicine, energy, and fresh water self-sufficient; (4) doubling creative industry export; (5) increasing core products and value-added in industry; (6) self-sufficient in defence, transportation, and ICT products; and (7) achieving sustainable economic growth.
Based on system-theoretic approach concept, there are several ways to improve the programmes above. First is improving the paradigm. As pointed out by Intarakumnerd & Chaminade (2011), newly established national innovation system in developing countries usually follow old paradigm and rarely address the core problem. Most, if not all, programmes above focus on resource allocation matters, such as remuneration system, R&D infrastructure, research funding, and so on. The programmes should have been focused more on improving the learning process, that is addressing the question how the input (researcher, funding, etc.) could lead to innovative product. Second is by inserting diffusion of technology paradigm. The programmes above does not touch upon diffusion of technology and improving interaction across various actors. Certainly cooperation among firms, universities, and public research institutions is missing in Indonesia. Third, the program should include institutional or governance improvement strategy. Innovation would never be flourished when institutional or governance factors, such corruption, intellectual property right enforcement, custom procedures, overall investment climate, etc. are not fixed.
To conclude, even though Komite Inovasi Nasional is not a policy making body, rather it is (just) an advisory council which advice the president on national innovation policy; it has the strategic position in directing the development of Indonesia’s national innovation system. Thus I hope, it can move from old paradigm and embrace the ‘successful’ example of national innovation system in various developed countries. One thing is quite clear here, the committee members should read the latest research on innovation policy more =).
Intarakumnerd, P. & Chaminade, C., 2011. Innovation policies in Thailand: towards a system of innovation approach. Asia Pacific Business Review, 17(2), pp. 241-256.