Connectivity for All
    Category: Column By : Hermawan Kartajaya Read : 952 Date : Monday, June 09, 2014 - 07:53:12

    In May, I wrapped up the second annual Jakarta Marketing Week (JMW) 2014. The full-day, weeklong program was held in a shopping mall with free admission because I wanted all marketing enthusiasts to participate. The event combined various business topics with those on government, arts, sports, music, communities and also politics. But one major theme stood out: connectivity. The JMW was proof that Indonesians like to connect. The event, in fact, was a platform to connect people from various backgrounds to share inspiration.

    One of the key highlights of the event was the second annual Indonesia Digital Society Award (IDSA) 2014, supported by Telkom Indonesia and MarkPlus. Telkom’s Chief Executive AriefYahya initiated the project to acknowledge those local authorities that contributed to improving online connectivity.

    This year, the winners were Surabaya in the city category and Sleman in the regency category. Surabaya under the leadership of Mayor Tri Rismaharini, for example, introduced the online sapawarga platform where people can report to and connect directly with the mayor about the city’s daily problems. Online connectivity can also be applied in small businesses. The regent of Sleman, Sri Purnomo, pushed for better e-marketing for small businesses.

    Government initiatives are important but not enough. Connectivity is driven by three forces: the governments, communities and citizens. We also need strong adoption by the communities and citizens. While I believe the local governments are doing their best to provide infrastructure, it is essentially the people’s desire to connect that is becoming the key driver. Therefore, IDSA 2014 also acknowledged Banda Aceh and Banyuwangi as the best in the society involvement category to enhance connectivity.

    Highly horizontal, inclusive, and social, Indonesians consider connectivity as a basic need. The MarkPlus Consumer Panel, which monitors a sample of 20,000 households in 18 cities, confirmed that half of all Indonesian consumers are using some forms of social media, from Facebook and Twitter to messaging app. One of five Indonesians is also active in some form of offline communities. Indonesians love to talk or simply chat on their phones. They also love to hang out with family and friends in malls and coffee shops.

    To cater to this strong desire, governments must push hard for infrastructure development. Bandung Mayor RidwanKamil, whom I met recently, shared the same view. The mayor was planning to drive the development of around 150 mobile applications for public services. He believed that when public administration is done entirely online, Bandung would become a smart city. He also planned to design and build an Operation Room, somewhat similar to the President’s Situation Room. Ridwan envisioned that the room would be able to digitally monitor Bandung. He thought of a room like Star Trek’s command center but with all the staffs wearing Bandung cultural attributes. When the citizens are creative, governments must be creative too. Governments must proactively find ways to increase the adoption of technology. Only then, the connectivity for all is no longer a dream.