by Ramadian Nugrahane
“To be blessed with an abundance of natural resources can be a curse. Some resource-rich local governments in Indonesia have not seen the need to be creative and innovate to develop their regions. Innovation is a crucial element to boost sustainable development. We must also not forget that local wisdoms play important role in leveraging regional innovation.” said Dr Bambang Brodjonegoro, the Minister of National Development Planning in his opening remarks at the KSI-supported National Seminar on “Innovative Development, Creative Leaders and Competitive Regions”, held in Jakarta on 11 January 2017.
Minister Brodjonegoro emphasized the need for local governments to be creative and innovative in addressing and solving their own unique problems and advancing regional development. “It is fair to ask assistance from the national government, but the local governments should not rely solely on programs and budget appropriation from the central government,” he said. He illustrated examples how several creative-minded heads of regional governments such as Banyuwangi and Bandung have turned to innovation and partnerships with civil society organizations, donors and private sectors to promote local These local governments utilise local wisdoms and local characteristics effectively for creating innovative planning and programs, such as Smart City in Bandung and Smart Kampung in Banyuwangi.
Bapak Arifin Rudiyanto, the Deputy of Regional Development at Bappenas presented the results of Bappenas’ study "Analysis of Innovation Policies by Local Governments to Support Regional Development" conducted in 2016 in four provinces and eight subnational governments. The findings concluded that a number of factors are decisive in successful regional innovation for development, including creative leadership, the capacity of government officials, community participation and effective implementation of national regulations. Pak Rudiyanto concluded that “the inhibiting factors of regional innovation include the lack of legal certainty about innovation to ensure the sustainability of regional innovation, policies across stakeholders are still partial, and innovative policies which are not integrated into the planning and budgeting documents."
The seminar featured several local leaders well-known for their innovations: Bapak Abdullah Azwar Anas, Bupati of Banyuwangi, Bapak Mohammad Ramdhan Pomanto, Mayor of Makassar, and Bakap Denny Juanda Puradimadja, Assistant to the Provincial Secretariat of West Java, who highlighted successful innovations developed and implemented in their regions, with that national government being represented by Ombudsman Commissioner Bapak Laode Ida and Bapak Arifin Rudiyanto from Bappenas.
The discussion raised ideas and policy inputs for improved implementation of regional innovation. The local leaders complained about the lack of regulatory support from the national government. Another challenge is how such innovative practices can be promoted to other regions, in particular to less developed and disadvantaged regions. KSI research partner KPPOD reminded policy makers not just to “copy and paste” smart practices from other regions, but they need to be adjusted to local context and priority needs. Nicola Nixon, DFAT Counselor for Poverty and Social Development, in her remarks emphasized the linkage of this event with the ongoing KSI-supported initiative to build Knowledge Centre at Bappenas, system for the collection and replications of smart practices across regions for better planning and budgeting.