Dissertation Thank You List

It has been more than a month since i submitted my dissertation. This was my first proper academic project which i have been working since June this year. With this submission, i have completed Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship MSc program in University of Manchester. I havent got my final grade yet but hopefully it wont be too shabby.

This dissertation project has been both exciting and exhausting at the same time. I deliberately chose the topic that i most interested with . However, there were still many times during the work that i became so fed up and wanted to get it done as quickly as possible. In the end, the project made me learn a lot about how to do scientific project, building arguments, critically reviewing academic papers and executing research project.

We did it! – picture by @okymauludany

Along the way of working this dissertation, i’ve been getting a lot of help both directly and indirectly. Hence this post serves as thank you note for everyone who has been supporting me in finishing this work.

Proposal of my research can be seen here. Ill post summary and conclusion of my dissertation in the upcoming post, hopefully. I was proud of my work before submission but after reading it again after getting good night sleep, i realised it was shit haha. 

I would like to dedicate my first thank you to my dissertation supervisor, Dr Elvira Uyarra. Reading Elvira works on innovation policy  was one of the trigger that made me chose Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship program in Manchester. I even referred her works in my scholarship application to convince Indonesian government that Manchester is the place to be to learn about innovation. As supervisor, Elvira has been helping me a lot in shaping my ideas, building theoretical framework and even fixing my grammar.

I want to also thank my Research Method professor, Frank Boons. He designed his class in order for students to make step-by-step research progress every week hence it was very useful for me which never done any proper scientific research. On top of that, he was also very responsive and thorough in giving feedback which further support me in shaping rough ideas into research proposal. I once gave him draft at 2 in the morning and before 8, Frank wrote a page full of detailed revision.

I was also get support from my other professors and faculty members in the brainstorming phase. Hence my thanks to Kieron Flanagan, Bruce Tether, Marcella Miozzo, Jonathan Pinkse for the advices.

Next on my thanks list is the founders, activist, journalist, managers, developers and enthusiast in Jakarta digital startup scene which was the topic of my dissertation. These are the good people which helped me in various ways. From agreeing to be respondent,  providing raw data, introduce me to people and support me in navigating the ins and outs of the industry.  For that, i will be forever be grateful

So lets start!, i would like to say my gratitude to : Yasaka Rani from Blibli, Oky Mauludani from Traveloka, Muhammad Ihsan from Tokopedia, Nalendra Wiryawan from Blibli & XL Axiata, Berlian Agusta from Airy Room, Christa from Womantalk, Janet Valentina from IDN Media, Leontinus Edison from Tokopedia, Rama Mamuaya from DailySocial, Aulia Halimatussadiah from Zettamedia & StartupLokal, Robi Baskoro from Duniaku, Aditya Saputra from Tripvisto & Tamasia, Yoga Nandiwardhana from Google Indonesia, Gery Azriel from Youtube Indonesia, Nadine Freischald from Techinasia and many others which gave comments or reply on my questions in Twitter or Linkedin.

I also getting lot of help from my classmates in Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship MSc 2016 – 2017. For the feedbacks and chats during late night word count grinding in Alan Gilbert Learning Commons, my thanks to Kai, Camilo, Aisha, Shresta, Phing, Hilde, Farah, Andrea, Hector, Ravi, Nishant, Stoyko, Danai and Chiara.

Then, i would like to give my special kudos to Indonesian-IME group: Mira, Tera, Faiz, Jojo, Derian. A support group, a home away from home and best study group I have ever have.

My masters degree program and dissertation research project was funded by Indonesian Education Endowment Fund Scholarship (LPDP). This is a great program which enabled thousands of Indonesian to pursue Masters and PhD overseas. If youre planning to apply or have questions regarding the program, drop me an email (kiki dot ahmadi at gmail ) and i will gladly help you.

Lastly, to Sari and Ghazi. My raison d’etre. Thank you for accompanying me in this wonderful journey. The works is for you two.

Digital and Tech Startup Employment in Indonesia and Jakarta

I did comparison of total number of employees of all Indonesian tech startups listed in Crunchbase and employment numbers of other major business sector.

Digital Startup Employment.png
Vizualized using Tableau Public

Several interesting points :

  • In country level, startup employment is still miniscule which is not surprising. However in Jakarta level, it already surpassed banking, construction, education and enterprise support services sector
  • Still in Jakarta level, Startup employment is already nearly half Real Estate sector, nearly third of Transportation and Warehousing and quarter of Manufacturing
  • Jakarta hold 60 percent of total Indonesia startup employment. Compared to the ICT sector which Jakarta only contribute 2% of total country employment. I guess startup ecosystem is still very Jakarta centric ?
  • Startup employment probably can be used as proxy for Digital Economy contribution. However its still need average wage data points in Startups to see how the contribution related to other business sector.

Also couple of notes regarding the data

  • This is a pre-eliminary analysis, did it in my spare time so please do comment if i made mistakes or something doesnt felt right
  • Number of employee data in Crunchbase is in estimated range. I used the maximum estimation.
  • Out of around 900 Indonesian based startups listed in Crunch base, 270-ish doesnt have employee data. So the number could possibly bigger
  • Techinasia listed around 3000 Indonesian startups however they didnt parse it by city and also i believe they didnt offer access to the raw data. However, just by looking at the number of startups disparity compared to Crunchbase, again the number of startup employment could possibly much bigger

Heres the tableau link to get better view of the graph : http://bit.ly/startupEmploymentIndo

Data source : Crunchbase, BPS Sensus Ekonomi 2016, Self-analysis

PS: Kudos for Badan Pusat Statistik Indonesia for the quality and the granularity of the data.


Silicon Roundabout Presentation

Today, Ive delivered presentations for regional innovation class. For the final coursework, the students are expected to submit essay on several topics related to regional dimension of innovation, from role of public policy in cluster formation, university-industry relation to smart specialisation. I choose to do clusters, specifically start-up cluster. The topic fits into my interest and i want to take the topic as my dissertation areas as well. Before submitting the final essay, the students would need to present first in order to get feedback and directions.

The case study that i chose is Silicon Roundabout which also known as East London Tech City. It is a high tech startup cluster in the east London area (Shoreditch and Hoxton). Digital economy is huge contributor to UK GDP. London in particular has turn over of 56 billion GBP from digital economy. Majority of this are contributed by cluster of tech startups around the old street roundabout in East London. The area has a history of being a creative hub from the early 1990s. Post dot com boom, several startups such as Moo, Dropplr and Last.fm relocated to this area and in 2008, the terms Silicon Roundabout was coined.

silicon roundabout.png
short history of how silicon roundabout emerge

In 2010, Prime Minister David Cameron launched Tech City initiatives to support this cluster to become world class technology area. Two years later, Google developed seven stories co-working space / incubator called Google Campus.

For the presentation, i include a short history on the cluster, how the cluster grow without policy intervention, the pros and cons of Tech City initiatives and future challenges of the cluster moving forward. I need to be very concise considering 15 minutes time limit.

My presentation is embedded below. Write me in the comment if you have any questions.

All in all, i did okay on today session however as i think my presentation delivery need to be upped a notch. One deadline finished, a lot more to go.

This week is going to be a semester two hell week. All the best for you folks!.

Basic vs Applied Research

To prepare for semester exam, i wrote several essays on Innovation topics to help me revise. As the exam period already finished, rather than throw it away i might as well post it here. All of the essays can be looked up using ExamEssay tag. Hope it can be useful. 

Research by definition is a creative activity to produce knowledge. By characteristics, research can be divided into two categories : basic and applied.

Research type.png
Characteristics of both type of research

In short, basic research is curiosity driven activity to produce science while applied research is a problem solving activities to come up with new technology.

Classical view on science and technology relationship

In the old fashioned view, science came before technology. Basic research increase the stock of science in the society which in turns becomes the fuel of applied research activities. Technology is an application of science hence basic research need to be prioritized first.


Relationship model on the classical view

The prominent supporter of this view is inventor, engineer and former head of US Office of Scientific Research and Development  Vannevar Bush. After world war 2, Bush advocated the importance of funding basic research. In his report to the president titled Science The Endless Frontier, Bush argued that basic research increase the nation’s scientific capital, drive technological progress which in turns improve the nation’s competitiveness in world trade.

The entire Vannevar Bush report to the President can be read here Continue reading “Basic vs Applied Research”

Refleksi Satu Semester

Tidak terasa, sudah hampir lima bulan semenjak saya sekeluarga meninggalkan Indonesia dan tinggal di Manchester. Walaupun tentunya ada enak dan tidak enak, secara keseluruhan pengalaman ini terasa menyenangkan. Pada saat tulisan ini dibuat, saya sedang merapel bahan bahan kuliah untuk persiapan ujian. Sebari rehat sejenak, berikut refleksi empat bulan pertama menempuh pendidikan master di Inggris.

Kelas High Tech Entrepreneurship dari Prof Jonathan Pinkse

Continue reading “Refleksi Satu Semester”

Nauval & Atiek


Interaksi pertama kami terjadi di air terjun Coban Rondo di Malang beberapa jam setelah akhir ritual kaderisasi mahasiswa baru. Selama masa tegang ospek, Nauval konsisten menjadi senior dengan antarmuka yang ramah pengguna. Kami belum saling mengenal pada saat itu namun secara subliminal saya melangkah dan bertanya dimana toilet terdekat berada. Nauval menawarkan untuk berjalan bersama dan kami pun mulai saling mengobrol.

Dasar pertemanan kami di tahun tahun setelah itu adalah obrolan software engineering, open source atau berita berita teknologi lainnya. Meskipun almamater kami menyandang kata teknologi di tengahnya, hanya segelintir mahasiswa yang antusias membicarakan perkembangan terbaru di bidang yang kita pelajari setiap hari. Nauval adalah bagian dari minoritas tersebut.

Selain itu kami berdua termasuk mahasiswa yang memaksimalkan utilisasi uang SPP dengan cara, well, tinggal dan tidur di laboratorium pemrograman. Mas Bambang sebagai admin lab mempekerjakan kami berdua dan beberapa mahasiswa tuna wisma lainnya untuk menjadi merbot dan juru kunci dengan imbalan jaket laboratorium.

Keniscayaan bahwa saya dan Nauval akan selalu berada di lab di malah hari juga ternyata membawa keuntungan finansial.

Beberapa kali kami diajak untuk terlibat proyek pemrograman uang jajan. Salah satu yang saya ingat adalah website korporat untuk operator telekomunikasi plat merah. Semalam suntuk kami mengutak atik kode dan desain menggunakan Joomla kemudian di pagi berikutnya dilanjut dengan presentasi hasil kerja didepan para manajer. Tentu saja sesuai dengan kultur dan kredo mahasiswa ITS, mandi dan tidur adalah opsional. Satu setengah juta untuk kerja semalam. Tidak buruk untuk dua tuna wisma fakir bandwidth berkedok asisten lab.


Nauval meninggalkan kampus setahun lebih dahulu dan kami tidak pernah bertemu lagi untuk waktu yang cukup lama.


Pertemanan kami bermula oleh sebuah perjalanan. Di tahun 2011, saya tinggal dan bekerja di Kuala Lumpur. Agung, room mate dan juga kompratriot sekantor, suatu hari mengajak untuk backpacking ke Chennai, India. Agung mengajak seorang temannya yang lain, perempuan berkerudung yang ketika itu sedang menempuh studi S2. Mereka berdua bertujuan untuk mempresentasikan paper di sebuah seminar. Sementara saya turut serta karena tidak punya agenda lebih baik untuk menghabiskan akhir pekan. Yang kemudian terjadi  adalah kejadian absurd demi kejadian absurd yang lain.

kik atiek agung.jpg

Sekembalinya ke Indonesia, Atiek kemudian mengajak saya dan beberapa teman yang lain untuk nongkrong di kantor Indonesia Mengajar. Berawal dari ngobrol ngobrol, berbagai macam kegiatan kerelawanan lahir. Mulai dari  professional volunteer program yang kemudian menjadi kelas inspirasi, bergulir dari satu kota ke kota yang lain. Atiek menjadi bagian penting dari pergerakan ini dan tidak jarang juga menjadi koordinator.

Indonesia Mengajar membuat saya sering bekerja bersama Atiek. Bukan tim yang ideal sebenarnya karena setiap kali kami terlibat dalam rapat, atmosfir serius hanya bisa bertahan 15 menit pertama saja. Menit menit setelah itu hampir pasti akan terisi dengan joke receh, plesetan dan hal hal aneh lainnya.

Selain menambah repertoir joke remah remah, berteman dengan Atiek membuat saya belajar tentang hal yang tidak saya duga sebelumnyaAtiek bekerja di lembaga pengembangan internasional dan seringkali melakukan implementasi proyek energi terbarukan di daerah terpencil di Indonesia. Dari Atiek, saya belajar tentang permasalahan energi di Indonesia, isu isu development dan hal hal sustainability yang lain. Ini menarik karena topik ini semacam antitesis dari profesi saya yang sangat korporat (menyokong pemilik kapital untuk membuat keputusan berbasis profit ). Mendengar cerita cerita Atiek juga memperkaya perspektif saya tentang betapa beragamnya Indonesia dan permasalahan permasalahan yang dia temui dalam perjalanannya.

Nauval dan Atiek,

Suatu hari saya dan istri datang ke sebuah acara sharing knowledge tentang implementasi energi terbarukan karena Atiek menjadi pembicara disitu. Ketika Atiek  sedang presentasi, istri saya memuji betapa pintar dan cantiknya atiek (tiek, kalimat ini berbayar. Tunggu invoice di email). Kemudian bertanya apakah saya mengenal pria jomblo rajin sholat dari keluarga baik baik dengan intelejensia yang setara.

Nama Nauval muncul tetapi yang dimaksud sedang berada di Skotlandia untuk menyelesaikan studi S2.

Anehnya, di Scotland, Nauval satu rumah dengan Agung. He became a room mate of my room mate.

Agung kembali ke Indonesia lebih dulu dan beberapa kali kami membicarakan kebetulan aneh ini. Di salah satu sesi obrolan sepulang kantor kita, ide mempertemukan atiek dan nauval muncul secara natural. Through peculiar concidence, my friend and agung’s friend apparently become our mutual friends. Diantara saya, agung, atiek dan nauval hanya atiek dan nauval saja yang belum pernah berinteraksi. Butuh waktu yang cukup lama tetapi akhirnya kami berempat bertemu dan berada di satu tempat yang sama tidak lama setealh Nauval kembali ke Indonesia.

Yang selanjutnya terjadi adalah gravitasi. Beberapa kali saya mendengar atiek dan nauval terlihat datang berdua di acara acara Indonesia Mengajar. Selang beberapa lama, undangan datang dan kemudian akhir pekan kemarin, Agung mengirimkan foto ini di grup.

WhatsApp Image 2016-12-23 at 07.24.06.jpeg

I was so happy and sad at the same time. Saya tidak bisa hadir ketika kedua teman baik yang saya temui fase kehidupan yang berbeda, mengucap janji didepan penghulu untuk menjadi suami istri.

Cerita mereka berdua juga mengingatkan saya akan adagium klasik tuhan tahu tapi menunggu. Di kondominium Orion Kuala Lumpur, tempat dimana saya dan agung pernah tinggal, atiek dan nauval pernah berada di tempat yang sama namun dengan waktu yang berbeda. Mereka berdua baru bertemu tidak kurang dari lima tahun setelah itu. Memang sih kalau sudah jodoh, pastinya gak akan kemana…indra kemana (ha!).

Oh well,

Selamat membuka lembaran dalam fase hidup yang baru Tiek, Val. Sampai ketemu tahun depan dan semoga ketika kita bertemu kembali, Ghazi bisa berkenalan dengan teman bermainnya yang baru.

Biological vs Chemical: A Study Case on Pest Control Lock-in in Israel Citrus Fruit Industry

This an academic essay i did for Innovation and Knowledge Economy lecture by professor Andrew McMeekin. The task is to demonstrate understanding on technological lock-in concept using any chosen topic.  This topic was a little bit random and way out of my forte but i guess the point of taking masters degree is stretch yourself so far beyond the comfort zone. . 

In a paper called Sprayed to Death: Path Dependence, Lock-In and Pest Control Strategies, economic researcher Robin Cowan and Phillip Gunby chronicled how certain pest control strategy dominate the market using increasing returns and path dependency (Cowan & Gunby, 1996). Two study case were used: Israel citrus fruit industry and cotton industry in United States. The Israel case in particular is very interesting because within the span of nearly 60 years, two pest control technologies were competing and each have achieved lock-in in a different period.

Oranges, one of the most prominent citrus fruit. Image courtesy of ulehsustainability.com

This essay attempt to further explore multiple lock in occurrence involving two different pest control method (Integrated Pest Management and Chemical Control) in the case of Israel citrus fruit industry from 1940s to 1970s.  It uses historical observation and theoretical results to explain how these multiple lock-ins started, how contingent events influence the competition, what are the increasing returns for each technology and what escape factors contributed in breaking the lock-ins. Continue reading “Biological vs Chemical: A Study Case on Pest Control Lock-in in Israel Citrus Fruit Industry”