Tainan, Taiwan, November 30, 2016
A Tainan-based National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) group of design thinkers recently hosted a special training program on creative policy making with a sixteen-member Indonesian delegation of mayor, vice mayor, head of local agencies, and academics from Palangka Raya, Singkawang, and Jogjakarta to seek for innovative solutions and picture Indonesia’s future cities in 2026.
During the four-day training, the delegation led by Singkawang’s mayor Drs. Awang Ishak and Palangka Raya’s vice mayor Dr. Ir. Mofit Saptono Subagio, M.P. explored the possibilities in developing city branding for their cities. In the process, the delegates also learned about Taiwan especially Tainan’s business, cultural creative industries, agriculture, and tourism to get the inspirations for improving their local competiveness.
NCKU President Huey-Jen Jenny Su extended her warm welcome to the Indonesian delegation and gave her remarks at the closing ceremony, “After three days in our university, you would find us as your new brothers and sisters on the other side of the world.”
“We’d like to think when you develop your city you would be even more successful than we were fifty years ago,” said President Su adding, “so we would enjoy your successful stories when we come to see you in your country.”
Vice Mayor of Palangka Raya Dr. Ir. Mofit Saptono Subagio, M.P., claimed that the workshop organization suprised them. With the facilitation of the design thinkers, they could produce a focused and detailed plan within a short period of time.
Drs. Aratuni, M.T., Head of Community Empowerment, Women, Child and Family Planning Agency of Palangka Raya, said, “We had so much fun while creating a masterplan for the future development of our city.”
“Palangka Raya puts forward and enjoyed the benefits from the conservation of natural resources,” according to Vice Mayor Mofit while talking about the vision for Palangka Raya.
Head of Disaster Management and Fire Agency of Palangka Raya, Ir. Anwar Sanusi Umarnur said, “In the past three days, we had intensive discussions and generated 36 ideas through the design workshop.”
“From the 36 ideas, we tried to focus on five main visions for the city of Singkawang in the coming ten years – to make Singkawang as a beautiful city,” Anwar noted when he represented the team of Singkawang to present the result.
Design thinking is basically a different way of working to what is prevalent in most companies, said Leslie Tsai, head ofNCKU facilitators of design thinking, adding, “The way the Indonesian government officers communicate is very much hierarchy-based, but we offer them a chance to listen and respect every ideas from every member regardless their positions.”
Tsai continued, “By empowering the delegates to appreciate their own culture and collaborate with their own staff, their mindset has gradually changed.. We see every group generate ideas, visualize their concepts in the prototyping stage, test the ideas with their target audience, and repeat the process all over.”
Another facilitator Yun-Cheng Chen noted, “We designed the condition that stimulates interactive, meaningful, positive experience for stakeholders involved. The result is the rising empowerment of individuals in each group also the vibrant atmosphere in the workshop."
The project manager of the training program, Dr. Ottavia Huang, who is an Indonesian postdoctoral researcher in NCKU, commented, “the site visits and sharing by experts, that our team has arranged, aimed to inspire the delegation on how to create great things from micro to macro levels.”
She added, “The delegation had developed confidence as they learned, experienced, and applied the design thinking method and have established a closer relationship with representatives of Tainan university, government, and industry”
Dr. Mofit said, “We’d like to tell our younger generation and everyone in Palangka Raya that we have brothers and sisters in National Cheng Kung University.”
Talking about their personal sharing, one of the officers commented, “We were worried before the visit that the cultural gap would be a problem.”
“However from the thoughtful arrangements that took into account the members’ diverse cultural backgrounds, we felt warmly welcomed in Tainan,” he added.
Co-organized by the University of Gadjah Mada (UGM) in Indonesia and NCKU in Taiwan, the program is a significant step for Indonesian local government to explore international experiences in city reformation and policy making, according to Dr. Erwan Agus Purwanto, Dean of UGM’s Faculty and Social and Political Sciences.
After the design workshop, the delegation were shown several completed and ongoing infrastructure projects in Taipei and Taoyuan. The site visits, hosted by CECI Engineering Consultant who supported the workshop, demonstrated how effective engineering solutions and infrastructure could support the development of future cities.
The UGM-NCKU Training Programme for Regional Leaders was held at C-Hub, NCKU, 23-26 November 2016.