Can digital innovation safeguard the economy?

A new project will map the role of digital innovation in alleviating the economic imprint of COVID-19 in Indonesia.


Indonesia’s digital innovation space is developing fast, forming one of the most promising sources of innovation potential for industry. A new Australia-Indonesia Centre (AIC) Rapid Research program asks ‘How can it alleviate the economic impact of COVID-19?’

Researchers will survey 250 large listed companies on their current digital innovation strategy, and map internal and external drivers of this strategy and how COVID-19 has impacted investment in and implementation of these strategies.

“Has digital innovation become a more central strategy? Or have firms sidelined these costly and potentially non-core activities because of current economic pressures?”, said project co-lead Dr Sebastiaan van Doorn from the University of Western Australia.

Research will cover perspectives from within firms such as senior leadership, internal communication and the digital skills of employees, along with more external factors such as government support programs, branch organisation and the use of digital consultants.

To understand the impact of digital innovation on weathering economic pressures amid COVID-19, the research will investigate whether firms that have continued to invest in digital innovation during the pandemic have performed better than their counterparts that have postponed or downgraded their digital innovation efforts.

“We will focus on shifts in revenue, profit and the number of employees, given the expected impact of lockdown practices on these indicators”, said co-lead Prof. Irwan Ekaputra from Universitas Indonesia.

The team working on this project is made up of Australian and Indonesian researchers in digital innovation, finance, economics and technology. They have experience working in the public and private sectors as well as in academia.


The research team

Co-leads: Dr Sebastiaan van Doorn (University of Western Australia), Prof. Irwan Ekaputra (Universitas Indonesia)

Participants: Dr Arnold Japutra (University of Western Australia), Ami Utami (Universitas Indonesia)


Australian Media enquiries

Marlene Millott
PAIR Program Officer
+61 427 516 851

Indonesian Media enquiries

Fadhilah Trya Wulandari
PAIR Program Officer
+62 8124 3637 755


About the Australia-Indonesia Centre

The AIC was established by the Australian and Indonesian governments in 2013. It brings together 11 universities – seven Indonesian and four Australian – to advance people-to-people links in science, technology, education, innovation and culture. The AIC designs and facilitates bilateral research programs, taking research outcomes to policy and practice. It forms interdisciplinary teams that work collaboratively with stakeholders – policy, business and community – to find solutions to regional, national and global challenges.

Beyond research, the AIC’s outreach activities contribute to broader people-to-people links. It runs digital dialogues that seek to shed new insights. It supports the deepening of cultural exchange through a binational short film festival, explores respective national attitudes and perceptions towards each other, and brings together future leaders of both nations workshops, dialogues and other programs.

The Rapid Research program is part of the AIC’s Partnership for Australia-Indonesia Research, funded by the Australian Government.  It is the AIC’s front-foot response to a better understanding of COVID-19’s impact on Indonesia’s economy and society.  It brings together sixty Australian and Indonesian researchers from the AIC’s consortium of 11 universities to explore three areas: COVID-19, People and Health; COVID-19, People and Connectivity; and COVID-19, People and Economic Recovery.