Boi Labs by: Maria Angelica, BOI Research Executive from 2019 – 2022 Like many fresh graduates, I was navigating a sea of uncertainty about my career and aspirations for the future. My passion project at BOI Research, developing the groundbreaking Voting Advice Application Kawula17.id, took time. It didn’t just happen overnight; it took months of …
by: Maria Angelica, BOI Research Executive from 2019 – 2022
Like many fresh graduates, I was navigating a sea of uncertainty about my career and aspirations for the future. My passion project at BOI Research, developing the groundbreaking Voting Advice Application Kawula17.id, took time. It didn’t just happen overnight; it took months of hard work and much learning. And here’s the truth – it’s still a work in progress. But if you’re willing to roll up your sleeves and keep pushing forward, you might surprise yourself with where you end up.
My journey began with a simple idea – to work in a politics-related job. I joined BOI Research, but initially, I felt disconnected from what I wanted to do. The idea proposed by my boss of diving into Policy Business Development didn’t hit the mark for me. It was clear that I needed to find a different path.
Many people don’t know what Indonesian parties or politicians stand for. With many parties without clear party programs, people vote here based on the image of a politician. Amidst this uncertain Indonesian political environment, the Voting Advice Application (VAA) idea was born. Inspired by platforms like Stemwijzer and Kieskompas, my boss and I initially set out to create something groundbreaking for Indonesian politics. The idea of advising voters, especially the youth, struck a chord with me. Since its inception, we have advised thousands of Indonesians about which political party is closed to them based on gender, environment, corruption, and education.
Creating Kawula17.id was far from easy; we soon needed support from two more colleagues. And together, we spent months of meticulous planning and hard work. We faced numerous challenges, from crafting an entirely new business plan, trying and often failing to get to talk to politicians, struggling to make the first VAA questionnaire, and frustratingly slow progress at times. But we didn’t give up. The launch of Kawula17.id marked a turning point, providing me with invaluable experiences and insights into research and policy. But here’s the thing – the story doesn’t end there. An innovation journey is filled with challenges; my experience was no exception. The process included the unsuccessful idea of Policy Business Development, feeling uncertain about what to do, and getting nowhere was all part of the experience. Yet, despite these hurdles, backed by my colleagues, I could push forward with persistence. And so, after Kawula17.id was up and running, we set up the foundation PP17 together.
Now, PP17, with its own team and full-time research fellow, aims to inform and educate young Indonesians about issues and topics on social and political issues. Our flagship, Kawula17.id, empowers voters, particularly the youth, with guidance on aligning their values with political choices. PP17 tracks and addresses current issues, sharing results with the media and political parties and fostering transparency. As an independent organization, PP17 conducts Political Brand Health Tracking, develops educational materials, expands our network for a more robust democracy, and aids other foundations with research. Regarding that last, PP17 is now supporting Generasi Melek Politik (GMP) with impact assessment for its AcPol (Academica Politica) program. Moreover, PP17 has done the first National Benchmark Survey on the environment.
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned from this journey is the value of continuous learning. Innovation isn’t a one-time event; it’s an ongoing process. This journey allowed me to reconnect with my interest in the political landscape of Indonesia, receive positive feedback, and build new connections with politicians, media, and organizations I never thought I’d encounter.
I think my story embodies the spirit of BOI Research – a commitment to innovation and meaningful research, a passion for exploring uncharted territories, the potential for positive change, and the resilience to overcome challenges. As my journey continues, I hope it can serve as an inspiration for all aspiring researchers. The journey may be challenging, but it’s a path worth taking.