There have been significant differences between what we are currently facing and the past few years, from the learning process without leaving the house, shopping for daily necessities as easy as ticking your thumb, even consulting with a doctor only through a smartphone. This phenomenon is aligned with the increasing number of people who shift to use digital over conventional services. Therefore, digital services have become an important aspect of our lives today.

When talking about the digital world, it cannot be separated from the development of startups that keep increasing every year. DR. G.N. Sandhy Widyasthana, PMP, the Director of Portfolio MDI Ventures, shared interesting data about current startup and venture capital trends. “In this pandemic, there has been a high increase in the number of new startup unicorns,” said Sandhy. In the second quarter (Q2) 2021, the State of Venture Report revealed 136 new unicorns, and the recorded funding of $156B.

MDI Ventures as Corporate Venture Capital from Telkom Indonesia has a portfolio across 12 countries in the world. Unlike other venture capital, the values of startups that MDI Ventures invests in must align with the company. “We don’t see startups as something standing alone, but as part of an ecosystem,” said Sandhy. Therefore, MDI Ventures invests in building an ecosystem divided into different industries, such as Health and Fintech.

The startup ecosystem is currently getting support from the community because interaction through digital platforms continues to increase. It affects changes in consumer behavior which continues Mr. Sandhy’s previous explanation at the 6th International Conference on Management in Emerging Markets (ICMEM) 2021. 

Nila Armelia, Ph.D. from SBM ITB, shared her thoughts on improving consumer well-being today when using digital services. “In 2021, the trend is to make people using technology more human, having more emotional connections, and improving their well-being,” said Nila. Therefore, improving consumer well-being is an important factor that service providers must consider.

Nila proposed Design for Well-being, a research result that aims at improving consumer well-being in using digital services. The first point is the Empathic Approach, which values consumers and knows exactly what they need. The second is Enhancing User’s Agency which allows sharing resources and interaction between actors to increase user efficacy. The final proposed idea is to realign the Relationship with Technology, not as a replacement but as a tool to ease and make human jobs more efficient.

In line with Nila’s previous proposal, Seno Soemadji, SE., Ak., MBA, the Managing Director of Communications, Media & Technology Accenture, Indonesia, added that during this pandemic, the way consumers transacted had changed and became a serious challenge, especially for business leaders and organizations in the world. Accenture has succeeded in identifying the important things from the current business changes as crucial factors for facing ‘The Next Normal,’ and establishing a sustainable business.

The identification results are summarized in Business Futures 2021 Signals of Change, consisting of six critical factors for the future success of an organization. The six points cover the use of AI, decision-making, setting sustainable purpose, and becoming a scientific company. It is hoped that leaders can take the right measures in facing current and future challenges.

The right measures have been taken by a superapp company in Indonesia, Grab. Quoting from Neneng Goenadi, B.Eng., M.B.A, the Managing Director of Grab Indonesia, Grab took quick steps in dealing with the pandemic. One of the innovations is the launch of Grab Protect, providing more security guarantees for services that require physical encounters, such as in GrabBike or GrabCar products. In addition, Neneng also reported, “From a business perspective, we also continue to innovate in facing ‘the Next Normal’. We became more agile in identifying potential businesses, so we launched GrabMart early in the pandemic.”

The growth of digital services during the pandemic is higher than in previous years. The current situation opens up opportunities for digital service providers to increase their presence in the community. On the other hand, this pandemic is also a big challenge for some affected industries. The Panel Presentation at the 6th International Conference on Management in Emerging Markets (ICMEM) SBM ITB 2021 opens a room for discussion and shares insights from various education experts and leading organizational leaders in Indonesia in anticipating current and future challenges.

Written by Student Reporter (Nailah Shabirah, Entrepreneurship 2022)