Collaborating with the Private Sector

While most of our work has been with bilateral organisations, projects and INGOs, Empatika also provides research services to the private sector for those projects where the aims are still in line with our values and code of ethics.

In 2016 one of the leading ride-hailing company in the country, established their Research and Insights Division. This unit identified a need for insights beyond conventional market research and wanted a deeper understand about the drivers using their app including issues such as: their daily lives; the challenges and opportunities for women drivers; driver safety; how drivers interact with the company apps; and drivers' income and well-being. In short, they wanted a holistic and contextual understanding of drivers’ experiences.

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New motorbike taxi drivers awaiting training

This led to a request to pilot the use of Immersive Research for a greater understanding of these issues. For this, some of Empatika's researchers became drivers for the ride-hailing company for a period of six days, operating in five different areas of Jakarta. This provided direct experience about the process of onboarding and being accepted as a driver, use of the apps, interacting with customers and food delivery. It provided ample opportunities to ‘hang out' with other drivers (with researchers often drinking instant coffee more than five times a day!) and learn about their lives through shared experiences. The researchers were able to build trusted relationships and openness over time hanging out informally with other drivers.

Through these interactions drivers provided suggestions on improvements needed for the apps and shared concerns which they would very likely not have shared through conventional surveys or formal feedback mechanisms. This immersive approach and Empatika's presentation on the findings helped management not only gain a greater understanding but also to better empathise with the drivers, from which they were able to take some immediate actions and use to plan future improvements and further research.

Empatika has also assisted a large spices company in helping them better understand farmers' lives in the areas where they buy raw materials from, and more recently helped an online music service learn about their Indonesian customers' checkout experience.

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An online interview about the checkout journey for a music service