Business management tools for Indonesian street vendors

Field Research, Ethnography, Microfinance, Market research, Business


A work with Flamingo group. We helped one of Indonesia’s most innovative banks to develop business and financial management tools for their micro and small business customers, from street food vendors to Instagram sellers, most of whom currently employ very basic tools and have a very low level of financial literacy.

Through a mix of contextual enquiry, ethnography and prototyping, we helped designers and developers empathise with their customers’ reflexes and create a range of tools including basic bookkeeping and inventory management that are sensitive to this audience’s context and ways of working.

A project with

Flamingo Jakarta (now Nation Insights)


Snapshots from the fieldwork


Digital transactions developing rapidly since the e-commerce boom hits Indonesia in the recent years. As one of the significant impact, the micro business segment has stretched as a result of mass adoption of technology. In the past few years Indonesia has begun some noticeable shifting changes in the infrastructure of modern technologies, followed by vast growth of internet penetration across the nation, primarily through mobile phones.

More and more companies, local or global, entering Indonesian market, sharing their interests. This disruptive changes not only affecting people as the consumer, but also the seller or Indonesian entrepreneurs, who are mostly operating in micro business. The micro business segment has stretched as a result of mass adoption of technology. A new breed of tech-savvy entrepreneurs is emerging. I worked with Flamingo, a brand/insight consultant in a research project to help a Bank understands these new types of entrepreneurs, we would like to re-think its offering to be inclusive of these segments, while not forsaking its heartland customers.


The qualitative approach for unlocking insights

Techniques & Methodologies

The research protocol was done in contextual inquiry, in-depth interview, and concept testing.

  • Contextual Inquiry: We observe and “shadowing” the participant when he/she runs her business as usual. This enables us to understand their methods and behavior in the daily basis.

  • In-depth Interview: We reserved 60 minutes of our participants time to talk deeply about these business owners as human, what are their motivations, barriers, challenges, and things that drives them to live as entrepreneur.

  • Concept Testing (This was the one I am mostly responsible for). We built several stimulus based on the Bank’s initial idea, make it tangible and looking for the receptions, questions, and feedback. Main responsibilities were shared among our team who has different tasks.

For each interview, a project manager was responsible as the key facilitator and another person as the moderator, and I was in charge of supporting the interviewer in note taking, documentation (photograph and video) and setting up the concept stimulus.  The note taking process was done by literal transcribing and capturing the words as many as possible.

Strategy & co-creation workshop with business stakeholders

Prototypes as research stimulus

In order to create the stimulus for the research, at first I analyzed the Bank’s current business model and their initial targets for the project, continued by understanding their desire of creating the digital app. I used some existing apps for references and made a quick, dirty prototype just enough to show the concept to be shown to the participants when we are conducting the fieldwork. Both paper and digital materials were used.

Visualizing the insights

After we finished the synthesis process, I was in charge of visualizing the data that we found into multiple forms to help with the workshop activity with the client. I designed a journey mapping imagery with details on each profile that we see the fittest, along with persona posters and video snippets. 


    Design guidelines & strategy

We conducted a focused workshop with key people from the client alongside other companies whom they partnered to build the system in the future. Since empathizing the current situation of micro business entrepreneurship was the primary focus, we also presented the insight visualizations. On top of that, we created a chart of the market segments to keep in mind in the future when product development starts.

    Steps Forward

The app, system, & business development is now in process and should be expected to release in the near future. 
The product will launches as a platform & solution to help small-micro business owners in Indonesia.