Indonesia: the power of a tri-sector leadership journey

Monday, November 22nd, 2010 | Uncategorized

A few days ago I returned from a workshop in Jakarta with an amazing group of leaders from all sectors of society (government, business, civil society). The same group came to MIT earlier this year at the launch of this nine months U process program. The group includes CEOs of medium-sized companies, founders of social justice organizations, deans and professors from the University of Indonesia, editors of major newspapers and news channels, senior civil servants from several ministries, members of the national parliament, the governor of a provincial district, and others. Here are a few highlights of what the group reported and reflected on during our concluding workshop last week:

(1) Each participant had experienced transformational change both individually and also as a group. They had discovered deeper ground and a deeper “source of being” within themselves. They also reported receiving multiple positive feedback from others about being better listeners.
(2) The process they went through as a group was described with these words: “We went from mistrust to trust, from trust to love, from love to knowledge, and from knowledge to action.”
(3) Several of them have made significant organizational progress toward transforming their organizations, although that journey is still early stage.
(4) Every team had accomplished two things with its prototype projects: some real impact and some hands-on learning. For example, one team that focuses on corruption went to a particular region far outside of Jakarta. On this learning journey they found that most of their assumptions about corruption in that place were wrong. They had to change their assumptions about corruption and its main drivers, and change their ideas about what needed to be done to improve the situation. They involved all stakeholders in the process of understanding the situation and inventing better ways of providing government services. The result, as we heard from a stakeholder who is doing business in that community, is a better, faster, more transparent, and more efficient government.
(5) The main takeaway for me has been to see the field of inspired connections that they – that we! – share with each other and that allows everyone who participates in that field to access their better selves.

I am so thankful to have been given the opportunity to prototype this country-level tri-sector leadership program in Indonesia over the past three years. Indonesia, with its diversity on so many levels, with its deep spirituality, and with its history that makes it a microcosm of all major global issues, is probably the best possible place to launch a new way of transforming society from ego-system awareness to eco-system awareness. Reflecting on some similar efforts currently under way in other countries, I wonder what this whole web of cross-sector innovation platforms might look like a few years down the road. Can we turn this effort into a globally networked “” that allows young people to join the platform and add more quickly to the global web of prototyping initiatives?

The would be a global action leadership school that convenes, connects, and co-inspires leaders and change makers across sectors, generations, and cultures. More on that later…


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4 Comments to Indonesia: the power of a tri-sector leadership journey

Noel Lorenzana
November 22, 2010

Dear Otto,

This is very heartwarming and I feel a sense of price and awe with what you and Frans have achieved. Having lived in Indonesia for sometime and havong been part of the great jounrney that was ELIAS I can only applaud in my own quite space as I read this. I wish to be able to meet up with you guys soon and hopefully I can offer my time and services to further fulfilling the mission and dreams of this group.

with only the very best


Ima Abdulrahim
November 23, 2010

Thank you, Otto for posting this. I think we are the ones – at least for me – that should be thankful for you allowing us to absorb your knowledge and wisdom. The IDEAS experience is one that I will never forget, and the friends I have made through this journey are friends I will keep for the rest of my life. Thank YOU, Otto.

December 1, 2010

Hi Otto,
Firstly, I studied Indonesia at University and i’m sure that some of the success and feel good moments can be due to the nature of the people themselves- I never felt as young and relaxed and accepted as when I was in Indonesia.

Secondly, about this idea of yours for a global action leadership school, i’ve just finished reading a book i’m sure you’re familiar with ‘Educating the Reflective Practitioner’ by Donald Schon. I’m working with teachers in Ghana, trying to empower them to “think educationally” rather than simply acting out of habit. I can completely understand the dilemma that Schon outlines in terms of trying to teach someone something that they can only be learnt through practice. Schon quotes Carl Rogers, who also has interesting on ideas on the ‘teachability’ of certain areas. I guess what I’m getting at is, how would you create the conditions necessary for the uninitiated to be able to learn the kind of skills that you have acquired, through your wealth of experience, so that they could also find themselves asking the same kinds of important questions that you are frequently asking yourself?

January 15, 2011

Hi and happy new year. I am writing for a number of diffreent reasons:
Firstly to offer my empathy and respect for the journey you are on. I am reading Theory U at the moment and evry other pages seems to send a jolt of energy through me igniting references to my own thoughts and experiences from throughout my life.
I arrived where I am through music, through religion, through business through family through influences too subtle for me to determine. But I understand your words as they resonate through my mind. A page can take me hours to read as I reposition, reframe and re-apply your thoughts to my own again and again.
Ideas mutate, sourced from my own gathered experience and combined with the depth and structure and soul with which you write.
Thank you for your love – it is at the heart of all inspiration shared.

With regard to Indonesia, my financee is from Indonesia and we have deep regard for it on so many levels. I am wondering if you could help me to link into any online communities that you are aware of that would connect me with academic and business/social networks that are focussed on how we innovate and how we grow and democratise society.

Again I thank you for committing to write and to lead in the manner you have.
I hope to meet you one day and I think I will.
Blessings to you and all you hold dear.

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