Although Indonesia has experienced political stability and economic growth since its first democratic election in 2004, the country is still grappling with the residual effects of decades of corrupt governments, acts of terrorism, destructive natural disasters, and high unemployment. This volatile history has resulted in a lack of trust among government, private business, and civil society. In an effort to overcome the dilemma, leaders from these various factions applied their collective knowledge to work together to find a solution to the country's most pressing problems. In their search for a program that could tackle these challenging issues and create a stronger, healthier future for Indonesia, they reached out to MIT Sloan.
The resulting custom program—IDEAS (Innovative Dynamic Education and Action for Sustainability) Indonesia—has done just that and more. The current program is an outgrowth of the United in Diversity Conference held in Bali in 2003 and spearheaded by Cherie Nursalim, who is the co-founder of United in Diversity (UID) Forum, and Executive Director of Giti Group, a Singapore-based industrial conglomerate. Nursalim also is familiar with similar work done by MIT Sloan's Otto Scharmer and Peter Senge in a program called ELIAS (Emerging Leaders Innovate Across Sectors).
Diverse participants join together in a common goal
The IDEAS program convened small cohorts of leaders from different sectors—including government officials, civil-society leaders, business executives, academics, lawyers, journalists, activists, and members of non-governmental organizations—in a nurturing environment that dealt head on with many of the complex issues confronting the country today.
Each cohort of thirty included participants, or Fellows, from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Through a combination of leadership training and spiritual transformation, the program was designed to help the Fellows put aside differences and work toward a common goal of building a better future for Indonesia. Delivered in Indonesia and Cambridge, the program drew on MIT Sloan’s unique approach of integrating theory, real-world practice, and personal reflection. The curriculum included social technologies and advanced management techniques to help participants recognize the root causes of pervasive problems and address them effectively through collaboration. As part of this curriculum, Fellows developed and built prototypes of the types of change projects they planned to undertake in their chosen areas.