Enabling deep systemic transformation needed for ensuring balanced economic development

As the world competes towards a world fueled by digital economy, it remains to be seen whether this future can bring true sustainable development—one that brings meaningful life, social equality, and ecological balance. The digital era does have the potential to boost innovation, optimize efficiency, and increase inclusiveness. But without a deep and holistic view into the root causes of our challenges, we risk being trapped by pragmatic and temporary solutions that can widen inequality and threaten sustainability in the long term.

The development of frontier and outermost regions can be a blind spot for many governments, including Indonesia. The Indonesian Central Bureau of Statistics reports that in March 2018, Indonesia's GINI Ratio reached 0.382. This problem is even more critical in areas bordering other more developed countries where the difference is very starkly visible, sowing  the seeds for social unrest and threatening national security. Therefore the development of the frontier, outermost, and underdeveloped (3T) regions must be a major concern for national development.

The fourth Industrial Revolution encouraged extraordinary technological advancements that promised great social and economic progress. The Ministry of Communication and Information of the Republic of Indonesia is committed to building information technology infrastructure in the 3T regions to improve the welfare and happiness of the people. This is apparent, for example, in the successful implementation of the Palapa Ring program that saw 100% completion of fiber-optic infrastructure development in Western and Central Indonesia (and 95% completion for Eastern Indonesia.) However, for true social and economic progress to happen there are other key challenges besides infrastructure development, namely: technology adoption and technology-based social innovation.

For any technology to become adopted, it must answer humans’ real needs and suits the user’s characteristics. And for social innovation to take place, the users must possess collective leadership capacity to self-empower and self-organize, thereby co-creating their own future using technology as an enabler.

The most important and critical challenge in technology adoption and social innovation, requires us to work across organizational and sectoral boundaries. But this is often hampered by our inability to go beyond silo-mentality and to work with other actors in the system to achieve collective progress outside of each KPI. What is missing are spaces for various stakeholders to come together to build mutual trust, a shared vision, and ultimately, collaborative actions. This is where Co-CLASS comes in.

Co-CLASS (Collaborative, Creative Learning and Action for Sustainable Solutions) is a learning program tailored to allow actors from various parts of the system to come together and develop transformative relationships through authentic conversations and shared meaningful experiences. This allows collective awareness and profound paradigm shifts to take place, leading to collaborative actions that seek the wellbeing of the whole rather than seeking to advance interests of the parts.

"Co-CLASS: 3T Go Digital" is specifically aimed towards convening all the relevant stakeholders in developing digital economy ecosystem for Indonesia's outermost, frontier, and underdeveloped regions. The program is a collaboration between Ministry of Communications and Informatics Republic of IndonesiaTsinghua University, and United in Diversity Foundation Indonesia.



This program’s vision is to accelerate “Frontier, outermost, and underdeveloped regions to grow into societies that are prosperous, happyeconomically independent, and resilient, based on local human resources and local potential, by utilizing digital technology”.

Through this program we expect to have outcomes as follow:

  1. Policy Reform. The creation of policies and regulations that are inclusive and socially and environmentally responsible in fostering economic value in 3T regions.
  2. The Sustainability-Oriented Innovation. The creation of innovative ideas to answer real challenges by holding the principles of sustainable development and utilizing digital technology as an enabler in improving people's welfare.
  3. Tri-sector Collaboration. The creation of development initiatives as a result of collaboration between three sectors to create a better future for people in 3T regions.



Given the pivotal role of personal transformation in transforming the whole, we believe that personal and collective leadership capacity is a key leverage point and must be the focus of our attention. We believe “awareness” is the leadership competencies that still missing from our capacity to make us be able to perform the necessary transformation in the digital economy. The “awareness” competencies can be further elaborated into the following:

  1. Integrating the intelligence of the Head-Hands-Heart. The ability to elevate the awareness to anchor knowledge and skills onto a deeper sense of purpose and aspiration. The shift of the intention and attention of the leaders will determine the collective action and the quality of the result of our works.
  2. Understanding complexities and seeing the larger system. This capability is essential to building a shared understanding of complex problems, which will shift our way of perceiving the world from linear to systemic, allowing a more integrative and holistic perspective for discovering strategic “acupuncture points”. These capability will enables collaborating organizations to jointly develop solutions not evident to any of them individually and to work together for the health of the whole system rather than just pursue symptomatic fixes to individual pieces.
  3. Fostering for reflection & generative conversations. The capability of reflection means to be able to think about our thinking, holding up the mirror to see the taken-for-granted assumptions we carry into any conversation and appreciating how our mental models may limit us. Deep, shared reflection is a critical step in enabling groups of organizations and individuals to actually “hear” a point of view different from their own, and to appreciate emotionally as well as cognitively each other’s reality. This is an essential doorway for building trust where distrust had prevailed and for fostering collective creativity.
  4. Holding the space for co-creating the future. The capability to create culture that centers on shifting the collective focus from reactive problem solving to co-creating the future. Change often starts with conditions that are undesirable, but artful system leaders help people move beyond just reacting to symptom problems to building positive visions for the future.


Leaning towards education that focuses on learning instead of teaching, and drawing from decades of combined institutional and personal experiences of facilitating complex systems transformation, we translate the two philosophical-methodological underpinning of Theory U and The Fifth Discipline into a program design based on andragogical principles for adult learning. The milestones of the learning journey are below outlined.




Co-CLASS relies on convening all the right stakeholders to be able to deliver its impact. Therefore we invite the following to join us in the learning journey:
  1. High potential leaders who hold strategic position to influence and lead transformation within organizations that have direct influence in the development of Indonesia’s 3T regions, including those at national or local/regional levels.
  2. Extraordinary next-generation local leaders who are on track to hold a key leadership role in the few coming years to lead societal change toward a better future.
  3. Persons who have relevant skills, knowledge, and network to develop the digital economy of Indonesia’s 3T regions.
  4. Persons who have at least passive English language skills.
  5. Persons with a strong commitment to follow the learning journey in its entirely.

Contact for Further Information

Shobi Lawalata
Email :  shobi.lawalata@unitedindiversity.org
Phone : 62-21 3521928

or download document HERE for detail information of Co-CLASS.