Indonesian version, click here.
Translation by Gabriella Pasya & Adolf Richardo – AIYA National Translation team
Graphic Design by Yudi Tri Utomo – AIYA Graphic Design
In celebration of Harmony Day & the UN International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination held each year on 21 March, AIYA’s Kumpul: Indigenous Engagement committee held a creative writing competition.
In 2021 the theme chosen by the UN – “Youth standing up against racism”, members were invited to submit a short piece of writing (short story, poem, speech, opinion piece etc.) that celebrated the contributions of cultural and linguistic diversity to Indonesian and Australian society. As part of AIYA’s ongoing efforts and support for reconciliation, this also offered an opportunity for reflection on inclusiveness and respect of Australia’s Indigenous cultures.
The competition was judged by published author and former journalist, Lily Yulianti Farid who is the founder and current Director of the Makassar International Writers Festival
Below we share the winning piece written by Michelle Marietta Secoa from AIYA’s Jakarta Chapter.
I.D.E.A AS IDEA BANK
By Michelle Marietta Secoa
How Inclusion, Diversity and Equity Awareness Sparks Creativity in Workplace
Imagine if human life on earth had no diversity!
All people come from the same culture, learn from the same experience, and entertain themselves with the same music. It is expectedly boring and I can’t imagine how humanity can survive if each individual adopts a similar way of thinking and acts when they encounter problems.
For me, diversity is one of the greatest gifts that our civilization can get from the Universe.
I love how Nellie Borrero, Managing Director for Global Inclusion and Diversity Accenture once stated that diversity is a fact, but inclusion is a choice to be made each day. Multiculturalism and ethnic diversity are real but sometimes people choose to let the discrimination, negative prejudice, and injustice action happens. Regardless of the challenge, I’m so proud to be one of the youths that can witness and experience how the global community is more serious about promoting diversity and maximize the practice to deliver positive contribution, especially in the modern workplace. The concept of I.D.E.A (Inclusion, Diversity and Equity Awareness) has become the real “IDEA Bank” for producing creativity and innovation in the working environment. It is reported that inclusive companies are 33% more likely to be more profitable (Mckinsey, 2017), management positions with more than 20% women lead better performing teams (BCG, 2017), and a diverse team creates better decisions 87% of the time compared to individuals (Forbes, 2017).
Indonesia and Australia are both famous because of their indigenous diversities. From my experience working with Australian in a company and youth community, I personally find two special meanings that we can reflect on how the diverse ecosystem sparks more creativity among the people. First is on how diversity grows creativity at both individual and organizational level. Creativity needs diversity. It is when employees with different ways of living and believing sit in the same room then the fresh and unique ideas can be found. Diversity is not only growing individual close mindset and narrow perspective, but also developing the whole organization to be more open with possibility of new products and resources. Back then when I was working in an Indonesia-Australia joint venture company, I needed to involve both Indonesian and Australian employees in brainstorming to create new employee engagement and internal communication programs that are relevant to each value and culture. Diverse human resources will lead organizations to consider various consumer behavior and marketing strategies.
The second is about how diversity alters the competitive mindset to creative collaboration. The most diverse experience I had is volunteering in ASEAN and Australian communities with youth across 11 countries. As part of the publication team, I’m so amazed on how the team writes in the same English language but with a different approach and angle for each article. This fact makes the publication more diverse and inclusive of many perspectives. A diverse community is like a melting pot that is so rich with visions and aspirations. The excitement of collaborating and creating something together is overwhelming the ego and arrogance.
It amazes me how diversity changes me as a person and as part of the community. In the end, all we need is not diversity talk but diversity walk. The discourse needs to be enacted in our daily life. All I can share now is how diversity makes my work and my workplace more meaningful because it sparks creativity!
Michelle Marietta Secoa is a public relations and CSR practitioner in Jakarta. She has interest in Indonesia and Australia relations because of her past experience working for a Indonesia-Australia joint venture company and volunteering in the ASEAN-Australia youth community. Michelle was also one of Indonesia’s delegates in an ASEAN-Japan youth conference in 2021.