Survival of the Fittest

“They say that the best blaze burns brightest, when circumstances are at their worst”
—Howl’s Moving Castle, a film by Hayao Miyazaki

Creative, an adjective in Indonesian, the dictionary translates it as follows: “Relating to, or involving imagination or original ideas, especially in the realm of the creation of a work of artistic value”. While creativity, is a verb by which the dictionary translates as, “The use of imagination or an original idea, especially in the realm of the creation of a work that has artistic value”. There are some keywords that can be highlighted from the above understandings, among other things, “imagination, ideas and creation.”

If drawn in the realm of people’s daily lives, we interpret creativity as one’s power of struggle to get out of trouble in the precarious state, by simple and common way, but it is not easily thought of by others. Creativity is a movement collected routinely, though small, then to turn into a real action, gives impact, in the midst of all the difficulties faced.

Creativity is also a group of youths today that with all aesthetic and alluring visual approach, trying to create new popular cultures. Contemporary youths are flocking to show off the physical beauty and cosmetics, unique, cutting edge.

In the end, the meaning of creative and creativity will certainly be different, evolving according to the conditions of the era, or adjust with cultural climate, also the pattern of the power of a region. Global trends affecting up to a local scale has now helped shaping the artifacts of creativity. Digital era that rapidly accelerates and alters the patterns of human relationships, also colors the meaning of creative and creativity. The era we are facing together today is a leap that is really far when it is compared with five to ten years back. With the convenience offered by technology and the digital world, all became fast-paced, almost instantaneous, completely possible and easy. This pattern also penetrated into every aspect of social life, all are affected from lifestyle, behavior patterns, working patterns, up to economic patterns.

The trend of fast-paced and easy then impacts on communities and society in general. Now the competition is getting tougher. How then can society stand against the current of development that is fast-paced and instant? Inevitably, the people through their communities need to move more agile, faster, at least in reading potential and the problems they have and face. With a little imagination, ideas, courage, and of course collaboration, awareness to move based on the problem solving mindset should begin to be built.

Riset Indie captures this phenomenon as the data for consideration in designing the program of CreativeNet Bandung. Bandung city since the construction of Pasupati flyover and Cipularang Toll Road (post-2004) has greatly changed. Bandung formerly lush green, quiet, and its residents living peacefully, has been slowly changing its look. Pasupati flyover has very quickly remodeled the face of Dago, art deco housing has switched to Factory Outlet, banks, hotels and restaurants. Moreover since Cipularang toll road opened, more people come from Jakarta the capital for recreation. Originally they look for fresh air, search for city lights with the atmosphere of mountains, over time they come to invest to buy land, build villas, boarding houses, apartments, hotels, elite residential areas, restaurants, and other recreational places. Our land is depleted, our water is receding, our waste is abundant. The patterns of relationships and power in Bandung city then have shifted, with law enforcement that is weak, investors of landowners is now ruling to make anything, turning the wheels of economy as they like, not turning back to local communities.

Through baseline research and assessment process, as well as Focus Group Discussion, CreativeNet Bandung decides to assist and collaborate with the two communities located in the area of ​​North Bandung, including the administrative area of ​​Bandung Regency. Equipped with the current situation and the data in hand, we decide to collaborate with the communities and experiment with the methods of “Design Thinking” in finding a solution. “Design Thinking” eventually becomes our choice because this method allows users in determining priorities, which problem to be solved first, and encourage participants to rapidly produce a prototype to be evaluated and refined more quickly as well. “Design Thinking” is also deemed suitable, considering the time for mentoring and interaction with the community is a relatively short in the program. This method also encourages participants to do a lot of collaboration with other communities and external parties such as expert practitioners, academics, artists, business people, and others.

Two selected communities are the community of Tani Cipta Mandiri Group and Paguyuban Ajen Sunda Seja Raharja (PASSER). Both have similar issues although not the same, namely the issue of land conversion and about reclaiming their land; not by protesting, violence, or buy back, but by increasing the mindset capacity of its members to be problem solvers for doing action than keeping ideas.

Cipta Mandiri, Ciburial village, Bandung Regency.
Tani Cipta Mandiri Group no longer owns the land they farm. The land where they live and the land they work on has been owned by the businessmen. Due to the generosity of the businessmen and situations that support, they can still live on the land even cultivate the land into fields of their livelihood. Being repeatedly cheated and abandoned by agricultural investors has made them dull and less productive. Through a collaborative process, we then tried a new mindset, “What if we stop relying on the funding of the investors and start from the small, by ensuring the farming is running and the crop is sold?”. Through this process then the prototype of “Small Market” was born, it is an organic vegetable subscription system by paying in advance.
Paguyuban Ajen Sunda Seja Raharja, Kampung Sekepicung, Ciburial Village, Bandung Regency.
The land of settlement of PASSER members is increasingly narrow because many of their land are bought by investors and developers. Most of livelihood has turned into cafe workers. With a background of experience as hooligans of Sekepicung, it is a strategic step that they are then asked to become parking attendants as well security men of local cafes. Promised payment by the cafe owners also includes ration of alcohol, several bottles to a few crates. PASSER is then formed to facilitate young people who want to change for the better. They stopped drinking and drunkenness, to help people around, then to improve the life of Kampung Sekepicung, against the scour of investors. Together with CreativeNet Bandung, PASSER then collaborates to make a prototype model of integrated farming to increase the bargaining power of Kampung Sekepicung against the cafe owners.

Throughout the program of CreativeNet Bandung, both communities are facilitated to meet the parties supporting the success of the prototype and network with many parties. In addition, community friends are also given the opportunity for study visit to other communities that have already managed, to learn directly from the experienced.

During the process, the method of “Design Thinking” is considered much help in streamlining the process to achieve the goal of prototyping solution, applying strategy to deal with not much time of mentoring. But how to pack this method in order to feel more “local” and make the community easy to accept it is another challenge that will continue to be our focus.

Finally, we would like to quote a statement that we feel quite describing the current social phenomenon, associated with the era development, and how the public should anticipate.

“Disruptive and innovative, collaborative consumption is shifting the lines of the economy. The digital revolution has resulted in the usage of objects being valued more than ownership.”

At this point, the collaboration process can be said to be a process that is essential if we wish to move forward and compete with capital or any ruler. Through collaboration, one community can sharpen other community; one thought is with other thought. Through collaboration a proverb saying “tote the same weight, carry the same light” feels true to be realized. And at times like this, it does not matter who owns what, what is more important is how we unite to utilize existing assets, whatever minimum, in various ways. Ownership does not become too important, which is important how we outsmart and take advantage of existing opportunities. Due to creativity, we will always be able to see the gap. From the gap we can create opportunities. And as long as opportunities are created, we can continue to survive.

Amanda Mita
On behalf of Riset Indie team, for CreativeNet Bandung.

* a term used to describe the workings of the universe; who is the most adaptive, he will survive.

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