Wahyu Aditya

Ashoka Fellow
Fellow since 2013
This description of Wahyu Aditya's work was prepared when Wahyu Aditya was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2013 .


Indonesian education system offers limited chance for people to foster their creativity skills. The situation is worsened with the fact that there’s no institution to consistently teach creativity and display local creative crafts. Wahyu Aditya develops a mechanism to cultivate young creative talents, embracing themselves to gain economic benefit from the new emerging creative economy industry in Indonesia.

The New Idea

In preparing a new generation of innovators, Wahyu builds an alternative ecosystem for young people to nurture and develop their creativity skills. Through the development of non-formal school for animation and creativity – the first of its kind in Indonesia, Wahyu is fostering creative skills and cultivating young talents feeding the newly emerging creative industry. Applying a simple yet effective creativity and animation curriculum, anyone can gain skills in a short period of time with an affordable price. For further outreach Wahyu strengthens government formal vocational schools with curriculum on multimedia and equips Islamic Boarding schools with creativity learning and introduction to new skills on animation. At least 2,500 young people and thousands more from the formal schools have gained the skills. And some these young talents have taken their career path in developing their own small businesses in the creative industry.

To boost the growing numbers of young talents with their innovative products, Wahyu set up a creative platform as a hub for creative talents, general public and the industry to meet and engage. Through this new platform, young talents have both gained support from and inspired the wider society and the creative industry. This mechanism has thus leveraged the economic benefits for all players. The online and offline platforms he developed have become a productive outlet to reach out a wider audience and spur the creativity learning. He also developed a virtual homebase as part of building a social movement around creative design. The platform grew into a massive campaign on nationalism through designs for t-shirts and other products. There are 10,000 digital creators actively participate in the creative design movement including strong 50,000 Facebook & Twitter followers engaging in the spread of the movement vision.

Wahyu works closely with the government to develop and support creative talents across the country. In addition to the creative education, he also works with the newly set up Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy helping the staff understand about the creative economy. Through the partnership he’s able to send out best creative talents to foreign festivals with supports from the government. To give wider impact internationally, he is now setting up some cooperation agenda with other governments from England and Japan.

The Problem

Even though already embarked on an impressive growth trajectory since the reform in 1998, Indonesia’s low quality of human resources still held back the country’s competitiveness. Recent World Bank’s report stated that Indonesia’s labor force do not have enough skills to succeed in today’s market, including among others critical and creative thinking and ICT skills. Indonesia’s education system, which holds a critical function in supplying the workforce, has not yet fostered creativity skills. This affects young people to have difficulties in expressing and articulating ideas virtually. The inability to provide these skills has, therefore, hindered employment opportunities for young people.

The Government of Indonesia recently realized creative economic potentials for job creation, poverty eradication, increasing the national income, and nurturing nationalism. However, education institutions are not yet integrating creativity learning. Rather they are heavily reliant on testing and assessment, run standalone subjects such as arts, rely on memorizing texts, which eventually dampens student’s creativity. There are multimedia vocational schools newly set up by the government to nurture creative talents, however, there is no proper resources and training for teachers. To learn animation, for example, people needs to go to university or study abroad – and both options are expensive. There are no multiple pathways for skill development for youth.

The government has committed to the development of creative economy and issued the President Instruction No. 6 Year 2009 which is followed by setting up a new Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy in 2011. The government officials of this new Ministry, nonetheless, does not have the knowledge about creative economy and how to develop the industry which resulted to production of unclear policy direction. Animation as a branch of creative industry is hardly developed in Indonesia despite the huge market. The products are highly imported with no local content. For those, who already started to produce have no outlets to display their work, or any TV shows or regular festivals to link them with the audience.

The Strategy

To bring about his idea Wahyu developed a three-pronged strategy including nurturing new talents, opening up hubs as outlets and partnership with governments for the implementation of the new regulatory framework.

He started his work by establishing school of design and animation called HelloMotion Academy (www.hellomotion.com/‎) to grow creative talents. Instilling his experience in the animation and creative industry in Indonesia he developed an efficient curriculum and set up short courses, which takes only months to finish with affordable price. Through the school he has engaged dropout students, high school students, banker to housewives to learn about animation while still doing their main activities. Now people don’t have to study in the university or abroad to foster their creative skills and learn about animation. Since the HelloMotion Academy started in 2004, it has more than 2,500 alumni. Many of them are now passionately working in the animation industry. Some of the graduates teach the subject voluntarily at the Vocational Schools and Islamic Boarding Schools. The Professional teachers from HelloMotion Academy train employees from big companies about visual communication.

Early this year, HelloMotion Academy launched an e-learning platform on Facebook and Twitter called “Kreatips Menggambar” or “Creative Tips on Drawing” (fb.com/kreatips or #kreatips on Twitter). The purpose of this online platform is to open up opportunities for everyone to exercise their creativity skill through drawing. Everyone online is invited to challenge themselves to draw. Within a week, the activity attracted 1,800 people and many say that this has made them realise that drawing is not about talent – but it’s a skill anyone can learn.

In 2004, Wahyu launched HelloFest – it started out as a graduation day for the academy’s first batch graduates, but it’s now a yearly huge festival on pop culture. With a concept of creating a hub between creators and early-adopter of the creation in one event, the festival engaged at least 20,000 people in one day event. Through this interaction, Wahyu has created a channel to deliver ideas to the public and it becomes the aggregator of various agents in the creative industry to gather and expose themselves. The number of creative talents involved is growing every year – from a few when it started in 2004 to 300 short films and animation entering the competition last year. HelloFest invites people promoting creative designs. There are more than one thousand people coming to the festival with their imaginary costumes, making HelloFest the biggest cosplay (short for "costume play", is a type of performance art in which participants wear costume and accessories to represent a specific character or idea from a work of fiction) event in Indonesia. The total transaction accumulated in the last festival was 2 billion rupiahs.

Wahyu moved to another stage by creating a creative platform titled “Kementerian Desain Republik Indonesia (KDRI)” – an imaginary ministry of design. This has became the virtual homebase of people’s social activism. It was started by a criticism over the official logos and then suggestions for more creative ones. The platform grew into a massive campaign of nationalism through t-shirts or other creative products. There are 10,000 digital creators actively participate in creative movements initiated by KDRI. And there are a strong 50,000 Facebook and Twitter followers who share KDRI’s vision. This virtual home has enabled anyone to design t-shirts with local characters. He receives 50-60 designs from across the archipelago every day. The chosen design will be produced in t-shirts and sold at KDRI stores, both online and offline, in Jakarta, Banten, Malang and Denpasar.

He is building a region wise network by engaging as a jury and committee member of a Tokyo-based organisation ASIAGRAPH. Through this network he has been able to choose dozens of Indonesia’s best animation to compete in Asia Pacific region. Indonesia has won the award twice from ASIAGRAPH. Wahyu also works closely with local associations such as Asosiasi Penyelenggara Multimedia Indonesia (APMI) or Indonesian Association of Multimedia Provider and Asosiasi Industri Animasi dan Kreatif Indonesia (AINAKI) or Indonesian Association of Animation and Creative Industry.

He developed a strong partner with government institutions, like the Ministry for Tourism and Creative Economy. Through this, he’s able to send out best creative talents to foreign festivals with supports from the government. He spread the creativity learning to formal education system at the vocational schools with the school’s multimedia curriculum. He is also supporting young people studying at Islamic boarding schools (pesantren) with the new skills on animation. In the upcoming years he is planning to spread his idea to other Islamic Boarding Schools. He is also building a partnernship with the governments of UK and Japan to open up the network with the local talents, conduct promotion and engage with the industry. Recently he published a book on creativity, which has already been reprinted for a total of 10,000 books spread across Indonesia. The book has inspired lots of young people to be more creative.

The Person

Wahyu was born as the youngest of two in Malang. His father is a specialist doctor in microbiology and a professor at the University of Brawijaya, Malang. His hobby is drawing and singing which have drove his interest in arts. As a medical doctor his father opened up his office located quite far away from home. He learned from his father about helping the poor by waiving the service fee. So when he went home he brought a lot of fruits and vegetables from his patients as the barter for the fee.

His mother owns a recruitment agency for migrant workers, working hard until midnight to make sure that thousands of female migrant workers recieve their ideal salary abroad. From these experiences, he learned that it’s important to have a career with a big impact to the society. And seeing his mother struggled with her own business drove him to wanting to have his own business. His parents fully support him to make his own career according to his passion. He felt so precious to be given the opportunity.

For his education his parents sent him to Catholic schools since playgroup to junior high school. Through this he learned how it became a minority – as one of the handful Muslim child from Javanese ethic to make friends with a majority of Chinese school mates who are mostly Catholic. He further learned about diversity and independence when he studied in Sydney, Australia. When Wahyu was at the 1st grade of elementary school, he won the first prize from a drawing competition. It was the moment when drawing became a fun thing to do and he felt appreciated. He started learning drawings with lots of references, actively participated in competition and challenged himself to explore new things from drawings. His parents English Course has exposed him to the idea of providing education to people.

His favorite subject at school is arts because he can draw many things during class – or when the teacher was not in so he can draw more. He made his first comic strip in junior high school. He drew his schoolmates who often bullied others, and transformed them into superheroes in his comic – as he believed there must be some good points out of everyone. The comic strip was distributed from one friend to another and they were all happy with the comic. During high school, he was offered the opportunity to design an official sports shirt for school. He created a cool shirt and everyone was proud to wear the shirts even outside and off school time. It was one of the first moments when 1,000 people wore his first creation that moved him to always add some positive values for the society. He was then active designing the school music performance decorations, student newspaper and magazine display boards, sports team shirt and the official school letterhead.

He really enjoyed his university time as he was given the chance to study art in Australia. It was because he learned things he really likes, not because he was forced to do so. He kept studying even though it took him 1-hour walk from home to reach the university. He gained the “Best Student Award” at his university – it’s something he couldn’t reach during elementary to high school. At the university he joined a sharing online community.

Right after graduated he worked at the national Trans-TV Company. Working there has broadened his perspective about the creative world and exposed to the problem that cored in the education system. Here he learned that there is a mismatch of the workforce quality supplied by the education system and the need of the creative industry. People who have passion in arts and want to foster their skill need a lot of money and take a lot of time to learn creative design, animation and other creative economy skills needed by the industry. There is no school available in Indonesia. It then moved Wahyu to quit from his job and decided to start his own school, HelloMotion at the age of 24. Through developing the education system, he envisions to see more young talents to emerge feeding the needs of the emerging industry. For his work he was awarded the International Young Creative Entrepreneur from the British Council.