As the acclaimed author of books such as Creative Junkies and Oh My Goodness as well as being the founder of the renowned creative consultancy OMG Creative Consulting, Yoris Sebastian is no stranger to the creative industry. Before starting on his creative journey, he was also General Manager of Hard Rock Cafe Indonesia, where was the youngest GM in Asia.
Despite his busy schedule, he always finds time for his baby projects, and one of these, Inspigo, is now ready to bring users powerful inspiration at the tips of their fingers.
Can you tell us about some of your activities now?
I always divide my time across 70 per cent for consulting, 20 per cent for workshops, and 10 per cent for baby projects. Now, my latest baby project has increased in proportion. It’s called Inspigo and is a mobile application as a form of podcasts—but the difference is that unlike the long podcasts we are used to, Inspigo consists of short inspirational podcasts, kind of like the tracks on an album. So, we divided one topic into several themes with the intention of giving short but powerful inspirations for people on the go. I created Inspigo with busy cities like Jakarta, Singapore, and Bangkok in mind, where traffic jams are usually a problem.
What makes Inspigo different from the live seminars you are doing?
When I’m doing seminars, I will talk a lot, but my reach will be limited to the audience that is present in the room, whereas the inspirations in Inspigo will never disappear: the content will always be in your phone. But remember that Inspigo is not intended to replace seminars. Seminars have other elements that Inspigo doesn’t have, such as photo sessions, videos, and Q&As, but for those who haven’t got the chance to attend my seminars, they can listen to Inspigo. Also, you can find influential individuals from various kinds of industry to talk about various things, so it is very interesting to be able to hear their thoughts. One of the business media dubbed us as the pioneer of snackable content and I would like to add that Inspigo is a pioneer of snackable content but each bite will deliver powerful inspirations [laughs].
How do you make sure that the contents being published in Inspigo are accurate?
I observe that in radio, there's not a lot of presenters that come from journalistic background and in Inspigo, we need a touch of journalism because our contents will stay forever. Journalists are used to find facts whereas radio is associated more with an entertaining media. So I often tell my radio presenters that if they are not sure of something, make sure they pause and browse to search for the right facts before they continue taping.
Tell us more about your consulting work.
My consulting work now takes around 70 per cent of my time, and now I’m doing a theme park project that is estimated to be completed in 2020/2021. The location is still a secret, and this will be a local theme park, so it’s not going to be Disneyland or Universal [laughs]. I always wondered why Indonesia does not have an internationally known theme park like Universal. An excellent example is in Japan, where in Tokyo they have Disneyland, and in Osaka they have Universal. Both attract millions of tourists every year.
Other than that, we also do a lot of internal innovation awards, which are intended to make creativity an integral part of a company’s culture. We are trying to change the companies in Indonesia to stop adopting a structure that looks like an ancient kingdom and that rely on one “king” to control everything.
Can you briefly explain your philosophy as the leader of a creative consultancy?
I want to make more people creative. The idea is that we are selling concepts and creativity. We always focus on clients who are brave enough to do something unproven. If we are do something that has already been proven, we are just a copycat right? However, it is important to note that we do look for references—but not copy them.
So what is the idea behind the book ‘Generation Langgas’?
Actually, there are many books on creativity and millennials on the market. But for millennials’ books, I noticed that we only have translated versions from other countries. Another important reason is because of the demographic bonus that will happen in 2020: the first time ever in Indonesia. However, the demographic bonus will only happen if the millennials are all productive. What I am worried about is that millennials are not productive, which might be attributed to how their parents raised them. I always tell millennials that if their parents spoiled them too much, they will not survive in the future.
Are there any new books coming up after Generasi Langgas?
This year, I will hopefully release my first novel, which will be based on a true story. It will be taken from my own personal stories, actually. The reason I decided to create a novel after years of creating non-fiction books is because I needed to learn first. When I created my first non-fiction book back in 2010, I had to learn for two and a half years before I could publish it. By now, I have created around nine non-fiction books and my 10th book will be the upcoming novel that I am writing right now.
For this novel, I learned for three years through countless writing courses and interviews with popular Indonesian authors such as Dewi Lestari and Sundari. I asked these authors about what kind of books they were reading and their answers had a similar thread. They prepare a lot by reading books on how to properly write a novel. Usually what happened after the preparation period is that I got worried due to the many ideas I had accumulated—yet I only had a 200-page limit to write [laughs].
In Generasi Langgas, you talk about the Japanese concept of “ikigai”. Can you explain about that?
The point is that I want millennials to be productive and happy at the same time. In ikigai there are four questions and one of them is about passion. Wanting to become rich is not wrong, I just want to emphasise that despite the money, don’t forget all the things you do in life that are important for your health and happiness.
What do you do to prevent writer’s block?
Actually, no matter if you want to become a consultant or a writer, it’s the same thing. Preparation is key. For my first non-fiction book, I learned for two and a half years, right? But the actual writing process took me six months. So, the preparation should be longer. And the other thing I do is that every time I get an idea, I write it in a book.
Can you elaborate more on your statement “think outside of the box but execute inside the box”?
Despite the many creative books in Indonesia, my ideas come from personal stories that I combine as a statement, which is that in order to be creative, we should think out the box but execute the idea inside the box. This statement is based on science, too, as thinking outside the box uses the right brain and executing ideas inside the box uses the left brain. For example, if I was asked to create ideas for Indonesia Tatler and Hitsss, both will need different concepts, right? But thinking creatively should not be limited at the beginning. So, I will write down everything that comes to my mind first without discriminating, and when I am about to execute, I choose the most realistic idea.
Curious to know more about Yoris Sebastian? Wait for our second part of the interview coming up soon. Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter so you won’t miss out!