April 25th & 26th of 2019 quickly became two of the most amazing days of my career to date. It isn’t often that one’s personal life and work life cross paths through a trip across the globe. But that is just what transpired!
For context, my father Dr. Kenneth Rauch was approached about giving a keynote at a conference in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia. A former contact and her business partner had taken on this challenge by creating the Dare to Change: Construct your Future through Digital Transformation conference.
Soon after accepting the keynote, the idea turned toward bringing his son (that’s me) along to present a breakout session as well. This made sense given my 17+ year career in technology. So in the months leading to the conference, Dr. Rauch and I collaborated on all the ways my technology career and his organizational leadership career intersected and overlapped.
As the conference took shape, the organizers learned more and more about our collective backgrounds. As the planning heated up, they quickly turned toward the concept of Dr. Rauch and I presenting the entire two day conference. On top of that, I was asked to give the day 2 keynote on my favorite topic – AGILE PRACTICE!
During the two day conference, the delegates were presented with six key topics. Each of the topics attempted to build off each other, or complement a previous topic. Our attempt was also to make these sessions as interactive as possible, so we included exercises, videos, & continuous Q&A. For a full copy of the presentation, feel free to check out this link – CLICK HERE for the Prezi. But to kick things off, check out the intro video I created to open the conference.
On the first day, we initially began with the foundation of what transformation truly means. This foundational topic allowed us to walk the delegates through an introductory understanding of how digital transformation can be enabled. Focusing on the human aspect was the primary emphasis.
After this introductory session, Dr. Rauch walked those in attendance through the topic of Cultural Intelligence (CQ). After describing CQ theory, a sample participative exercise was conducted. Upon completion of the exercise, we walked through an interactive analysis of how to interpret their individual results.
Our next journey was to dive deeper into the people side of transformation. Discussion focused on the idea that change is executed by people. We presented the concept that true innovation is achieved by finding the intersection between viability (business aspect), desirability (human aspect) & feasibility (technical aspect). Lastly we presented the concept of design thinking by showcasing the journey through empathize, define, ideate, prototype & test.
In our last session of the day, we walked through profiling the digital journey. In this session I was able to offer an introduction to Lean Startup concepts. Walking through the concept of creating a Minimally Viable Product (MVP) through validated learning. Also discussing how to utilize the build, measure, learn feedback loop model.
To kickoff day 2, I took the stage to discuss my favorite topic – Using Agile as your Digital Culture. I began by walking the delegates through an exercise to gauge their organizational readiness to adopt agile practices. From there I gave a quick history lesson on the roots of Agile. Then to wrap up the introduction to agile concepts, I showcased (in detail) the use of the Scrum framework. Lastly to finish off this topic, I shared two examples of leveraging agile practices from my career.
During our second session of the day, we presented ways that digital transformation is occurring in education. We presented the concept of micro-credentialing, digital badging & showcased an example of Scrum being used at a secondary school in the Neatherlands – eduScrum.
Also in this session we dove back into how organizations need to think about moving toward agile practices. I presented the concept that Agile is not a process. Rather it is a shift in mindset. When you focus on delivering value, validated learning & transparency your organization is ready for an innovative culture to develop and thrive.
We wrapped the conference presentations with a brief recap of the concepts that had been presented in the last session of the two days. As we left the delegates we challenged them to consider… Are you the 21st century leader who will dare to change?
To finish off the conference, Dr. Rauch and I participated in a five member forum comprised of local business leaders and government representatives. Our moderator Michael Dance (fourth from the left) took questions from the delegates and posed them to the forum. From there the forum provided feedback or experiences to those in attendance. This forum served as a fitting finally to the two day conference.
It was a great pleasure to share the stage with such accomplished individuals. We had a representative from MARii (second from left), Peter Stenberg Managing Director of Rustic Travel Group (second from the right) and Stella Matilda Editor for Parents Avenue (first from the right). Being able to understand their insight as they were fielding specific questions from delegates was amazing. They focused on real challenges faced by Malaysia businesses and it was an eye opening experience to finish off our two days.
The People & Culture
Given this was my first time traveling to Malaysia, I was not sure what to expect. Truth be told, I was blown away by the people I continued to meet. The hospitality from the conference organizers, meeting many of the delegates, and even making friends at the swim up bar all created wonderful experiences. I hope I have the good fortune to head back there someday in the future. This was a very special experience.
This adventure was phenomenal from top to bottom. Being able to share this incredible opportunity with my father was very special. But more importantly being able to share our collective experiences with the people who gathered from all over Malaysia was spectacular. As I said, I hope to return someday on my future travels. Knowing how wonderful of a place Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia is will make the long travel time that much easier!