Tan Jiunn Wen
IEC Program Development and Research Manager
Currently as Program Development and Research Manager in Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center (IEC). He joined as Teaching Assistant at ASB since January 2018. After graduating from MIT he was drawn back to Malaysia with a specific goal of building an educational platform to help underprivileged students gain better financial literacy. Working with Teach for Malaysia he was able to narrow in on the issue and hopes ASB will be the next step in guiding him towards his pedagogical pursuits.
In a few sentences tell us what you do? Or what your typical day looks like here?
I measure the impact of our innovation intervention programs and then help to develop our current programs to suit the needs of corporate companies based on the data analysis. During my typical day, I design and analyze questionnaires, research on impacts of innovation in corporate world, and develop Arduino related contents for our programs.
What project are you currently working on?
Our team are currently working on Zero2Maker Kedah program where we outreach to 10 government secondary schools in Kedah, Malaysia to kickstart maker spaces in the schools. I interviewed 14 teachers who involved in this program and collected survey data from 157 students to understand the school needs. I am also helping to answer Arduino related questions from the students.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I enjoyed that I could have close interaction with the school kids who I am always passionate in and able to work in a well-equipped fabrication lab to develop my hobby in DIY prototyping. Our team run innovation intervention programs to both school kids and corporate companies. It is eye-opening to experience first-hand on how innovative mindset can be inculcated in both different yet similar settings.
What are you most proud of so far?
During the past September, I got a chance to facilitate in an innovation intervention workshop in Singapore for 30 central bankers coming from different countries in Asia Pacific. I am proud that I was able to guide one of the teams in a mini innovation challenge on how to translate their ideas into coding logic in Arduino and then the finished working prototype. It was satisfying to be involved in the process and saw that these central bankers committed to the technical challenge which stretched them outside of their expertise.
Why did you choose to join ASB?
After attending MIT I returned to Malaysia to teach secondary school for underprivileged students. The first thing I care is the lack of English language skills the local students had. After the fellowship, I realized that given their environment they would not necessarily gain much from better language skills. From my experience teaching, I realized that the most important education these students were missing was financial literacy. I came to ASB to better understand how to set up an educational platform for these Malaysian students to learn financial literacy while simultaneously being able to sustain my passion for education.
What do you think are the most important qualities for someone to have to excel at being a program development and research manager at ASB?
One of the essential qualities in this position is to be able handle the fast pace of the program planning and execution. Just like a startup, our team deal with different program requirements and have to adapt quickly to the dynamic of the working environment.
What is the biggest challenge you face as a program development and research manager?
The most challenging part of my current role is to juggle between analyzing survey data, building my capacity in coding and electronics, as well as interacting with students and teachers. There are so much more for me to learn about how to create and sustain innovation in a company and how to embrace the innovative mindset in my work and personal development. It has been a rewarding journey so far with so much things I can learn from the team.
What do you think is the most unique aspect of ASB?
The fact that cultural and intellectual diversity is welcomed and seen as advantageous here at ASB are what stands out to me most. I think ASB sets a great example for other Malaysian companies in this respect.