Human on the Inside with Patrick Kidd


5 min read

We’re big believers in the power of human skills. But don’t just take our word for it – the evidence for excellence powered by human (‘soft’) skills is everywhere! In this engaging, ever-enlightening series, we speak with industry leaders, innovators and game-changers to learn a little about their personal career journeys, and how human-led strategies, philosophies and cultures are proving a force for good in their working worlds …

Welcome Patrick, and thanks for stepping into the #SuccessIsHuman Spotlight! You’re the CEO of the Digital Skills Organisation (DSO) – a Government backed entity that collaborates with industry to discover, pilot and implement innovative solutions to improve digital skills training and, ultimately, a more industry-ready digital workforce in Australia. 

In 1 sentence (ok, we’ll give you 3), what does your role entail?

First and foremost, my role at the DSO is to find better ways of uplifting the digital skills of all Australians. It is an absolute privilege to be involved with a team who is committed to shaping the future of Australia’s workforce and I look forward to the journey ahead as we strive to make meaningful change across the sector.

Prior to joining the DSO in 2020, your impressive career has included 4 years as the CEO of the Invictus Games (Sydney 2018), over five years consulting for firms such as Deloitte and Synergy 360, and almost three decades as a Soldier in the Armed Forces – 20 years for the British Army and almost 10 for the Australian Defence Force. What an eclectic adventure! How does all this work speak to your personal purpose and what drives you as an individual?

I have always relished work which has a strong sense of social purpose. I am motivated by opportunities which allow me to partner with great people, who share a common vision and who can help deliver real impact.

Tell us a little about your personal education pathway/s – what led you to where you are now? How closely do your formal qualifications match your current career?

Accidental and never scripted. Coming from a military background, I was taught to champion change and embrace opportunities in uncertainty. At heart, I am a generalist who likes to focus on the practical and enjoys getting tangible outcomes.

If you could share one piece of career advice to your 21 year old self it would be …

The same as I was given when I was 21: ‘Firm, fair and friendly’ in your dealings with people.

Maximising the potential of individuals, communities and businesses through the power of human skills is the reason Maxme exists. Can you tell us a little about the role and / or value of human skills in your workplace right now?

Like any leader, it’s important to recognise you’re only as good as the people you have in your team. Whilst there will always be much to do in a limited space of time, the foundations of any organisational success is built off the back of the human skills of your people. That’s the power of combining leadership with teamwork. Creating an environment where your team feels empowered to think for themselves, take risks and learn as they go in order to drive momentum. 

Self Awareness sets the critical foundation for all Maxme learning experiences. With that said … what’s your strongest trait / personal super power?

On many levels that’s for others to call out…however, I am a strong believer in doing good work for the right reasons. Naturally, everything else will follow.

And on the flip side, what’s one human / ‘soft’ skill you’ve had to really work on improving over the course of your career?

Communicate, communicate, communicate…A skill that can oftentimes be difficult to master, but is essential to one’s positive career development. 

If you could share one piece of career advice with recent Uni graduates or candidates keen to work at a company like the DSO, what would it be?

Know that everyone has the potential to contribute and add value no matter their background. The phrase ‘every idea is a good idea’ really does speak volumes, especially in fast paced working environments. I’d encourage anyone just starting out or looking at a career transition to continuously challenge themselves to provide input within their teams and back themselves.

You’ve been granted approval to add one University graduate to your team, but have 100 applicants, all with outstanding academic results. How do you find your perfect candidate – what are you looking for?

Passion and purpose. The person who is interested and asks questions is the person worth investing in.

In the words of John Dewey, “education is not preparation for life, education is life itself.”
What’s next on your #learning agenda?

To keep doing things which are new and exciting! Only by pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone can you really accelerate your learning.