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I have often been impressed by the large number of creative and innovative minds at SAP. Surprisingly, most of those minds are quite unknown both inside and outside of SAP. Furthermore – and unfortunately – their work is often as unknown as they are. Learning about such work has always been energizing and inspiring for me. Couldn’t it be the same for others? Couldn’t it be that by sharing it, exposing it to numerous and diverse backgrounds and eyes, and discussing about it inside and outside of SAP, when applicable, such work could inspire others, spread creativity and innovativeness to others and benefit to the entire SAP Community Network?

Seven years of  SAP TechEd Demo Jam competitions have made ideas and innovative work of the SAP communities more visible and have significantly grown in interest and participation over the years. Unfortunately those competitions are not well suited for all types of ideas and work: finalists and winners are most likely those with entertaining or visual demos. How could we bring more light, a window, to all types of ideas and work?

This is what a few of us at SAP have started to work on about 6 months ago.

We never had any doubt that the SAP Community Network web site could be a potential channel: SCN is huge, the communities are diverse with SAP employees, customers, partners and others, and the SCN web site is popular. That’s where we started to look.

In SCN we found several areas that were already sharing about innovation at SAP, some of them like the BusinessObjects Innovation Center having become quite popular. Unfortunately those areas are not connected to each other and sometimes not obvious to relate to innovation.

Initial thoughts led us on a path to create two new areas on SDN: one about SAP’s Technology Strategy, to share about the work of my team, and another one about innovation, to share as much as possible about the work of all SAP innovation teams. Our objective was to reuse as much as possible of existing areas and content when both possible and appropriate.

After some further thoughts some of us had some doubts that the SAP’s Technology Strategy would be dynamic enough to deserve its own independent area. We soon decided to combine the Technology Strategy area and the Innovation area into a single one that we would call Technology Innovation.

And here we are: after a few months and several iterations with several colleagues and SAP mentors, we are ready to launch the new Technology Innovation area.

Its main features are: SAP’s Technology Strategy, an innovation news series that features a new innovation – project, prototype, idea, scientific paper, etc.  – every week or 2 weeks and, a video series that features SAP executives speaking about hot technology topics such as On Demand, Mobile, Cloud management, Virtualization infrastructure, In-Memory. In addition we list all the different ways in which anyone from SCN could get involved in Technology Innovation and co-innovate with SAP.

Check it out and tell us what you think on Idea Place.I hope that the new area will bring more light on all creative ideas and work of SAP employees and members of SAP Community Network. I hope that the new area will “dial-up” your desire to team up with all of us at SAP whose mission is to make SAP innovate more, faster and better.

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  1. Marilyn Pratt
    Glad to see this launch here and your announcement.  Many years ago, when I edited the Technology pages for SDN I dreamed that there would be a more community-driven instance on the website.  Looks like you are providing the environment.
    Congratulations to you and your team (which includes our Craig Cmehil) and kudos.
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  2. Otto Gold
    Hello,
    i welcome any innovative activity, but if you really care about the innovation which could come from your internal SAP colleagues, in my opinion you should launch an internal Idea place (if you don´t have one already).
    “Ordinary” people are the right source of the innovations, any video will do not help in any way. Videos don´t work people do.
    Anyway, hope to see what comes next.
    Best regards Otto
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    1. Anne Hardy Post author
      Hi Otto.
      We have been working on the internal Idea Place and we are almost there. I agree with you that once this works we’ll have broader visibility on innovation at SAP and therefore make our pipeline more diverse and interesting.
      I thought that the video series of executives or experts would offer easy to consume content and explanations on hot topics for SAP and the IT industry. Are you against the videos or is that the “executives” speaking that you don’t like very much?
      -anne
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      1. Otto Gold
        I am not against anything, I like to build things and would never say anything bad about the ideas of others. As I said, that could help. But it´s more about the marketing, visibility etc. And I would prefer some “hard work”.
        If I could decide about the budget, I would support the team working on the internal IP. Watching video is passive, you don´t build. But working on ideas is creative, team work and fun.
        I heard some crazy stories about SAP people who had some great ideas, who developed nice “toys”, demos etc. To be more specific, some of those things were somthing I would LOVE to see to be a part of the NetWeaver “content”.
        Your employees have the brains, have the ideas, have the proofs of concepts/demos etc. They only have to be listened and you will not believe what ideas you will get.
        By the way… another story about SAP… you´re a big company, right? Zillions of teams on multiple continents… Isn´t it true that you could spare some money if the people who don´t know about each other would not work on a duplicate work/development?
        The Idea place could at least tell the others what I am working on (and if he works on the same, we can deliver more or cut the costs…).
        By the way, I am not a native speaker and am afraid my posts could sound somewhat not polite enough. It is not like that, I am only trying to say something useful. Hope you can excuse me.
        Looking forward to hear your IP is out and promise to watch the videos:)) I value the effort and hope to hear it brought you back nice feelings (a personal wish) and help the people to create new things for our customers (a professional wish:)).
        Best regards, Otto
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        1. Anne Hardy Post author
          Otto,

          I really welcome your input. Don’t worry about the language. I am not a native english speaker myself. I take note of your wish to see and witness “hard work”. We’ll try to be as concrete as possible, showing real stuff that works. The innovation series should bring that but you’re right: ideally our new great stuff should make it to hte products. And some really do make it into products.
          Keep coming back with more ideas and make sure you use Idea Place.

          -anne

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