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Author's profile photo Richard Hirsch

Why I’m attending InnovationWeekend

Many of you may think that this year’s SAPTecheds begins on Tuesday. However, there is an exciting pre-TechEd event called Innovation Weekend (IW) which I am going to attend. The IW is a 30-hour long event where partipants will apply their knowledge, skills, and process expertise to a real business case, helping enable specific use cases.

 Here are some of my personal reasons for attending this event:

  1. You get to play with cool SAP technology.  Many of you might be thinking “That is what the Hands-On sessions are for”. Well, the difference between the Hands-On sessions and IW is that in the Hands-On sessions there are usually tasks that you have to complete that have been selected by the class instructor – the goal being that you can learn how to use the new technology. In the IW, on the other hand, you can use the technology in a manner of your choosing.  You can use the technology to solve real-world problems (as seen in the selected business cases) rather than examples that are there to demonstrate the technology’s functionality. 
  2. You can work with other community members in a collaborative setting. Of course, you get assistance from others in the community when they answer your forum questions but this really isn’t collaboration. In the IW, you will work together in teams to build a prototype.  I’ve experienced this sort of intense collaboration in the early days of What I learned from the Demo Jam in Berlin: The importance of team communication, and let me tell you it is exhilarating. Being under pressure to create a working prototype in only 30 hours should be even more exciting. For those of us who work in large corporations, the ability to taste the rarified air of life in a start-up is worth the price of admission on its own.
  3. The focus on non-profit organizations. All the business cases are focused on the real world problems of such organizations. Taking account the resource restrictions -financial, staffing, etc – of these groups forms a major part of the solution design.  Ideally, such groups will be able to re-use the prototypes developed by the IW teams.
  4. The teams are a mixture of different types of community members. Each team will hopefully include developers, process experts and Business Objects experts. By themselves, each community “personality” wouldn’t stand a chance – only working together can they hope to create a functional prototype that also meets the business needs of non-profit organizations
  5. The use of hyper agile methodology. Each team has only 30 hrs to create a prototype. The challenge of deciding which development methodology to use is going to be on the most interesting choices that each team must make.

There is still time to sign-up for the IW in Berlin or Las Vegas.  I hope to see you there.

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      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      It all adds up to be a lot of fun.

      I was trying to explain to a co-worker why I would want to do something like this.  The best answer I could come up with is that we constantly design for someone else requirements.  I these cases we are building based on the requirements we have.   We can use the business cases or decide to do something different.

      I'm looking forward to it!


      Author's profile photo Dennis Howlett
      Dennis Howlett
      Being a cynical type I wonder the extent to which SAP freely benefits from feedback it is acquiring during a time when most people would be at home with their families. But then I guess they've calculated that if the carrot is big enough then people will give up some of their real lives.
      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Ouch!  I'm not from SAP.

      Well - I do know that these solutions will be provided to non-profit organizations.   I also know they will be a part of code share.

      So SAP may benefit - but "we" (the community) will too.  I have a family.   But a weekend away will be OK.   I know I have to take time for myself.  Part of the time for myself is having fun.

      This is fun for me.  🙂  The carrot is indeed long for me.


      Author's profile photo Jim Spath
      Jim Spath
      First, thanks Dick Hirsch for posting this blog - saves me the pain of using the SAP jive blogging tool.  Michelle, if you have not engaged either Dick or Dennis on SAP Mentor sessions they are both witty and incisive.  If you don't catch them at this TechEd, perhaps you will at ASUG 2011.
      I had planned my flight prior to this weekend event shaping up, and was still on the fence about either attending, or doing sightseeing in Germany.  I've chosen to hang with my peers for several reasons.  As Gretchen likes to say "what's in it for me, and for my company".
      For me, I will have a lot of fun, see old friends, make new ones.  Hard to do that on a museum tour.  For my company, I'll get a vision into future SAP technology trends, get more solid contacts both inside and outside SAP, and perhaps I'll take home a few tricks to fix current issues.
      As many know, Craig Cmehil's role has changed recently.  His days administering and promoting the SAP community network are, if not over completely, put on a new track.  He's managing "innovation." And this weekend is pretty much his baby - partly a hacker night, partly a community day, partly like an auto "car show" and also a little controlled chaos.
      Am I going to give SAP free advice?  Sure, but not for the pizza and drinks.  I'm hoping to put the kibosh on out-of-the-mainstream "products" like streamwork, and to use more common carrier tools like twitter instead of that build-and-throw-away "I'm going to TechEd" site I haven't figured out yet.
      It sounds like we'll miss you in Berlin, Dennis.  That's too bad, though I'm glad you're the first follower of my Innovation Weekend SAP TechEd 2010 - Berlin list 😉


      Author's profile photo Bala Prabahar
      Bala Prabahar
      Thanks for your comments.I already see why I should attend IW. I reviewed StreamWork and a bit surprised to see your comments equating it to Twitter. I am not debating your comment; however I would like to discuss this with people like you (I know you're not attending Las Vegas, a loss for me). I've a different perspective than you on StreamWork. It(StreamWork) looks more like (more than) Project Management tool(with an ability to add tools for the resource management such as Agenda, Time Management, Timeline, Responsbility Matrix etc). I don't believe it is just a collaboration tool(sametime or netmeeting or facebook or twitter are collaboration tools). I've seen others calling StreamWork as a collaboration tool. Not sure why. (may be my understanding of what a collaboration tool is different from others).
      I hope to get a clear understanding of what different tools(slipstream for BPM, code-x etc) are(+ an opportunity to meet a few great people) during IW.
      I envy those who still enjoy work/life balance. For IW, not only I'll be away from my family during that w/e but also I spent a part of last w/e and several evenings preparing for the event.

      Good luck in Berlin!

      Author's profile photo Richard Hirsch
      Richard Hirsch
      Blog Post Author
      I don't know whether the carrot is provided by SAP or comes from those participating. How many opportunities do members of a community really have to really get together and collaborate - create something?  Usually, such collaboration takes places virtually. When the opportunity presents itself to work together in one physical location, why not use this chance?


      Author's profile photo Richard Hirsch
      Richard Hirsch
      Blog Post Author
      LOL - sorry about that Freudian slip - it should be "hopeless" instead of "helpless"
      Author's profile photo Craig Cmehil
      Craig Cmehil
      I was wondering when someone would ask this question and the answer is of course nothing straight forward.

      For SAP it's an opportunity to show and give access to some technology that is barely "customer ready" let alone something you could get your hands on as it is so we will benefit from early stage feedback.

      For customers and partners it's their chance to get theirs hands involved in technology when there is still the chance to influence the first edition coming out to them as well as get to meet some of the folks actually building and creating these things.

      For SAP there is of course the goodwill and CSR nature of the target category we chose with Public Sector and a chance for us to work together with the community to help others.

      For the community we hope it's a conflict free choice in terms of the target category. It's also a chance to "give back" to the greater whole while doing something many of them simply love to do - work with tech.

      The prototypes are being added to and hosted in the SAP Code Exchange which launches publicly in Berlin thus everyone who has signed the ToU for the platform has free access to those prototypes and code.

      Work life balance was of course the hardest and toughest choice on this and we're unfortunately missing some of the core community influencers and even some of our own experts and that's fine we want people to be with their families - one reason we chose right before TechEd was simply because most are traveling already and we thought combining it (you can come to the event without attending SAP TechEd as well) might make it easier for some. As opposed of course to hosting another event at some other time of the year and taking people away again from their families and day jobs.

      Do we have it all figured out? Nope, not at all some of what we are doing is riding on faith and hope as we've not done this before but just like getting out their and sharing innovation, technology strategy and trying to be open you got to start somewhere!


      Author's profile photo Witalij Rudnicki
      Witalij Rudnicki
      Not being able to bring my family to LV this time is exactly the reason for not attending InnoWeek 🙁 IW is obviously not "work", but rather lots of fun, so it is an act of "life/life" balancing.