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Last year in Phoenix, we had 3 parallel events catering to developers, BPXers and BOBJ gang. I really thought it was a wasted opportunity to keep three communities in silos. I blogged about it, and also spoke briefly to Marilyn Pratt on the topic.

 

I honestly did not have high expectations going into the innovation weekend in Vegas – partly due to giving up part of my weekend. But I was pleasantly surprised. No more silo approach here – developers, BOBJ experts and process people all partnering with each other is what I saw. SAP did great – I really liked the new integrated approach.And compared to the process slam last year, the quality of the business cases have also improved. They were better defined, and presented. I think the participants also appreciated the fact that the cases were primarily from nonprofit world

 

This is a fantastic start and I hope this becomes a great tradition.

 

There are a few things that can be done better though in my opinion- and this does not in any way ake away any of the credit that SAP deserves for the great improvements they have already made.

 

1. Before we started the exercise – we had to sit through a LOT of presentations of varying quality. I would say it was at least twice as much as what was needed. I had barely any energy left at the end to work on a case. It took away some of the unconference feel for me.

 

2. As I told my dear friend Jon Reed (@jonerp) yesterday, you cannot innovate on an empty stomach.SAP should consider feeding the participants with something better. I, and several others in the room, skipped the food served there and stepped out to eat.

 

3. Judging – I don’t particularly like the idea of 60% of the weightage going to judge’s scores and 40% to community scores.  I would much rather see the weightage skewed towards community voting scores. 

 

4. WiFi was a big pain yesterday. It seems to have improved today – but this is a recurring theme at big SAP events now. And I am sure the dedicated event organizers will do something about it to prevent this from happening when thousands of people will access the network from tomorrow.

 

Many kudos to SAP for learning from last year’s event  and improving the event this year. Way to go.

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  1. Gregory Misiorek
    i think the biggest kick for innovation is the business case approach. who knows maybe SAP will start granting MBAs in IT if this becomes a tradition. my impressions were only positive and i would like to see a repeat in the upcoming events.
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    1. Marilyn Pratt
      Thanks for the pitch for the business cases.  This seems to be a recurring theme that I’ve already heard echoed on the tongues of many participants (particularly those with past experience in hacker only events as drop-dead cool has they are and always have been)
      But I also must admit the magic for this event was created by having great technology resources (with some really great technologies) giving it(IT) to the business(to turn my own phrase) with business providing content and a great context for learning and collaborating.  I would wish next time for even more domain expertise onsite and even more of prep time for evolving content.

      I agree with Vijay about the length of pitches (inactive sitting), food deprivation (non-contiguous feedings at least in US) and yes, judging (I’m an obvious socialist in that regard who believes in the democracy of the common vote rather than elite electorate so that’s no surprise)
      But to be fair and in defense of that elite jury approach, it was afterall, SAP supplying the technology so I guess they (SAP) got to judge how well it was being used.  For me, the business owners (represented by Steve Williams in this case in Las Vegas) were sorely missing though.
      So Vijay, there is plenty of room for improvement for next year.
      If I were you I would have a convo with Kaj van de Loo who hints it may be sooner than that even!

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      1. Vijay Vijayasankar Post author
        I can see the point of SAP supplying the software, and hence getting to judge. This whole event was so much better than last year, and with the type of support I saw from Kaj, Vishal etc – it can only go on an upward trajectory. Looking forward to the next one.
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