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SAP Innojam Mobilization – Man or Woman? Diversification, What’s that?

You think – Oh NO!  It’s Saturday and Sunday.   It sounds like a great idea working on a new project with new toys – or tools as they call them.  But what about your family?  You are probably going to be away from them most of the week anyway.  You’re a Mom or a Dad, a wife or a husband.  You will be away.  How sad, you will be away from your family for a week!  Trust me it is hard.  Harder than you may think.

I’m a home type person.  I have a lot of animals.  A small home.  A lot of property.  A husband who I adore.  A son who I believe is the best in the world – most of the time.  OK all the times, I doubt he will read this.   Even when he is up to something, I still think he is the best in the world.

Be warned I’m about to try to stereotype people:

Now a man – Shall I label you? – You are used to your wife taking care of the children.  You are used to your home running smoothly with the help of your wife.  She may work.  You may share chores with her.  But the kids?  Well the kids depend on her.  She’s there Mom.  And you, you have a little freedom.  You are their dad but they may be used to you leaving.   Leaving for the week of Teched maybe alright.  But the extra 2 days for Innojam?  Maybe?  It will be a strain on your wife and your children.  But maybe.  Sound like you?  Not like you?  Comment.

Now a woman – Shall I label you too? – You are used to taking care of the children.  If your husband has to leave for work, you are there at home.  You may or may not work outside of the home.   You may or may not share the chores with your husband.  Leaving for a week for clear defined company objectives.  Yes, that may be OK.  You will miss everyone, but you can still make it happen.  Your husband will not mind, it’s work after all.  Innojam?  Well, really?  Is that work?  Will that help you?  So why should you go?  Why should you leave your family you should miss?  Sound like you?  Not like you? comment.

Now Innojam:

The one thing I would not miss!  Why?  Will it help me at work?  Will it make me move ahead? No, no, no.   So why wouldn’t I miss it?  Many reasons.  I make contacts, friends from other parts of the globe.  I get to “play” / use the new technology that I’ve only heard about.   And I will be blogging about it.  I just haven’t gotten all my thoughts together yet.

Now – I’m going to step off the path again:

And I’m a woman.  Hear me roar!   That’s not a politically correct thing to write or say.   Michelle Marie – do you really think women are better than men?  Or maybe you think the US is better than any other country?  No and No.    I don’t agree with any of that.  A person is what they do and how they act.  I do embrace inclusion.  I just went to an event called Embracing Inclusion with Design Thinking.  What did that mean?  Please, please, look and read those blogs about the event.

Why do I say women should go to Innojam?   The reason why is simply diversity.  I saw many people from many different contries at Innojam LV.  I saw a handful of women.  Some groups were trying to find one to get diversity.  And guess what?  There were none to be had.

So my comment to you – man or women.  Both of you come and have fun.  I know it’s extra time away from your family.  I left Saturday and was back home the next Saturday.  Seven days – SEVEN DAYS!  I couldn’t wait to go home, and my home life is very different than most.  I’ll try to write about it in the next mentor’s quarterly.

So hopefully, this isn’t too bad. 

My request is geared to women.  I’m sending out a personal request – my request is to the women!  To you reading this.  Try to reorganize – all developers – are good at reorganization.  Try really hard to get to Innojam.  

Being a woman in technology is cool!  It is something your daughter may want to do someday!  Believe it or not, diversified teams do better.   So most of the teams will be hunting for you!!!

Now more Diversity

Now men – I am women hear me roar!  That must mean I don’t want men to show up?  Really?  Not true.  I want men to show up too!  I want just as many people as can show up.  I would love to see the Innojam weekend full!  Why?  I am not going to be there.  Why?  Because I love the SCN community.  I love to think of you working together to come up with a design.  My personal Innojam experience  blog is coming up shortly.  And by the way diversification does not happen without men and women.  I’m appealing to, and hope you and anyone who reads this does go to Innojam, to women because they do not come as much as men.  There are a lot less Women than men.  At a guess 1 in 45.

So this will be one of the few times I split up talking about men and women.  I believe we are both equal.  I can’t complain about how I have personally been treated most of the time.  I tend to not notice things like that very often.  There are a couple of occasions I could tell you about, and may in future blogs.  However, we need everyone to get a good design and development.  I am not the first one to stand up and say – I am a woman.  I just don’t think like that.  You probably don’t either.   I am the first one to stand up and say I am a developer.  I hope that’s what everyone reading this can say.  (Or whatever you are, I’ve heard there are people like managers there.)

Oh and you “functional” people we don’t need you!  Are you kidding?  Of course Innojam needs you too.  I worked with Eric Ledo.  He created a – I hope I get this right – a DMS configuration for our project.  He did it very fast – in less time than we could talk about it.  Yes, he was technical as well.  But he was good at the functional side.  So when the design ideas come up, you can think about how to make the process better.  How can you link it back to SAP?  Maybe you can configure an area of SAP?  Or do a flow chart?  Or… you name it.

I drank the “Embracing Inclusion with Design Thinking” juice.  I hope you do too.  Both my Innojam and Embracing Inclusion with Design Thinking were, you guessed it, diversified.


  • Go Woman!
  • Go Man!
  • Go all Countries!
  • Go Functionals!
  • Go Developers!
  • No Excuses – just go!

Now – do I sound like a cheerleader?  I probably do.  But I don’t care.  This is a fun project.  I hope you enjoy it just as much as I do / did.  BUT try to sleep more than I did.   Lack of sleep is not a good thing for me.

I missed my family.  But it was all worth it.  I’m back home now.  I am sick.  I blame the airplane – a lot of people were coughing in the airplane.  But everyone is  being so nice to me.  This may last a couple of days.  I have a teenage son who usually has to be prodded into talking with me.  My husband, he is wonderful and he is making me feel like a queen. 

That strange relationship I talked about.  My husband is a stay at home dad.  That allows me more freedom than a lot of you.  SO – I do hope you can still go.  I also know it is a lot harder to get away than I am making it sound.  Like I said I hope to write an article in the Mentors Quarterly about that.  My husband has the hardest job in the world.


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      Author's profile photo Tammy Powlas
      Tammy Powlas
      I think Anne Hardy's advice during the day of Innojam was good - to have a diverse team to be successful.

      At Innojam there was one team that had a leader board and Jane McGonigal said women don't go for those.  That team did not have a woman. 

      I told Marilyn that the good thing about TechED was there was no line at the women's restroom.  I also told her the bad thing about TechEd was there was no line at the women's restroom.

      I am really amazed that you find the time to comment on the blogs...I was just watching Matthias Steiner's 2010 Intro to SCN video and he says if you read a blog, comment on it - and you do it!

      Selfishly, I hope you do contribute to the Mentor's Quarterly.


      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Blog Post Author

      Yes - Anne Hardy - Wow what an inspiration. And for sure her advice is the best.  This blog was a bit hard to write.  Strange for me.  How to write a blog like this and stay PC?Michelle

      Author's profile photo Tammy Powlas
      Tammy Powlas
      His video is here:

      I found it to be inspirational!


      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      I work for Anne and I approve this message!


      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Hi Michelle

      Thanks for helping us with the marketing! You are so right and I am so happy about every woman, and every non-techie, who joins us at InnoJam.

      At this year's TechEd, I somewhat felt we had more women than before. Not so much at InnoJam so. The women showing up were pretty much the usual suspects - yourself, Gretchen, Tammy, you name them. Thank you all for showing up, but next time we need more, more, more.

      Think what you can get from those two days:
      - Education in newest SAP Technologies that is probably worth more than one week of training (sorry, training colleagues...)
      - This very special vibe of having to get something done within 30 hours and the joy of getting it done
      - Meeting a lot of SAP experts and making a lot of new connections
      - Fun, fun, fun (don't tell your husband/wife!)

      And if you're a woman, and you're not a developer like Michelle, and you think "well, why would I go, this is for developers" - think again! Ever seen a project staffed with developers only and still succeed? Build a real application in 30 hours with tools you've never seen before is tough. And it requires a multitude of skills, so come and offer you skills to the team!

      Thanks again Michelle for taking the time to write this up!

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Blog Post Author
      Your welcome!  I agree with all your points.

      I would add (since I didn't in my blog):

      This should be an SAP person's dream.  Design, manage, and develop something new just for themselves.  While having expert help, and networking with others.

      Think you can't do it?  I had a team with a teammate whose company had just come up on SAP.  What did he add?  His thoughts on the process itself.

      I'm hoping to write a blog that is more complete about Innojam.  I just had to write this one as there really weren't that many women at Innojam.

      Author's profile photo Kumud Singh
      Kumud Singh
      Hi Michelle,
      Innojam and similar events organised will help regain our lost 'CAN DO' spirits within constraints I believe.
      Now I would have to find out how do I not miss these opportunities myself.


      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Blog Post Author
      Just do it!

      I'm laughing now at myself.  Not everyone can do it.  Life does have a habit of getting in the way.  Personal life work life, it is all a balancing act. 

      So Innojam.  If you can't do Innojam, see if you can think of a "crazy" idea.  Maybe even blog about it.  Then put it out on Code Exchange or a WIKI, or somewhere.  See if you can get others to spend some time working on it.  It will be hard.  We all have outside lives.

      But then you might have something for demojam if you decide to keep it out of  Code Exchange.  In Code Exchange, you'll probably get more help.  It will be something more you could share.

      Streamworks could help with people in different time zones.

      Just some thoughts - of course I'm sad for you if you don't get to Innojam.  You would miss out on the expert help, and the new technology.   But maybe using the "old" technology would be good.  It would give you something that you may be able to use at work - or parts of it at work.

      Me - I learned a lot at Innojam, and hope to blog about it soon.  Yes, I know I have this one.  But it was more about diversification.  We need it.  I think we lack it.

      Nice writing to you again - I hope to meet you some day!


      Author's profile photo Marilyn Pratt
      Marilyn Pratt
      While researching the topic of how inclusion and diversity improve innovation teams, I happened upon this excellent article: What Makes a Team Smarter? More women. in the online version of the Harvard Business Review.  Anne Hardy had just given me a hardcopy of the HBR July-August addition that speaks as well of building a culture of trust and innovation and says: "Left to their own devices, people will choose to collaborate with others they know well- which can be deadly for innovation."
      So to your question.  Diversification, What's that?  It's a smart business imperitive.  The link I've added details a fascinating research.  It also raises issues around how to get diversification when the talent pool seems to lack the very diversity one might seek.  If work environments were to understand the value of increasing the talent pool, employers might seek to find creative ways to attract and retain women rather than avoiding them because of inherent risks of motherhood and childraising.  Yes, Michelle, you found a unique solution in a home situation.  I'd like to propose that if employers thought more uniquely about the benefits of making environments more condusive to women with families, they would have more women.  (end of political incorrectness).
      Thanks Michelle for courageously raising this topic here.
      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Blog Post Author
      Perfect article.  Now as I questioned someplace else.  I'm wondering how we play it forward.  How do use the ideas we created during our session?

      I know, I know, I'll post it in SAP Streamworks too!  Just wondering if anyone out there has ideas.

      And yes I was incorrect.  But sometimes, just sometimes, I have to be.