It’s been more than a week since SAP Innojam, Melbourne. As promised to Rui Nogueira I decided to pen down my experience at Innojam. It was a cold winter Sunday morning on 19th Aug 2012, Victoria University looked deserted at 8:30 AM with just SAP Innojam team and few participants who had arrived early. I was all excited, looking forward to meet new people and work along with them for the next 2 days. Innojam team kick started the event sharp at 9 AM with everyone getting to know each other, their work profiles and forming teams working together for the next 2 days.
We were then introduced to “Design Thinking Methodology” which would form the basis for application solution development. Hester Hilbrecht and Gigi Read gave an excellent overview of the design thinking exercise, guiding the teams to be on track with the exercise. The challenge was to build solutions to fight bushfires in Australia. We were expected to choose from one of the challenges below:
- How can we enhance the flow of necessary information during bushfires?
- How can we better enable & coordinate emergency services during bushfires?
We were given time to research on the bush fires, affected victims, current technologies to monitor bushfires and so on. As a team (Chris Paine, Eric Maure, Waruna Lokusooriya and I), we exchanged the stories we heard/read and made notes on sticky pads to perform the clustering exercise, the second step of design thinking exercise.
One of our team mates, Waruna Lokusooriya had witnessed a bushfire in Canberra who provided us with some insights helping us to better understand the problem situation from which we defined our much awaited problem statement:
“Interacting with residents in emergency situations to provide information to residents and authorities”.
During our clustering exercise, we grouped all the insights based on the subjects or problem areas identified during the research. It was followed by an identification process where we had to identify the most affected user role in our insights.
Chris Paine during clustering exercise
Team @ work
“Michelle” our Persona
It was then followed by the “Persona” and “Point of View” exercise, where we identified a user role, the user needs and the insight required. We enjoyed this part of the exercise the most as a team. We then had “Brainstorming” exercise where we had to ideate our solutions visually and build a prototype solution, the last exercise of design thinking methodology.
Chris during Ideation and Prototype Phase
Once all the teams were ready with their final prototypes, teams were broken down into two to present it to another team and get their feedback and vice versa. The design thinking exercise ended with presentations from SAP technology experts on SAP HANA, SAP Netweaver Cloud, Sybase Powerbuilder, SAP Netweaver gateway and SAP UI5.
By 6 PM in the evening, all the teams had chosen a comfortable workplace on level 9, Victoria University to code for the next 30 hours. During our prototype exercise, we had applied “think big” approach but during implementation we realised some of the solutions we thought of would not be possible to implement in 30 hours!! As a team we discussed over an hour understanding the best possible application to implement with the provided technologies involving the on-site experts to get an idea about some of the products we had never used.
After prolong discussions (including dinner time), we decided to develop an application identifying the current location of our user “Michelle”, who is a runner, residing at Canberra, to make better decisions based on the insights provided on fire affected areas nearby calculating the distance from her current location and provide insights to help her move to a safer place. It looked achievable at the time we started implementing but we did face some hiccups over the next 30 hours with skills shortage and issues from the technology end as well. But overall it was a good learning experience with access to all the new SAP technologies and learning from experts.
I would like to thank the Innojam team for the all support and enthusiasm, specially Rui Nogueira for staying up with us till 3 in the morning and entertaining us in between with “The Internet” from the IT crowd. Thanks to Paul Hawking for providing sleeping bag to get an hour long sleep in the cold room and arranging the event at Victoria University.
It was a wonderful fun experience working with “Run Michelle Run” team. We were happy to receive the “Best Design Thinking fun team” award and I was happy to receive the “Geek Chick” award. The key takeaway for me from this event is “Learn to fail and fail to learn”. As Samuel Beckett said, “Try again, Fail again, Fail better”. I will be back next year
Fun moments in “Run Michelle Run” Team
Receiving “Geek Chick” Award
Best Design Thinking Fun Team Award
Innojam crew and participants