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Author's profile photo Former Member

Into the Fire: Thoughts from a SAP Innojam Rookie

sap welcome.jpg

Figure 1 – SAP welcoming the InnoJammers at VU

(After a long delay, here is my very first blog and it is about the my first SAP InnoJam experience …)

The SAP InnoJam bus stopped-over at Melbourne in the Victoria University from August 19-20, 2012. It was my very first InnoJam session and it was also my first ever SAP-flavoured event. The main theme of Melbourne’s SAP InnoJam session was fighting bush fires. True enough, in just 30 hours, a couple of very interesting bushfire-related solutions were conjured up using some SAP cutting-edge technologies. More importantly, the experience allowed me to learn about some exciting new SAP technologies, gain insight from some of the most brilliant minds on the planet, and make some new friends and contacts.

Before I continue, I would like to share something about myself. I consider myself as an SAP outsider because I do not have any formal commercial experience using any SAP technology. My Masters in ERP Systems at Victoria University (Australia) and my participation in a couple of SAP University Xcelsius Dashboard competitions are the closest that I have come to real-world SAP experience. Nonetheless, I still continue to admire SAP and how its innovations are shaping the way we do business. I have always been a fan from the day that I graduated from university more than a decade ago. For me, SAP has always been the “Rock music” of the ERP landscape while the other ERP brands are mere “Instrumental music”. (One of these days, I may also be a SAP rock star too!)

Now, back to the InnoJam…

Everything started off like any other seminar: introduction of the presenters, an outline of activities, etc. But when the Design Thinking Methodology portion arrived, things began to get more interesting. The various stages of this approach were discussed and we had some activities to affirm what we have learned. There was now more interaction and everybody was engaged. No longer was the InnoJam like staring at the park from inside your house. We began walking into the park itself. 

But that was the last of the easy bits.


Figure 2 – Michelle – our team’s persona

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Figure 3 – Team 3’s Clustering Exercise board

This link shows my Design Thinking Protoype presentation for my team, “Run Michelle Run” which I got from Rui Noguiera’s YouTube post:

As in a bushfire, a sudden gust of wind brought embers from afar and started a series of InnoJam “spot fires” in rapid succession: SAP Netweaver cloud was discussed by Matthias Braun; Sybase Powerbuilder 15 was introduced by Mark Bradley; HANA was showcased by Jack Boers; John Patterson and John Moy talked about SAP Netweaver Gateway and SAPUI5 was presented by the entertaining Rui Noguiera — all this happened within a one hour window!

We had to use the above technologies to develop a prototype based on the design that our team have agreed upon during the Design Thinking phase. Having no previous exposure to these technologies at work didn’t help at all. Luckily, we had SAP Mentor Chris Paine on our team; otherwise, we would have been like headless chooks running around waiting to be turned into roast chickens! Chris was the only one in our team skilled in web development, and as much as I would like to help him, my data-centric skills can only play around the fringes of HANA, at best.

To make the long story short, we spent around 30 hours coding our bushfire application. We encountered many issues and I was even tempted to simplify things and make use of workarounds, but our leader Chris was adamant that we stick with the SAP technologies presented because it was the main essence of the InnoJam in the first place. We all agreed, rallied, fought, resisted and slept a little.


Figure 4 – Run Michelle Run (Team 3) hard at work

When the smoke cleared, we didn’t have a working application to show because we ran out of time. We got burned and finished last! But all was not in vain. We were the only team that was able to use the HANA instance in SAP Netweaver Cloud (no matter how crude). Moreover, Rui (and the other judges) liked the potential of our app that they even encouraged us to finish off what we have started (hopefully this will be another story from me in the future)


Figure 5 – Paul Hawking presenting his team’s solution

So ended my very first InnoJam session – around 30 hours of coding, design, learning and interacting with new friends. It was great, it was exhausting and it was worth it. Given a chance to do it again, I would definitely do so. I just hope that there would be an even distribution of skills among the groups.

Thank you very much to Rui, GiGi and the rest of the InnoJam Crew.

Thank you to the SAP Mentors present who willingly shared their knowledge and experience with us.

Thank you Victoria University for the facilities and roof above our heads.

Thank you Team 3 “Run Michelle Run!” (Chris Paine, Rohini Sreedhar and Waruna Lokusooriya) for a wonderful InnoJam experience. I am grateful to have worked with you guys.


Figure 6 – The best InnoJam team!: “Run Michelle Run” (Photo taken from Chris Paine)

And thank you very much to Paul Hawking for introducing me to SAP InnoJam!

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      Author's profile photo Chris Paine
      Chris Paine

      Thanks for posting up your blog, and for the great effort you put in during the InnoJam. I hope that both efforts will have you more involved in SAP and less of an outsider in the future.



      Author's profile photo Martin English
      Martin English

      Hi Eric,

      I'm glad to see you aren't letting the lack of 'day-to-day' SAP practice get in the way of using and learning about SAP.  Working and learning from people like

      Chris Paine , even in the artificial atmosphere of an InnoJam, can only be of benefit.

      In my case, I worked with Chris at last years InnoJam in Sydney, and one of the things that impressed me was his, for want of a better phrase, width of knowledge, not just across the SAP technologies, but how they rate against other tools for performing similar functionality.


      Author's profile photo Chris Paine
      Chris Paine

      Thanks for nice words Martin!

      As Sascha Wenninger likes to point out, it is all about being "T" shaped. Wide in knowledge but having technical depth of knowledge in certain areas.

      I find Innojams are an excellent way to increase the width of the knowledge that I have. Although one day I hope to attend one where I'm not the team lead so I can do a bit of work on the vertical part of the "T" too! 😉

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Hi, Cuz!  Thank you for sharing your InnoJam experience, Eric.  It was a real pleasure; you made it fun for us too! I hope that you continue to stay involved.  Have you checked out 🙂