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Dear companies,

I took a unique chance to explain my story as a student who has benefitted from recent ‘co-innovation w/ millennials’ initiatives by SAP University Alliances in a portion of Sven Denecken’s presentation today at the Børsen IT Value Conference in Copenhagen.

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I related what I had learned & gained:

1) New technologies like SAPUI5 & SAP HANA Cloud Platform

2) A sense for some real industry issues and their urgency for respective companies

3) Awesome new networks of students and professionals

4) Fine-tuned elective credit & project interests – thus guiding my skill development and emerging perspectives pre-graduation.

These gains have come largely as I engaged in industry-student facing activities such as Utility of Tomorrow Contest, or the recent InnoJam at CeBIT – which pitted me against bright students in a competition to innovate on real industry challenges like sustainable supply chains & smarter banking.

That was my piece, but that was only a small part of the presentation by Sven, who made the point that real & relevant digital transformation comes from co-innovation w/customers & all 5 generations of employees (including millennials).

Between Christian Thisgaard, Jesper Schleimann, Sven and other experienced leaders a telling discussion transpired. The panel discussion of CXO’s, Entrepreneurs, thought leaders agreed that mega companies can & should tap into the sea of startups & talent both within and without the traditional company

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To add an additional perspective to this discussion:

I cite Jim Snabe’s keynote this morning where he emphasized the need for young people in IT because they think differently.

I cite Christian Thisgaard’s explanation of one type of different thinking that is valuable here – when he noted that most 21-year-olds have already put in their 10,000 hours with mobile tech which qualifies them for competitive excellence in current technology.


I cite Sven Denecken’s emphasis on enhancing the full spectrum of the concurrent 5 generations of employees that run your companies today. To neglect any one of these generations would rob us all of competitive opportunities.

I build on Jim’s argument, enhanced by Christian’s, and expounded by Sven’s by adding that we students likewise have a hunger for exposure with you experts and professionals, because you know the issues which need to be addressed. In essence, you think differently – and it is useful for us to know how you think and what challenges & solutions you think about. Effectively acquiring new talent or ‘on-boarding’ a new generation will be better achieved

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if we understand at least some of who and how things are done by you in your mega companies. That can happen through co-innovation activities.

I’m convinced that a smart company will follow the momentum SAP is building — that is in making new ways to include your work with millennials, before they even graduate so that we students can enhance our emerging skills & education based upon the challenges & skills that you are working with daily.


That’s what I call co-innovation. InnoJam competitions are the classic & awesome example, but there are other ways. Open a project or a idea session or just a tour of your HQ with students so we brush shoulders with you and see you work on the current issues — all five generations. 


My very participation with Sven at the Børsen IT-Value Conference was an illuminating example of what I appreciate about SAP: merging multi-generational mindsets in today’s discussions. Yes I know conferences like this are targeted for CXO’s but technically speaking I am a founding partner of a soon-to-be-wildly-successful 😉 startup app – so that should count. Right?


Thanks Sven, Ann Rosenberg, and University Alliances.


I recommend reading about this experience and more as captured by Sven Denecken’s interview “Capitalize on Millennials and the ‘New’ Normal”


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