For the past six months, I have been working as an intern in Marketing & Communications at the Design & Co-Innovation Center (DCC) based at the SAP AppHaus Heidelberg, Germany. The extraordinary environment and the passionate, committed team have made this internship a great experience.

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There is something special about the AppHaus, inspired by the Bauhaus movement. The team is composed of members with expertise from a diverse range of disciplines, as well as the passion and mindset to work as one multi-disciplinary team. To design solutions that both enhance and add value to the user experience, we work in close collaboration with our customers.

Our working process is modeled after the Design Thinking methodology, which I learned through a d.Camp and found to be a valuable experience for my work and even my personality. I have learned that it takes a combination of empathy, creativity and rationality to meet users’ needs and increase their satisfaction. Design Thinking opens new perspectives on a topic. To experience these perspectives and seize the opportunities presented through the design process, we have to be open-minded, embrace diversity, and accept ambiguity for not to miss opportunities. Interestingly enough, I have learned that failure is not bad, but simply part of understanding and improving. If we continue iterating, we create even better results.

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With its functional rooms, flexible furniture, vastness, and light, the AppHaus encourages people to explore new thoughts and to change points of view. It triggers collaboration, co-innovation and design. Our 339,71 square meters of whiteboard walls stimulate curiosity and bring our creative ideas to life, which is also supported by creative materials, such as the 15 kilograms of post-its available for us to use during workshops or team meetings.

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It has always been a goal of mine to work for a progressive company that focuses on its customers and their interaction with the products the company provides – a company like SAP. My internship at the AppHaus, with its clear focus on external customers, has allowed me to get into contact with different industries and well-known companies, such as Siemens and Unilever. I have written case studies about co-innovation projects for which I have interviewed both the project team and the customers. The DCC drives projects to become standard SAP products, like the Building Performance Management Cockpit, and builds award-winning software, such as the Patient Data Explorer. The team also applies its creativity upon other industries: The Google Glass project is an exploration in application of new technology to help improve hospital care. All these case studies have been published on our new website which was relaunched at the end of May. I had the opportunity to be involved in the content management and to set up guidelines for the storytelling and the publication process.

Other than that, I have written blog postings about events like the Diversity Day and about some of the 162 workshops hosted at the AppHaus with more than 1700 participants in Q1 and Q2. It has always been great to experience this innovative spirit, especially with students and start-ups.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=aCSI5V7xAGo

One special experience – and a great honor – was conducting an interview with three researchers from Stanford University about co-innovation at SAP and especially at the DCC, the impact of space on innovation, and about Design Thinking in an intercultural context. It was interesting to gain insight into their academic perspective on the practices with which I have been daily confronted in an entrepreneurial context.

The DCC shows thought leadership inside and outside of SAP. I have supported marketing activities and spread the word about SAP’s design work on both internal and external channels for which I have established contacts with several magazines and news centers.

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However, I have not only created and published success stories. Even though I have already obtained my Bachelor degree and completed two internships abroad, in a way, my personal success story has also begun right here at the AppHaus. The internship has set a new course for my future career and personal development. I have completed several trainings on social marketing management, multicultural business communication, social media, and blogging. Furthermore, I have participated in a voice training to further develop my potential, which was recognized by my mentor and my manager. Following my nomination for the SAP FastTrack Program, a talent relationship program for the top performers among SAP students, I was able to convince the jury with my performance and my engagement at the selection day. The admission to this program enables me to stay in touch with SAP and other members of this program also in the future, which I appreciate a lot.

As I have had such a great time working at the AppHaus, I am more than happy to continue being part of this wonderful team as a working student.

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8 Comments

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  1. SherryAnne Meyer

    Ann, I have just had the privilege of touring AppHaus in Palo Alto and meeting some of the creative – and hard-working – individuals there.  The environment and the teams are an inspiration.  You are very lucky to have this opportunity to help change the course of SAP’s future.  (Translated:  I’m jealous! )   The message I brought back and that I am sharing with colleagues is that this is not the same old SAP.  Exciting things are happening there – and customer engagement with SAP will be key to continuing the development.

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    1. Ann-Sofie Ruf Post author

      Hi Sherryanne! Thank you for your comment and sharing your impressions. I have never been to the AppHaus in Palo Alto, but I am sure this has been an interesting experience. Customer engagement in the way the SAP UX Design Services do it will certainly change the image of SAP. I definitely appreciate having the opportunity to work in this committed team. All the best for you, and thanks again.

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  2. Raquel Pereira da Cunha

    Hi Ann-Sofie,

    I really enjoyed reading your experience. It must be really a pleasure to work at the AppHaus. Thanks for sharing it and congratulations for your admission to the SAP FastTrack program 😉

    Wish you success,

    Raquel

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    1. Ann-Sofie Ruf Post author

      Hi Raquel,

      Thanks so much! It’s great to work here and I wish you will experience the AppHaus some day, too.

      Best,

      Ann-Sofie

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  3. Tom Cenens

    Hi Ann-Sofie

    Thanks for sharing, I enjoyed reading about your experience at the AppHaus. Unfortunately I missed the opportunity to go there a couple of weeks ago. Good luck and well done!

    I’ll be closeby tomorrow though since I’ll be heading for SAP Walldorf for a couple of days.

    Best regards

    Tom

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    1. Ann-Sofie Ruf Post author

      Hi Tom,

      Thank you. I hope you can make it to the AppHaus someday! Good luck for your meetings in Walldorf. I won’t be there unfortunately. But you are welcome to step by in Heidelberg next time.

      Best,

      Ann-Sofie

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