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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.