In this blog, I’m going to cover how a simplified design approach brings innovative ideas to life in as little as two days.

The theme of the MIT hackathon was “Smart solutions for city parking”.  City representatives presented the car parking situation in Boston, solution attempts, and why there was a need for a solution to help better their citizens experience.  This was followed by SAP, Cisco, and IBM presenting their portfolio around Urban Matters with examples of solutions developed for City Parking.

The goal of this hackathon was to create a business case with a proposed solution to the problem using a holistic combination of Cisco, IBM, and SAP solutions.  Each team presented their proposal using the design thinking model taught to them by Dr. Carsten Hahn (SAP) in a half day workshop held prior to the competition.  They addressed the customer profile, architecture of the solution, functions, UI, value proposition, revenue, and implementation plan. Simple, agile, articulate and in only two days!  The team’s collaboration was outstanding. They respectfully listened to all suggestions, gave praise to ideas, and most importantly all of this within the framework of thought leadership.  This enabled them to make decisions quickly, and set directions based on those decisions.

I found the design thinking methodology evened the playing field and focused  the teams on the objectives while reducing unnecessary tasks and debates – a lesson big companies could address better.

Given the difficulty process, politics, and stake holders play in the innovative process necessary to create new solutions do you think a design thinking methodology should be more readily used?  Do you think SAP should become more involved in hackathons like this one to learn more about simplicity from our next generation of thinkers?  Please share your thoughts.

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