The SAP Waterloo lab is fortunate to be located right across from the University of Waterloo (UW) because it provides an awesome development resource funnel for our Emerging Technologies team. We essentially get to “try before we buy” through UW’s awesome co-op program. (Anecdotally, famous Valley startup incubator Y Combinator is known for taking UW startups because they come with the smarts of Stanford without the entitlement.)
After every interview season (we recruit continuously over the year), I am often excited by the great potential each possesses. Each co-op student represents something new for our team: a new viewpoint, a different approach, an innocent curiosity. Collectively, we work together and learn from one another, (hopefully) resulting in true SAP software innovation.
Our successful co-op program really revolves around the following principle: our co-op students do REAL work so we treat them like REAL employees. It’s amazing how this simple statement drives many aspects of our program including what we do and what we don’t do. For example:
- We expect our co-op students to contribute towards development deadlines and support customer efforts
- We don’t give our co-op students work that we wouldn’t do ourselves
- We work alongside our co-op students in our open WatHaus environment to facilitate communication amongst all team members, regardless of position
- We don’t give our co-op students our old, worn out equipment
- We encourage our co-op students to be confident, to give their unique perspectives, to agree or respectfully disagree
- We work as a team and help out one another, leaving no one to flounder
So what happens when we (full time employees + co-op students) all work together on REAL innovation as REAL employees?
- Anti-collision solutions for cranes via Internet of Things (IoT)
- Barcoding all living life with LifeScanner
- Transaction availability for remote sites like offshore drilling rigs
Not bad for 2014, eh? (This is the Canadian content edition after all)
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