Yes, after many many years with SAP I am trying something new. Not the circus, although I am convinced that playful elements of the circus would do wonders for engagement, creativity and innovation within all enterprises.
One of the major SAP Mentor Magic pillars is playfulness, and I am endlessly grateful to my managers at SAP: Ziv Carthy Mark Yolton Michael Bechauf Maggie Fox and Malin Liden for letting me create an environment of trust and high level engagement that enabled playfulness to flourish.
It is the fertile ground where:
The #suithugger campaign developed:
Picture by Oliver Kohl
Where SAP Mentors brought Hugh MacLeod prints to our executives
Picture by Martin Gillet
Picture by Frank Koehntopp and others
I remember Bjoern Goerke years ago saying at the end of a totally intense webinar with the SAP Mentors, where the questions were flying back and forth and a lot of content ground was covered: “You guys always seem to have fun!” That serious fun combination is what SAP Mentors are so amazingly good at.
That energy was what nudged SAP into open sourcing their UI Technology
Even Jim Hagemann Snabe acknowledged in a press conference that the idea spark for the free developer license for SAP HANA One came from SAP Mentors
I announced my departure this week to the SAP Mentors, and I wasn’t expecting such an outpouring of support. I am humbled by the stories of SAP Mentors whose lives have changed for the good because of what we created with the SAP Mentor initiative:
SAP Mentor Alumnus Darren Hague wrote:
Thanks for so many things, not least: Community Day at SAP TechEd 2007 Munich, and the chance to get drunk with Bruce Sterling; the inspiration to do our own Community Day in London, kickstarting the whole SAP Inside Track movement; and the chance to meet so many amazing people in the SAP ecosystem leading to my career working for SAP itself.
SAP Mentor Clint Vosloo wrote in an email:
… THANK-YOU and REMIND you that by YOU starting and including me in the Mentor program you have forever changed my life and those of my family for the better and I will also be eternally grateful ! As I sit here in Australia after having just dropped my kids off at school I know there futures are safe here and they will be safe. I owe a lot of that to you !
SAP Mentor Twan van den Broek
… Thinking of all the opportunities you have created for us Mark Finnern, don’t know how to say thanks for all that. You’ve been the real SAP Mentor entrepreneur, building and shaping our community. And on top of that you brought us Werewolves, Collaborative Crowd Poem Writing, Sing a song for new Mentors, fun, friendship and way more … Thanks for all these good times.
While this all makes me feel how meaningful the Mentors have been for my life, it also makes me super joyful about what we have done for each other and together. Please celebrate this three ring circus by sharing your own community / SAP Mentor stories in the comments.
SAP Mentor Ronald Konijnenburg wrote:
… You have created a fantastic place for the Mentors, you can be extremely proud of that. Thank you for making me part of the family. You’re leaving behind a great foundation for Jeanne and team to build upon further.
In my old neighborhood the San Mateo Highlands I organized the 4th of July Marching Band and one of the greatest joys for me is to know that it is still going strong even though I moved away years ago.
I am endlessly proud about the SAP Mentor initiative, and it is time for a new team to implement their ideas. We have laid the foundation, but nothing would make me prouder than for the SAP Mentor initiative to continue to blossom into its full potential. The beauty is that the new team will define what the full potential is now, and I can’t wait to see it implemented.
Happy that all SAP Mentors have a voice in where this is going, sometimes I feel like not enough are taking full advantage of that opportunity. Jeanne Carboni and team are listening intently — but please Jeanne draw the line at the color of the shirt. 😉
Biggest regret? We almost had Hasso Plattner join the #GeeksCanDance Jam band in Berlin. We were just not able to rearrange the schedule for it to work. My hope is that the #GeeksCanDance SAP Jam Band tradition at larger SAP events continues.
What is Next?
What am I going to do? As I was so much in the trenches, creating opportunities for the SAP Mentors, organizing events, bringing new SAP Mentors on board, I seldom had time to write down the background stories of how things came to be and how you can create such an engaging, energized advocacy program / community too. One of theses is the Don Finleone story.
As you can derive from the quotes above, the SAP Mentor Initiative makes a huge huge difference to the people as well as to the enterprises involved. I want to help other companies to replicate this kind of playful deep engagement. It is such a win for everyone. Playful Enterprise is where this idea is going to be further developed. Join the mailing list.
At the opening of the HanaHaus a father came up to me and said: When is the next Future Salon. These events where so special I took my son there, and I really miss them. My partner, Jean Russell who wrote the book Thrivability, and I will bring back the Future Salon spirit paired with the ideas around Thrivability and encourage you to join us in creating Thrivable Futures for all.
Let’s continue to make a difference in the lives of the people around us, in the end that is what counts.