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Author's profile photo Don Ginocchio

SAP and the University of Notre Dame Teach Design Thinking Together

Nov 2015.jpg

SAP continued its active participation in Design Thinking education with the University of Notre Dame over the past week.

Last week, SAP’s Amy Bailey and Pete Derba from our Success Factors team visited the “Collaborative Product Development” (CPD) classroom to provide professional feedback on student projects.  As part of our partnership with Notre Dame, we have agreed to collaborate on teaching the advanced CPD course this semester.  The design challenge is around the future of wearable technology in the enterprise human resources domain so we shared SAP’s point of view on the human resources function, the future of work and wearable technology.  Amy and Pete are true experts in this domain and provided great practical advice to the students as they continue to refine their solution concepts.

This week was another planned visit by SAP’s Vice President of Design Michael Brown on campus to help continue teaching the CPD course.  The focus of this week was to further develop the solution concepts into compelling stories with high fidelity prototypes as the students work toward final presentations in December.  We have lined up an expert panel of Venture Capital investors to review and critique the student projects and consider them for investment.  The course description is as follows:

• As part of an exciting new initiative, the Collaborative Innovation program highlighting design thinking, a powerful approach for solving real-world problems, the capstone Collaborative Product Development course is a unique experience gathering students in anthropology, business, design and engineering to work and collaborate together on a real-world brief sponsored by an outside corporation. Students work in teams to conceive and develop solutions that address a myriad of needs from the perspectives of users, business and technology in conjunction with feedback from outside sponsors and mentors while learning to collaborate with students of other disciplines in order to develop concepts that are greater than any single discipline can offer. Students explore the mechanics of collaboration while investigating the methodology of design thinking. We are excited to announce that the Fall 2015 course will be sponsored by SAP, the world’s foremost enterprise software company and presented to a star panel of Silicon Valley venture capitalists at the end of the semester. Students are being asked to explore the power of wearables to bring data on demand and reinvent software interaction in the enterprise space. IT Management students will join their peers in Anthropology (consumer insight), Interaction Design (UX design), Industrial Design (product design), and Computer Science (Programming) to conceive, develop and execute a working prototype and present to SAP and venture capitalists.

On Monday, we also made a planned visit and guest presentation for senior Computer Science & Engineering students in their course entitled “Software Engineering”.  Its description in the Notre Dame course catalog is as follows:

• Software engineering is an engineering discipline that is concerned with all aspects of producing high-quality, cost-effective, and maintainable software systems. This course provides an introduction to the most important tasks of a software engineer: requirements engineering, software design, implementation and testing, documentation, and project management. A medium-scale design project combined with individual assignments complement the lectures.

Michael Brown discussed the importance of user-centric design and the principles of Design Thinking with the students and answered questions about the software engineering process at SAP.  He encouraged them to differentiate their work by building personal skills and a portfolio of experiences related to Design Thinking.

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