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Author's profile photo Ann-Sofie Ruf

P&I Early Talents design their future at SAP

On November 24 and 25, the first P&I develop&&impact Early Talent Event for Germany took place in the WIRSOL Rhein-Neckar-Arena, Sinsheim. Around 150 Early Talents, all hired in 2015 – some as early as just a week ago – attended this local event. It is part of the global develop&&impact program and was aimed at giving Early Talents an overview of SAP, its strategy and products. Moreover, it offered insights into career development at SAP, the opportunity to discuss and engage with peers and executives and also to actively participate in a real business challenge by bringing in own ideas, using the Design Thinking approach. In the context of the global develop&&impact program similar activities were also conducted in India, China and the US in 2015.

On day one, Sibylle Barz (P&I ET Program Lead) welcomed the early talents on board. The participants were informed about the corporate strategy and products during the key note by Jens Krüger, which was followed by an open panel discussion and round table with business representatives, including Björn Görke (EVP P&I Technology). This provided the early talents with the opportunity to interact with the executives. During lunch break, the optional guided tours through the Rhein-Neckar-Arena allowed that the early talents got a glimpse behind the scenes. The afternoon was dedicated to personal development and gaining more insights into identified topics, but also to reflection and exchange on career experiences with SAP.


The second day was dedicated to Design Thinking, which should be experienced through teamwork. Leonie Fremgen, the lead Design Thinking coach of the day from the Design & Co-Innovation Center at the SAP AppHaus Heidelberg, introduced the participants to the method: “Design thinking is a way of tackling the unknown. It’s an expedition without a map, an expedition of which the destination is not yet clear.” In small, interdisciplinary teams, guided by a coach, the Early Talents went through the entire Design Thinking process while working on one of the following real business challenges:

  • SAP as employer of the future – Redesign SAP as continuously attractive and interesting employer of the future
  • Reverse mentoring – Redesign knowledge-sharing between early talents and long-standing SAP employees to create synergies
  • Digital assistant – Redesign a consultant’s life through smart devices
  • Work and play – Redesign business applications through gamification
  • Innovative work environment – Redesign the workplace of the future for SAP employees


After the scoping phase the early talents gained valuable insights from online sources and experts who shared their expertise with the early talents during the 360° research. All topic leads responsible for the challenges were present during the entire day to answer questions or chime in with new ideas. On this basis, the early talents designed their point of view and created a persona serving as orientation for the solution they were supposed to design. Following the ideation phase, during which they generated multiple ideas, the early talents started prototyping their solutions and presented these at the end of the day.


Sample solutions included the “idea factory SAP”, a creative and highly flexible venue in which each individual room is dedicated to a different topic. This allows generating, collecting and sharing impactful ideas. Inspired by Tinder, another group invented an app connecting early talents and long-standing SAP employees through the matching of topic of interests, whereby personal relationship as well as monetary value are generated. To simplify a consultant’s life, one group designed a digital assistant app, which wakes the consultant in time, provides travel details or weather information and even provides tips on how and where to spend any free time. To meet the challenge of redesigning business applications through gamification, one team presented a digital rewarding system, in which each employee can create and customize an avatar through the collection of points. The employees can also accumulate rewards as customers are given the opportunity to provide feedback on the service through smileys. Another group designed an innovative work environment, in which employees can lower a glass bell from the ceiling using Siri. The bell allows them to create their own private space within the open space office and prevents disturbing others. Another idea by the team included the personalization of restroom doors by telling Siri to project them images or newspapers on the door screens.

The unusual workshop-setting in the arena as well as the collaboration within the teams has inspired them to generate ideas, some of which will probably be further developed together with the respective topic lead.

Due to this interactive program, the early talents could experience the value of design thinking for creating innovative solutions, which cover core needs and make an impact for their colleagues. 


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