Design Thinking the SAP Inside Track
SIT Denmark – Design perspective
While being a tad bit exhausted after attending my first SAP Inside Track on the 6th of May, I highly recommend it to others in the SAP community. This time the event was hosted at KMD in Ballerup Denmark and, as usual, it was on a Saturday, so no conflicts would occur in the work calendar. Personally I did not know what to expect from an event held purely out of interest on a weekend. However, I must tell you, it turned out to be far more fun and interesting than anticipated!
What is SIT?
SAP Inside Track is a grass-root movement in the SAP community where people host gatherings and events to share knowledge and to network. SIT is driven by people with passion for what they do and with interest in getting to know others. It is possible to sign up as speaker or simply attend.
The thing that I got to do at SIT
I signed up to attend the SIT hosted in Ballerup and to talk about Design Thinking; not just talk about the process and methodology, but also to try it out with the participants. It would be fun to expand the method based vocabulary of those in the community.
For those unaware, let me shortly sum up what Design Thinking is:
Design Thinking is commonly used in projects where a problem needs specification and a solution is to be designed. It is used in the earlier stages of development in projects, where the team has uncertainties about the task, problem or proposed solution.
With an event as interesting as this, I decided to do an exercise that involved everyone personally by making the design challenge about improving SIT. It was a hands-on in the Scoping phase, which revolves around including the right stakeholders and finding mutual understanding before researching the problem in depth.
Design thinking as a learning experience – learning by doing
Everyone involved were stakeholders because they had personal involvement in this challenge. With a warm-up game giving everyone a chance to meet and greet, the participants were split into teams and guided through a charrette exercise, which is a brainstorming exercise. Everyone was asked to brainstorm about the keywords of SIT, currently being Community/Networking, Knowledge-Sharing and Fun. The output was a wall of data including everyone’s thoughts that gave way for a common ground.
It surprised me that it was easier than anticipated to get the participants involved with the process. The value of this experience comes from everyone being heard and everyone listening. Its structure was rigid and timeboxed enough to guide the participants’ focus, yet open and welcoming enough to include all participants. In the beginning, it might have seemed weird or odd, but it did not take long for everyone to immerse themselves in the experience.
It was a bit of a meta-experience asking the participants to reflect on what they thought was a good SAP Inside Track while they were participating in one and doing an exercise intending to be fun and involving and a step towards improving it. All the feedback and data will be taken into consideration for improving the next SIT. The Mindmap underneath is the essence of all the post-its collected after the exercise:
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What did we find out?
The major themes and aspects were the People involved, Inspiration that made them participate, and the Trends they came to talk about.Within these themes there are sub-elements that represent an area of interest and possible improvement.
Most commonly, beer was a preferable option when doing gatherings. But there were also some other, far more interesting, observations and agreements. Everyone wanted hands-on exercises, and preferred it to be informal. More time to get to know each other, as this was the point in coming to the events. In large quantities about the quality of networking and seeing what was going on in other markets. Equally to meet with other, but also be inspired to learn and grow. The key notion was seeing how to improve in regards to the bigger picture. And the SIT was just that – sharing the bigger picture of the community. Less standing and presenting, more hands-on insight into connecting themes and areas of interest.
These are definitely to be taken into consideration for the next SIT event in Denmark. Please note, that the themes might be completely isolated in regards to the small danish SAP community that exists. If we wanted to figure out how it works in Germany, USA or other places, we would have to make more workshops.
A big thank you to all participants.
Background on myself
Anne Johnson, Master’s degree in Digital Design and Communication from Aarhus University. Primarily interested in the earlier phases of development with large focus on users and human-computer interaction. I am new in the SAP community, no previous experiences set my expectations for SIT. However, it turned out to be a fun experience and a nice meeting with people from the Danish SAP community.