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Yesterday I was able to join our SAP North America President DJ Paoni during his visit to Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. As a distinguished graduate of Kellogg and member of SAP’s executive leadership team, he was invited to speak to current MBA students as part of an ongoing series of talks related to innovation in business. The Kellogg School of Management’s mission is “To educate, equip & inspire brave leaders who build strong organizations and wisely leverage the power of markets to create lasting value.” This context provided an excellent environment for DJ’s talk and discussion with students.

Moderated by Paul Earle, Adjunct Lecturer of Innovation & Entrepreneurship, the Fireside Chat addressed how SAP drives innovation utilizing its people, culture and customer insights. Some of DJ’s key themes were: 

  • How do corporations continue to stay relevant and win in the age of disruption from start-ups?
  • How can corporations recruit and retain the best people?
  • Ways in which corporations can collaborate with start-ups as allies, vs. enemies?
  • How is sales an instrument of innovation – how can people in the field use insights to drive product development?
  • What supportive structures inside the organization do you need to successfully carry-out change and innovation?

The session included questions from the audience which helped to create an interesting dialogue about innovation and SAP for the students.

Northwestern University is a private institution that was founded in 1851. It has a total undergraduate enrollment of 8,353, its setting is suburban, and the campus size is 231 acres. Northwestern University ranks #11 in the 2018 edition of Best Colleges and National Universities. Of Northwestern’s dozen schools, nine offer undergraduate programs and 10 offer graduate and professional programs. Northwestern’s highly-ranked graduate schools include the Kellogg School of Management, the School of Education and Social Policy, the School of Law, the Feinberg School of Medicine, the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and the Interdepartmental Biological Sciences Program.

SAP Next-Gen is an innovation community for SAP Leonardo which drives innovation with purpose supporting SAP’s commitment to the 17 UN Global Goals for sustainable development. SAP Next-Gen enables corporations, governments, and NGOs to connect with academic thought leaders and researchers, students, startups, tech community partners, venture firms, purpose driven partners, and SAP experts.  Corporations and partners can reimagine the future of industries with SAP Leonardo, seed in disruptive innovation with academia and startups, and build skills for digital futures.

SAP University Alliances is a global program enabling more than 3,200 educational institutions in over 111 countries to integrate the latest SAP technologies into teaching. Learning resources on SAP Leonardo and other SAP solutions enhance how faculty prepare the next generation with knowledge and skills for the digital future.

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  1. Lena Graham

    Change has always been difficult through various era’s of our history. With that said, as a person born of the small silent generation of WW 2 parents, technological chnages, post WW 2 always seemed well accepted (data from instant essay typer reports). Agriculture and that segment experienced change as kids left the farm for better jobs in factories. Then to fast forward air conditioning was sought after, fast food became acceptable, two cars was sought after. On and on to where we are today experiencing the digital world. If you sit back and take notice everyone everywhere is staring at a screen. Smart phones are providing instant data and penetrating retail etc etc. My observation is, eventually a person chooses what they will use and that is it. Hopefully Silicon valley will tackle important issues as well as todays hype, to make money such as health care, Hopefully there is effort going on, we just dont read about as airBB and Uber grap the spotlight. One confirmation is clear, the governemnt kept their nose out of regulating the internet. Had they not, we wouldn’t be where we are today. With that said there is obvious little concern for all the less skilled type jobs technology is wiping out everyday.


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