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Education Newscast 103 – The SAP Innovator Challenge with Antonia Zorn and Andi Michaels

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In the today’s episode of the SAP Education Newscast, Christoph Haffner talks with Antonia Zorn (SAP) and Andi Michaels (SAP) about the learning initiative “Innovator Challenge”.

What is the Innovator Challenge about?

It is an initiative, which allows employees to work with the latest technologies and create new products and services. The goal is not only to create something new, but also to build an innovative and creative mindset, to create a great learning experience and combine it with fun. In a time period of six months, the teams can work on their prototypes, while the final event includes its presentation in front of a jury.


How can you convince people with your idea?

This is basically one of the greatest challenges. The main idea of this initiative is not to create something, which will help the customer to run better – but it is about creating a prototype – to have a learning experience. Similar to the fact how you do not use the exercises you do in a course of a training session, you do not necessarily use the prototype for a customer. It has more of an educational purpose, so the basic idea is to focus on the learning aspect. It is interesting as you are still having a competitive environment and you can push yourself behind boundaries.


What are the experiences about being innovative and creative in a team?

Generally it can be said that each person in the team is different and has a different background. Sometimes it is necessary for them to learn how to use certain tools you usually do not use. The benefit of pushing people to use new tools is that they can later integrate them into their daily work. Also, you develop a lot of different other skills in the course of the initiative, such as presentation skills for example, which might be helpful as well.


Useful tools

There a various tools that might be helpful, especially when you work in a virtual team. Miro or Mural is a very good tool which can be used as a whiteboard for example and which allows you to post sticky notes, upload images etc. Also Microsoft Teams provides a lot of useful features for collaboration and knowledge management. For example it is possible to create channels, share documents, images and post things.


Using new tools for innovation – a sustainable measure?

Indeed, using new tools and pushing other people to use them does have a sustainable effect. It allows people to work in a more innovative way and move away from old patterns, like only using Emails to communicate. You become comfortable with new technologies and tools and can also use it in your daily business later on. This has also helped the SAP to be successful and confident when the business needed to be virtualized because of the current crisis.


Further plans and developments

All in all this has turned out to be a very helpful program and the number of participants rises from year to year. The feedback and learning experience is highly positive. Due to its success, SAP wants to roll this concept out to customers, providing them with the essential framework and coaches. If you are interested, do not hesitate to contact Antonia or Andi!


Thank you for tuning in! We are looking forward to having you with us next time! Would be great if you can share the podcast on social media, or like or  on Apple podcasts. And we are always thankful if you share your lessons learned from the talk like in the comments below.


Here are a few more interesting links:

Antonia explaining what the Innovator Challenge is all about
SAP Innovator Challenge and Learning Labs
Blog on Innovator Challenge 2019
Antonia on LinkedIn
Andi on LinkedIn


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