Our One Billion Lives journey
For a very long time, I used to think, having a good idea is the key to launching a successful business. Over the years I have come up with many ideas which I thought were good ideas, but they ended up as a folder in my system. I have always enjoyed the research and documentation process, there is a fulfilling experience about writing up a business plan, a technical document, mocking up screens. With each experience I learned, having a good idea is only a motivation, translating that idea into a product tests you at an entirely different level. When SAP introduced intrepreneurship opportunity, I was super thrilled, after numerous submissions over the years, this year our idea was not only picked among the top 5 ideas, but we were among the two ideas which were shortlisted to attend the basecamp from North America. While we are still waiting for the results, I wanted to pen down my experience so far.
Introduction to SAP One Billion Lives
SAP’s One Billion Live(1BL) gives SAP employees an opportunity to submit their ideas with a humanitarian or environmental mission at their core. Every year SAP will fund one idea from each region that has the potential of making a difference. Last few months, I had an opportunity to listen to my colleagues from different regions pitch their ideas. In this journey, on one hand, I am just amazed by the range of topics and the level of preparedness of teams, ideas were validated with government bureaucrats, customers, and internal stakeholders, on the other hand, the passion of the 1BL team, the mentors, the jury, and everyone involved to pull off a global initiative in this scale.
The road to the pitch
From day one, we heard the mentors talking about not getting emotionally attached to the initial idea. It’s an understatement to say we did not necessarily put too much thought into it. Off the bat we knew, our focus was to have a platform to reward the SMB suppliers who are passionate about the social cause they are tied into, but through the journey, we realized the number of pivots we took before we came up with a possible solution.
Being part of Customer Success organization, we are wired to think from the customer’s point of view, we connected with many customers and colleagues to vet our idea, one common point which stood out was the pure passion everyone we interacted with had to make a change, this passion helped us strive harder.
As the saying goes, teamwork makes the dream work, it’s key to have a team working towards a common goal. Between Chris Lewis, Miguel Alfaro, Tim Curcio, and myself, our experience ranged from product design and development, commercialization through Go-To-Market for various SAP products. Each of us had a perspective and attention to detail, on our first-ever pitch, our Mentor Drew Birtwistle heard our pitch and said, “I can tell you guys are product managers, you have thought of everything, but remember you have to say all this in 5 mins”. If I didn’t mention this earlier, we get 5 minutes to pitch our idea to the judges, for our team, this was a challenge, we are very passionate about the topic, but telling everything we want to in 5 mins was a challenge, to say the least, it makes you revisit each and every word you say.
We also want to take this opportunity to thank SAP for the opportunity, the IBL team namely Muzna Siddiqi, Wayne Pau, and Drew Birtwistle for supporting us during this journey, we are looking for more successful ventures coming out of the IBL initiative which will make a difference in all our lives.
We believe Sustainability is a team sport, everyone has a role to play in “Saving the World”, our venture idea concentrates on connecting like-minded suppliers and buyers to achieve a common goal. You can read more about it here.