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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.

Day One started in a relaxed atmosphere, giving the Early Talents the chance to get to know their fellow peers over coffee and croissants. Several attendees affirmed their overall expectation centered on getting an overview of the career possibilities at SAP and networking. The morning and afternoon sessions were a well-balanced mix of talks and active participation.

The 2-day event was hosted and organized by a team of local HR Business Partners for P&I Germany (Tina Krieger, Elisabeth Röder, Elena Ruff, Kathrin Seibold).  who made sure to actively engage the Early Talents by asking each table to dive into group discussions and sharing success stories. Accordingly, the key note on strategy and products, held by Business Sponsor Jens Krüger, was followed by a lively round table on stage. Quite a few Early Talents took the chance to address their questions to Tim Bolte, Björn Goerke, Jens Krüger and Elke Manjet. Several business representatives joined the event to connect and exchange with the Early Talents and share their insights and own career stories.

There was plenty of time for networking again during the lunch break. As one participant pointed out, “it is so great to have the opportunity of such a face-to-face event.” A special goody was the chance to join a guided tour around the Arena which was perceived with great interest.

The afternoon sessions had the Early Talents even more engaged into group work. First and foremost the task to create a metaphor that represents how they as Newbies may contribute to SAP’s success on its way forward (regarding the way to the cloud and the digital strategy) and how this can foster their continuous learning today and in two years’ time showed most creative results.

After a joint review of all the creatively designed pin boards, day one closed with a get-together.

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

Business experts were present during the entire day to answer questions or chime in with new ideas. Wieland Schreiner also attended day two, touring the groups and sharing his thoughts on the Early Talents’ ideas. 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.

The unusual workshop setting in the Arena as well as the collaboration within the teams inspired the Early Talents to generate most diverse ideas – of which some will probably be further developed. This interactive program made the Early Talents really experience the value of Design Thinking to create innovative solutions.