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Former Member

Starting Small

It’s remarkable to think that the giant oak trees, towering redwoods and soaring sequoias of the world all come from tiny seeds, or that the foundation of human life is a microscopic cell. In today’s world of “go big or go home” mentalities, we often forget that amazing results can be produced from small things. When it comes to design thinking, “starting small” is definitely worth the effort.

We have embraced a Design Thinking mindset at SAP to change the conversation with our customers and together to unlock value for technology for their customers, “starting small” can mean many things. It means we first explore known challenges from the perspective of the end customer, revealing unarticulated needs which cannot be discovered by looking only at processes, benchmarking and systems landscape.   We will work with our customers in small, iterative cycles, for example, using low-fidelity prototypes such as storyboards, sketching and models to explore an idea. We all know it’s more likely we’ll hit a bulls eye if we used several small darts instead of a single big arrow.  In the same way, we can discover and create meaningful and game changing solutions by employing a “start small” approach to ultimately yield powerful results.

Recently, our team met with a large grocery chain in Australia. The approach was to take small steps by considering one business challenge. In, just two hours, the team generated many great ideas by reframing the challenge from 'inventory management' to 'customers can't buy product because shelves are empty'  perspective, making the problem and solution meaningful to end cusotmers.  What started as a small exercise has now fundamentally changed our relationship with this customer to ensure the solutions we create have real human meaning and bring this customer closer to their own customers.  So the next time you engage with SAP, you might notice some small changes to how we work and we are very excited about the possibilities. 

By launching  this new Design Thinking community space on the SAP Community Network, we hope to plant another small seed, to connect and create two-way conversations for you, our customers and partners, on the topic of Design Thinking to help you transform and create value. 

Meeta Patel, Global Vice President of Design Thinking with SAP

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