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The 1st stop of Impactathon event in China last Saturday – April 25th.  SAP University Alliances together with SAP CSR and DTV(Design thinking volunteer) actively supported Net Impact project team to  successfully facilitate this event.

An Impactathon is a one-day challenge that encourages teams of students to generate creative solutions to a local social issue through an abridged design thinking framework. Each Impactathon is part of a global series of 12 events. China is the 11th stop of this series events over global. It attracted 40 students from different universities to attend in person. Most of them are Chinese students from local, others are international students study in Shanghai. The challenge of the whole day is:  How might we design new ways to support young people to pursue entrepreneurship to improve their lives, their communities, and the world? All the students were divided into 8 teams to work through the design thinking process to come up with new solutions to this challenge and present them to the panel of judges. The solutions will be judged on potential for positive impact, innovation, feasibility, and potential to scale.

Besides students, 8 SAP volunteers(2 from UA, 6 from DTV), also participated for the whole day to act as DT coach or coordinator of the event. 3 experts from local NGOs served as interviewees for all the teams. And finally, the panel of judges consist of 2 of the experts from NGO and 1 DT coach from SAP. They watched all the pitches and determine the winning team after deliberation.

Specially thanks to SAP colleagues Honggang Wang; Jay Du; Sophia Wang; Maggie Yang; Xunli Zou; Hongyu Duan and Megan Liang to sacrifice their leisure time in supporting this event.

Students arrived event venue by themselves. They were assigned to separate teams named after a kind of fruit  when they registered outside the room. All these students are from different schools, different majors, different grades and even different countries. But there was no hold back for them to communicate with others. They enjoyed the tea break and actively exchange with each other.

Event officially started from 9:30am, Greg Francis, experienced trainer from Net Impact firstly introduced the mission and vision of the series events, and an overview of Design Thinking. After the “Ice Break” exercise that everyone to introduce himself/herself and favorite food in short, all the teams started to review design challenge of the day and identify personas. Every team owned a “Graffiti wall” to put their ideas, and they also shared a chance to interview experts from NGOs in a certain period.


After a quick lunch, teams back to continue the challenge with “Ideation” phase. Followed by “Prototyping” that everyone were inspired by “the marshmallow challenge”, and were excited to work out their solution to the challenge. With the support from DT coach, each team finalized their own prototype with the information they collected from the interviewees.

All teams presented their prototype to the panel of judges one by one.  After the deliberation, judges announced that  team grape is the winning team of Impactathon Shanghai. Their work will compete with others from Impactathon events all over the world, the final winning team will be endorsed to Seattle, USA later this year.


“Really grateful to the staff organizing this inspiring event!” – Grace Xu, Shanghai International Studies University

“Thank you all for a great day!” – Andree-Anne LeBlanc, Hult International Business School

“Congratulations to all, and I do think every group grasp some pain points for Chinese social entrepreneurs need to further develop, and many online platform solutions are quite interesting.” – Li Ding, Vice President of  NPI

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