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83 students, 16 countries, 30 hours of coding, and 16 app prototypes around the topic ‘Mobility of the Future’ – that’s this year’s InnoJam++ @ CeBIT 2016 presented by SAP & Volkswagen in a nutshell.

Our hackathons are a 30 hours hands-on experience using SAP's coolest and newest technologies supported by SAP domain experts and branch experts. You will learn about innovative SAP technologies, collaborate and co-innovate with fellow students. Expand your network by meeting other participants from dozens of countries. Get a crash course in Design Thinking, apply your knowledge by developing prototypes of solutions to real business cases e.g. relevant for the automotive branch and compete to win awesome prizes.

During this year’s CeBIT hackathon, the participants innovated in teams of 4-6 people concerning the topic ‘Mobility of the Future’ in order to create apps with SAP HANA Cloud Platform and SAPUI5.

Three of them wrote down their experiences for you.

Haythem Khiri is a Software Engineering and Information Systems Student at the Higher Institute of Computer Science in Ariana, Tunisia. He was an InnoJam first-timer at the InnoJam++:

“A friend of mine who had participated in the InnoJam 2014 recommended me to participate in this special event. He described to me how great his experience was, so I did some research and then applied. Within a few days, the SAP University Alliances team sent me a confirmation email stating that I had been accepted to the event.
On Monday March 14th, I took a flight to Frankfurt, from there the train to Hannover, and then the subway to the meeting point at the hostel where I arrived at 3:47 p.m. I was out of breath but happy to have been on time. Once I was there, we received our full week entrance ticket to CeBIT and our room keys. From the hostel we took the bus to the fair where we enjoyed a guided tour and did the team assignments. I had great teammates: Elena Veli from Greece, Lukas Windhofer and Daniel Linke from Germany. Afterwards the set-up of the InnoJam as well as the agenda were presented and we finally got our team challenge.
Tuesday started with a practical training in Design Thinking, commenced with a panel discussion about the Digital Transformation in the German automotive industry and the Tech Fire. At 3:30 p.m. we started programming until the next day at 6 p.m. Personally, my conscience would not let me sleep. I think that I only had 45 minutes to relax and then we continued to code, code…. and code! At 5:56 p.m. we submitted our app!
On Thursday, Ian Kimbell (SAP SE) told us the secrets of how to make a very successful presentation which we then used in thinking about our own presentation. Silvia Rathgeb (SAP SE), our coach throughout the competition, gave us valuable advice while we did a dry-run of our final presentation. At the Corporate Stage, where we presented our work, the competition was tight with a lot of innovative ideas, good apps, and great presentations! We were very proud when someone from the audience interviewed us on our application and when Stephan Brand (SAP SE) appointed us as one of the final four teams!

Through this competition, I could get an idea about my potential and my level on an international scale. I also made new friends from different nationalities and cultures. I am really grateful to all the organizers who have done a very good job, our coaches and my team; especially to Silvia Rathgeb and Theodor Foerster (SAP SE) for their guidance, Jennifer Spannagel and Johanna Schertler for their good humor and energy, and Ian Kimbell for his valuable tips!”

Mohamed Ashry was a first-timer at an InnoJam, too. He is a Business Informatics Student at the University of Mannheim:

“About my trip from Mannheim to Hanover, I had the notion that the event is going to be full of programmers who would spend days and nights in front of laptop screens coding. However, once I put my feet into the hotel, the number of participants coming from all over the globe pleasantly surprised me. You look at their faces and you would be amazed by the amount of fun and positive spirit they spread everywhere.
Innojam is more than a hackathon. From my experience there I came up with the following highlights:
1. I met people from different parts of the world who had different levels of experience, came from different backgrounds with diverse norms and believes. It is a great opportunity for networking and making cool friends, too.
2. The event isn’t just all about coding. The SAP Coaching team guided us through the Design Thinking process, where you would start from observing a problem to Ideation and finally developing a prototype to be tested.
3. The SAP and Volkswagen coaching teams will assist you all the time. Whenever you have a question, there will be someone who jumps to offer his help.
4. Amazing spirit shining in the event’s hall and it is coming from the amazing organizers who would even force you to have a break JJ. We had great breakfast, lunch, dinners and drinks. The food was delicious, I mean everyone gained some weight in the end.
My experience was great and I would recommend it to everyone who has been to such events before and to those who haven’t. Whether you are a programmer, tech savvy, a businessperson or a young entrepreneur. You would definitely find a spot for you there. Guess what, a successful team who is capable of winning the hackathon is a diverse one that digests different backgrounds from techy to business in order to tackle the challenge from all the aspects.

Louisa Mayer is already an old hand when it comes to InnoJams. With a background in Management, Marketing and Sales from the International School of Management in Frankfurt, she is well-equipped for the business side of an app prototype:

This was my first InnoJam at CeBIT – and my third InnoJam in total. I have been to two InnoJams before (in Walldorf and Barcelona). I applied together with a good friend of mine, who I first met during the InnoJam ‘Apps for Fashion’ in Walldorf and luckily we both had the possibility to take part again. As you can see – InnoJam makes long-lasting friendships! There we were: Hannover, CeBIT, a full week of developing ideas and innovations. Arriving at the hostel all students got to know each other really soon – and quickly we figured out who was the champion at table soccer.

After the Check-In at the hostel we went to CeBIT and the teams and challenges were assigned: „How can we design an efficient scenario to assure maintenance for a riskless production?“ After the first brainstorming, we all had a clear idea on how our team understood the challenge. What is really great about this type of InnoJam is the diversity of the teams: Different people with different backgrounds from different countries come together to create something new in only 30 hours. Where else do you have the chance to take part in such a challenge with team members from Turkey, Germany, China, the Netherlands and Pakistan? I promise you – there are great minds coming together!

30 hours of developing a concrete idea and creating an application. It does sound tough, but it’s still a lot of fun. The paradigm: Eat, sleep, code, repeat. And in between you have the chance to laugh a lot. After a sleepless night and a probably much higher body fat index we were finally done. Excitement and cheering. The last thing we had to do was presenting our idea to the judges. Nearly 20 awesome solutions for the different challenges were presented. I am still amazed and thrilled about the brilliant and smart ideas that can be generated in such short time. And so were the judges. Everybody is a winner, and we all know that.

I am already looking forward to the next InnoJam. Every time I have the chance to collect new impressions and make a great experience – and I am not only developing my design thinking and coding skills further, but also broaden my horizon, making new friends and having a really good time.

If you are interested in joining one of our upcoming hackathons please have a look at our dedicated website to stay tuned!