Soccer team in a huddle

Creating a Purpose for the Next Generation

Feature Article | October 13, 2015 by Dana Roesiger

People want to work where their efforts make a difference and this in particular applies for our next-generation workforce.

I just experienced that during the SAP InnoJam – Coding the Future in Berlin. Seventy students from 17 different countries attended this event, a platform to create, innovate and be passionate about IT. In a 32-hour coding marathon, 10 teams hacked and coded night and day using design thinking principles and SAP HANA to come up with new and innovative apps. The most important fact was for them to build something that benefits others.

In our fast-moving, digital era, innovation and technology are omnipresent, forcing companies like SAP to deliver immediate value to consumers. And this pillar is ingrained in young people. I spent plenty of time talking to students attending the event and most of them had one thing in common: they appreciate innovation that reinvents products and service to help the world run better and simpler.

But not just that. They also wish for a technology-enabled simplicity in every aspect of their lives. Why should they use a product that’s complicated to use. It simply does not add any value if they cannot use it immediately. While it sounds kind of arrogant in the first place, we need to face the fact that our next-generation workforce happens to be the first generation to be completely reliant on technology, simplicity, and digitally powered connections.

SAP did not invent the wheel but we will be able to create a new digital future. In order to continue to be successful we need to demonstrate a talent to get the workforce of the future enthusiastic about SAP.

These two-day event in Berlin was packed with creativity, design thinking, technical innovations and viability. A diverse set of panelists provided a flavor of their learnings from their career journeys to date.

Jürgen Griesbeck, Founder and CEO of streetfootballworld and Reza Mehmansefat, Founder and CEO of Full Controll and Stefan Ries, CHRO of SAP, debated the enormous impact that the young generation are having on business and how it is imperative for businesses to attract, inspire, and motivate the new generation of the workforce. They highlighted how technology can be used as a key changer and enabler — either in a corporate world, startup, or social entrepreneur organization.msu_092915_134.jpg

The discussion was highly informal and the participants engaged all the panel members in a lively discussion working to understand how they can disrupt the workplace and create a meaningful network.

Having been involved with SAP for over 10 years, what was interesting to me is how to-the-point the discussion was. The single message driven home was the confidence that Ries has in this generation, its desire to change the world for the better, and the fact that so many of the students in the audience are entrepreneurial in their thinking.

Entrepreneurialism and continued innovation within an organization are key in the future and it seems that in hiring some of these sharp minds and convincing them that SAP can be a great entry point to a career full of possibility to innovate SAP could achieve something very special.msu_092915_151.jpg

To support this, we created an environment at SAP InnoJam where the best idea wins. With building an application for digital universities to reduce entry barriers for refugees team “Learn&Earn” showcased their entrepreneurial thinking and deserved to win.

The event was truly an eye-opener for me. Students left feeling so motivated and with many new ideas. I wouldn’t be surprised if hidden in that group are some names that we will begin hearing about in the near future and they may look back on Berlin as the day their own ideas really took flight.

This story originally appeared on SAP Community Network.

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