Soccer team in a huddle

SAP Design Talk: Designed to Fly

Feature Article | October 20, 2015 by Esther Blankenship

“At Nike, we always set ourselves what we called a BHAG. That stands for big, hairy, audacious goal,” Jason Mayden recalled from his days as Senior Global Design Director for Jordan Brand, a division of Nike. Jason recently kicked off the SAP Design Talk series to a full house of well over 700 employees at SAP headquarters in Walldorf, Germany. The star-designer-turned-start-up-entrepreneur talked about creativity and meaning in design.

“With the Air Jordan, our BHAG was to make people fly,” Mayden said. Of course, the shoes didn’t really make people fly, but, according to Mayden, they did provide a bit of extra lift that brought professional athletes, and those wanting to be like them, a bit closer to the basketball rim.

Whether or not the shoes designed by Mayden actually delivered on their goal is pretty irrelevant to me since I don’t much care about the difference between a right guard and a left hook. As a design professional, I went to the talk hoping to pick up some interesting tidbits about design from a new perspective and left very much impressed with Jason’s effortless eloquence as well as his infectious passion for sports and design.

Moreover, I was really touched by the warmth and sincerity which accompanied Mayden’s goal to improve the health, self-esteem and life prospects of young people. But Nike’s “BHAG” of flight struck me as similar to the goal of the SAP Design Talk itself. The series aims to take employees out of their daily routines and help to release their potential to achieve the extraordinary.

About the SAP Design Talk Series

The event with Jason Mayden was the first in a series of SAP Design Talks, which aim to support SAP’s path to success by providing fresh insights about design from outside the company to all employees. Regularly bringing illustrious people from some of the most influential brands in the world to the stage, the talks are not about making things pretty but instead about cultivating an understanding for the end-to-end experience we have with products many of us use every day.

The next SAP Design Talk will take place on November 12 with Paul Gardien, Chief Design of Philips, a global leader in product design for almost a century.

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