SAP Staff to Help 700 Youths in 19 Countries Unleash Creative Potential in FIRST LEGO League
Germany — SAP AG (NYSE: SAP) today announced the overwhelming response of its employees joining in the FIRST LEGO League (FLL), a hands-on robotics program developed by The LEGO Group and U.S.-based nonprofit organization FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology). In joining the program, SAP took the opportunity to create its first worldwide employee volunteer initiative—fostering creativity, thirst for knowledge and teamwork among today’s youth. The initiative is off to a successful start with 170 SAP employees stepping forward to participate as coaches and mentors for a total of 700 children.
Among a total of 7,200 FLL teams competing worldwide in the initiative, SAP is contributing 85 teams in 19 countries as follows (number of teams in parentheses): Germany (32), United States (11), India (10), France (4), Japan (5), Israel (3), Korea (3), Mexico (3), China (2), Denmark (2), Singapore (2), Switzerland (2), Austria (1), Belgium (1), Canada (1), Norway (1), Sweden (1), Taiwan (1), and United Kingdom (1).
The initiative provides an opportunity for SAP employees to engage with their communities to help children recognize and develop their own innovative skills. The FLL program combines science and fun by engaging children and teenagers aged 10 to 16 in robotics design, scientific research, and tournament competition. It is designed to instill enthusiasm for science and technology in the next generation, encouraging children to examine and explore their own creativity while working in teams.
“The natural curiosity and creativity of youths as well as their teamwork abilities are critical qualities for developing innovative solutions to challenging technology problems and opportunities,” said Jens Maibom, vice president, The LEGO Group. “The FIRST LEGO League mission is to inspire youngsters around the world to work together, use their creativity, and engage in real-world problems and opportunities. With its strong focus on innovation, technology and education, SAP is an optimal FLL partner, and we are pleased to see the resounding response of SAP employees around the world stepping forward to embrace this mission.”
“FIRST is proud to join efforts with SAP to encourage students’ interest and participation in science and technology,” said Anna Maenhout, director, FIRST LEGO League. “Through this exciting employee initiative, SAP volunteers have a unique opportunity to share in the teamwork, leadership, creativity and spirit of FIRST LEGO League, while making a difference in the lives of children. We are thrilled to welcome SAP and its employees to the program.”
Each September, FLL teams across the world take on a challenge to strategize, design, build, program, test and refine a fully autonomous robot capable of completing the various tasks using the LEGO MINDSTORMS™ technology. In doing so, they also search the Internet, consult with their team mentors, talk to scientists and visit the library to develop compelling research assignment presentations relating to a problem or opportunity facing the world today. SAP supports the SAP teams participating in the global initiative by providing the necessary LEGO equipment and field set-up kit.
The theme of this year’s robot competition is “Ocean Odyssey,” offering children the opportunity to explore the riches of the world’s oceans and appreciate the importance of preserving them for future generations. The official start of the competition is September 17, 2005, when the teams will receive their official challenge. Regional tournaments will take place from November 2005 to February 2006.
“As a global information technology leader, SAP recognizes and embraces its responsibility to contribute actively to society, fostering advances in education, technology and innovation,” said Claus Heinrich, executive board member, SAP. “Through our participation in and support of FIRST LEGO League, SAP seeks to cultivate the innovative spirit of children, helping youngsters develop their own skills, creativity and solutions in working toward a better tomorrow for themselves and their communities.”