I’ve been writing about the finalists of the SAP M-Prize “Unlimited Human Potential” Challenge, and now that the winners have been announced, was lucky enough to talk with some of these amazing teams to find out what has inspired them.
All of the entries in this global ideas contest shared one purpose: to develop “stories” and “hacks” that would unlock human potential and improve people’s lives at work through emerging technologies. However, each team approached the challenge from a unique perspective. Here is the back story behind a few of their winning ideas.
Upending traditional budgeting processes
Budgeting is never easy but the team from New Zealand-based Enspiral is changing all that with its gamified process and open source app. Collaborative Funding: Dissolve Authority, Empower Everyone, and Crowdsource a Smarter, Transparent Budget, is a non-hierarchical process that crowdsources budgets among departments. Enspiral is also developing a collaborative budgeting open source tool called Cobudget. This has become part of the larger Enspiral App Ecosystem, an interoperable set of open-source apps forming an operating system for a new kind of company.
“Our company’s raison d’etre is to have a positive social impact, and a big part of our 2014 strategy is open sourcing more of what we do,” says Alanna Krause, a director of the Enspiral Foundation. “Once we saw the massive positive impact that collaborative funding was having on us internally in terms of shared ownership, engagement, and transparency, and higher quality financial decision-making, we were motivated to develop an open source app that would be accessible to everyone.”
Reinventing knowledge management – how to stop searching and work faster
Lukas Masuch believes that the next generation of search revolves around understanding how everything is connected in the real world. This is the premise behind Enterprise Knowledge Graph (EKG), his prototyped research platform. A student at Cooperative State University Baden-Wurttemberg in Germany, which is a member of the SAP University Alliances program, Masuch developed the EKG during his internship at SAP. The idea originated from a research project he was working on for an intelligent business assistant for daily work.
“I realized that I’d need a comprehensive knowledge base of all the information across SAP, including how everything fits together. The inspiration also came from Facebook’s Social Graph and how Google tries to understand the real world and how everything is connected. I set out to develop this concept within the scope of the enterprise,” says Masuch.
Still very much in process, interest is running high around EKG according to Masuch. “It’s too time-consuming to search for information and people. People are already excited about having a transparent view and what they can build on such a platform.”
Now headed back to university for several months, Masuch plans to continue development of EKG including data protection and privacy compliance.
Transforming how people work together
As freelance and contingent workers continue to grow, Andrew Jones, co-owner and partner at Texas-based Conjunctured Coworking, says that Nomatik Coworking bridges a crucial gap, connecting independent workers with each other and companies in online/offline communities.
“What’s been missing is the symbiotic relationship between freelancers and their viability in terms of generating a reliable income, access to insurance, and infrastructure. We want to create a global community of workers and make it accessible to companies,” he says.
After realizing that many people have similar ideas around coworking, Jones says that his team has been humbled by the entire M-Prize challenge experience. “You have to be open and willing to learn from other folks. We’re just trying to be part of a broader solution that makes being a freelancer more sustainable. Rather than obsessing over a business plan, we want to make it useful for people. Hopefully that will be the basis for financial success.”
Indeed, Conjunctured Coworking is partnering with the Serendipity Machine, licensing that company’s software platform for Nomatik. The next step is attracting beta users in coffee shops, hotels, and eventually airports.
These are just three of the M-Prize winners that will be recognized this week at SAP’s annual SAPPHIRE NOW event June 3-5. The complete list of winning entries encompassing industry and workplace transformation through innovations like Big Data and collaboration can be found here.
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