“Science Fiction – A Starship for Enterprise Innovation” Showcased at Davos

This year’s World Economic Forum Annual Meeting focused on the importance of bold, new thinking to accelerate public-private partnerships aimed at creating solutions for a sustainable future and a new phase of global cooperation.

Supporting this theme in Davos, the SAP Next-Gen program discussed the forthcoming book Science Fiction – A Starship for Enterprise Innovation and shared a call to action, inviting leaders from the public sector, industries, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to use science fiction thinking to foster disruptive models for scaling solutions to the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Innovation 4.0: A Formula to Accelerate Technology for Social Good

Science Fiction – A Starship for Enterprise Innovation is an insightful and engaging look at “Innovation 4.0.”

“This next-generation innovation methodology enables purpose-driven innovators to unlock creativity and envision disruptive solutions that can accelerate achieving the SDGs,” said Ann Rosenberg, the book’s author and senior vice president and global head of SAP Next-Gen. “Innovation 4.0 is all about being inspired by science fiction, while being guided by purpose aligned with the SDGs, to uncover bold, new models for using exponential technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, blockchain, and the Internet of Things (IoT) to both profit and serve a higher social purpose.”

The book, published through Startup Guide and available soon in Startup Guide stores, offers a path forward to enterprises unsure about how to respond to the unprecedented and unabated technological surge we are witnessing today.

“Startup Guide shares the same spirit with SAP Next-Gen: to tap the creativity in all of us and envision bold solutions for the SDGs,” said Sissel Hansen, founder and CEO of Startup Guide, who joined the session in Davos. “Through our global partnership with SAP Next-Gen and with the release of Science Fiction – A Starship for Enterprise Innovation, startups who get inspiration and guidance from our 23 Startup Guide books, which cover the leading global innovation hubs, can now be part of embracing Innovation 4.0 and harnessing technology for good.”

Accelerating Solutions to the SDGs with Science Fiction Thinking

With science fiction’s proven track record of predicting future technological developments, science fiction thinking can serve as a wellspring for disruptive innovation with purpose and for an enterprise’s ongoing transformation into an intelligent enterprise.

In the session “Science Fiction – A Starship for Enterprise Innovation” at Davos, Rosenberg posed a question: “Do you recall the first time you realized that something which made a difference in your life – no matter what phase of it – first appeared in a movie many years ago? Pick up your smartphone. Believe it or not, that handheld device, which we seemingly cannot live without, traces its roots directly back to the 1960s television program Star Trek.”

In the book, Rosenberg shares that the mobile phone’s inventor, Martin Cooper, claimed that the Star Trek communicator inspired the design of the first mobile phone in the early 1970s. He took his inspiration from science fiction to work with him. This inspiration provided the focus and clarity of vision that helped create a device that changed the world. The smartphone, the grandchild to Cooper’s original cellular phone, is arguably the most rapidly dispersed technological product in human history.

Rosenberg encouraged an audience of government, corporate, non-profit, and philanthropic leaders to take inspiration from Cooper and other innovators. “Bring your science fiction ideas and inspiration to work. Activate your latent science fiction passion, and apply it to scale the impact of public-private partnerships for the SDGs,” she said. “Science fiction thinking is rapidly becoming an essential ingredient in the innovation process. This makes it a source of true competitive advantage as intelligent enterprises seek exponential growth and innovation with purpose linked to accelerating solutions to the Global Goals.”