Jump Start for Innovation: SAP’s New Innovation Toolkit

In June 2021, an updated version of the innovation toolkit along with step-by-step guidance was launched out of the SAP AppHaus. It offers easy-to-access methods, best practices, articles, and courses, which are catered to the needs of hybrid work for both in-person and virtual teams.

Customers, partners, and scholars alike can use them to scale human-centered and sustainable innovation in their organizations.

Crises Are Opportunities for Innovation

Author and management consultant Peter Drucker once said, “The enterprise that does not innovate ages and declines. And in a period of rapid change such as at present, the decline will be fast.” He stated this about 20 years ago, not knowing that today this statement would be more valid than ever before.

In recent years, the effects of global challenges such as climate change, migration waves, racial inequities, and the pandemic further sharpened the urgency to innovate. Organizations, societies, and companies alike had to react quickly to solve problems. In the economic sphere, it meant to improve or solve supply chain, distribution, and other logistics problems quickly, or to handle any consequences as well as possible.

Digitization and business intelligence became key factors to help ensure continued business success and the much-needed agility in the market. What’s more, fast progressing technology disrupts industries, creating challenges around health, resource efficiency, and security.

Sustainable Innovation Stands on Five Enablers

All these challenges are altering the world so drastically that many companies are under pressure to innovate and transform. This process of innovative change can only take place and be successful and sustainable if different factors are duly considered and covered.

SAP has identified an innovation framework of five key enablers to make innovation real:

  1. People: People are at the core of every cultural transformation because they make change happen. Organizations can enable people to develop a right mix of skills, mindsets, and competencies for creativity and collaboration.
  2. Leadership: Employees and people in an organization cannot flourish if they are not supported by their management and leadership. Team leads need a human-centric mindset to empower their people and nurture practices for innovation.
  3. Place: As organizations practice innovation on a regular basis, their workspaces must be designed differently to support and sustain change. The workspace should encourage collaboration and allow for creative practices to flourish.
  4. Process: A structured human-centered approach with best practices that support every step of an innovation project is necessary.
  5. Technology: Tools and solutions only bring value when being used in the right context. Technology is the enabler of innovation, but it can only reach its full potential in combination with the other four innovation enablers.

Guide to Run Innovation Projects from Beginning to End

Innovations start with a need or a challenge. But identifying challenges worth solving in an organization is not easy.

The SAP AppHaus Network team applies SAP’s human-centered approach to innovation to help customers identify and prioritize their challenges and transform them into innovation opportunities. This approach combines design thinking methods with the knowledge and best practices of enterprise architecture to create innovative solutions that are also feasible and viable.

Based on the experience of more than 1,000 projects conducted with customers of all industries, the multidisciplinary SAP AppHaus team of designers, business experts, and enterprise architects has developed a set of techniques and hands-on activities, made available and bundled in the innovation toolkit. It offers unique methods and other resources for each innovation enabler, empowering organizations to apply this framework and jump-start their innovation journey.

In response to virtual and remote work routines, tools and templates are available both for physical and virtual workshops. They are publicly accessible and can be downloaded for free.

As the SAP AppHause designers who drive the innovation toolkit project, Kursat Ozenc and Karen Detken explain: “The innovation toolkit is meant to be a living resource, continuously filled and complemented with methods recommended by partners and customers. By offering methods both for design and architecture thinking, we envisioned the toolkit to be the go-to place for facilitating innovation in the enterprise. “

Along SAP’s human-centered approach to innovation, organizations that want to innovate are guided along the following five main phases:

  • Explore opportunities: Identify the most valuable use cases for your business area with key business and IT leaders.
  • Discover insights: Gain a deep understanding about the challenges through observation, interviews, and market and user research
  • Design solutions: Identify the best solution ideas, make them tangible through prototypes, and identify the enterprise architecture components.
  • Deliver solutions: Develop and deliver the technical solution and value for end users by leveraging SAP Business Technology Platform.
  • Run and scale: Deploy and run the solution across the company, get feedback, and optimize further.

Andreas Hauser, head of the global SAP AppHaus Network, explains, “By assembling our innovationt toolkit, we consolidate our experience from more than 20 years of best practices. We help the entire SAP ecosystem accelerate innovation projects and scale SAP’s human-centered approach to innovation.”

First statistics and successes show that the innovation toolkit meets the needs of innovators across the globe. It has received two German Innovation Awards, gold in the category of Excellence in B2B Office Solutions and a win in the Design Thinking category. For more information, read the full article here. Since its beginning, the scenes-related assets have seen more than 10,000 downloads from users across the globe.

Innovation Is Contagious

An essential component of every successful innovation project is the underlying technology that allows for getting value out of data in order to help ensure the integration of business processes as well as the extensibility for rapid innovation — the way it is done with SAP Business Technology Platform.

It depends on different factors, needs to focus on the users, and should demonstrate the benefits it will bring. To nurture practices for creativity and innovation, team leads and managers need to develop a human-centric mindset, encourage, and empower their employees and co-workers.

SAP AppHaus Heidelberg Manager Dirk Ziegeler describes it as follows: “Innovation and creativity are interdependent. The global SAP AppHaus teams have gained a lot of experience in that field. Our colleagues work in very self-determined and responsible ways; at the same time, our team spirit is very strong. The innovation toolkit is just another expression of this spirit — to reach out to co-innovators, share best practices, templates, and helpful content, and to make them available to the public for free.”

It is this spirit that makes innovative ideas thrive  and triggers the wish to continue the innovative path. As Albert Einstein once noted, “Creativity is contagious, pass it on.”

The SAP AppHaus Network team insists that the same is true for innovation. Let’s pass it on!