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SAP Next-Gen Showcases Science Fiction Thinking to Boldly Envision the Intelligent Enterprise

Feature Article | March 2, 2018 by Ann Rosenberg

In every person, there is a science fiction imagination. We are now seeing this come into the corporate world, where science fiction thinking is becoming a mindset and a powerful enterprise tool to accelerate purpose-driven, transformative innovation.

With science fiction thinking, you can think beyond limitations and imagine the future of industries, picture your intelligent enterprise — with machine learning, artificial intelligence, augmented reality and virtual reality, robotics, drones, IoT, and cloud — and envision a future when the 17 UN Global Goals are realized.

Many technologies envisioned in science fiction have become science fact. We have the communicators from Star Trek. We have the home, office, and internet technologies foretold by Arthur C. Clarke in 1974. And in 2017, Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority announced that in collaboration with the Chinese firm Ehang, it had carried out the first test run of an autonomous aerial vehicle capable of carrying a human, an example of science fiction thinking from movies like Back to the Future II, where flying cars were envisioned, becoming science fact.

Science fiction thinking enables us to boldly reimagine our world without limiting ourselves with the constraints of yesterday’s technologies. Thinking like a science fiction visionary can set the stage for a company’s purpose-driven digital innovation journey. It helps us shift from linear to exponential thinking, which is when we see transformative impact on organizations, and where digital technologies can shift the paradigm and create substantially new business models.

Thinking like a science fiction visionary can set the stage for a company’s purpose-driven digital innovation journey

Leaders can now accelerate their innovative capacity by designing new products and social and business models for a future that cannot yet be clearly perceived. The creative well produced by science fiction thinking is an extraordinary tool to facilitate this process.

Science fiction creatives are not tethered to ideas of technological and social innovations based on the present state. They herald the fantastic. In hand with the ideation phase of design thinking, they expand the universe of possible innovations and their applications. By considering the fantastic, a business can find a competitive edge in innovating more rapidly. Not only can a business keep up with the future’s rapid onslaught but perhaps also fundamentally form some of it.

The forthcoming book SAP Next-Gen: Using Science Fiction as a Starship for Enterprise Innovation will inspire readers to discover examples of how science fiction is becoming today’s science facts, and how science fiction thinking is becoming a driver of purpose-driven innovation. Readers can awaken their inner science fiction mindset and learn methodology from SAP Next-Gen on how to shift themselves, their employees, and the community around them into the creative world of science fiction, so that they too can bring about transformative innovation untethered to the limits of today.

We invite you to explore the new SAP Next-Gen: Science Fiction Thinking podcast, launched this week at Mobile World Congress 2018. You can see the video replay from the “Science Fiction or Fact” session delivered at the SAP stage by Ben Christensen:

It’s time to activate our inner science fiction mindsets and drive innovation with purpose.

Ann Rosenberg is senior vice president and global head of SAP Next-Gen.

This article originally appeared on LinkedIn.

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