This weekend InnoJam at Bangalore kicked off TechEd 2012 fever in India. Riding high on first InnoJam in India that took place last year, there was lot of preparation from participants as well as organisers. If last year "HANA" was being pitched heavily, this year it was SAP's latest UI technology - SAPUI5 (not to be confused with SUP) and Netweaver on Cloud (aka NeO). The theme in this second edition was solution focused rather than technology focused as last year. The theme for this year was around Urban Governance with four challenges for participants to choose from namely
1. Paying property & utility taxes
2. Managing Waste
3. Crime & Incident Management
4. Better systems to manage Traffic, Smart Lighting and Green Buildings
As Rui mentioned both at the start and ending comments, this was largest and most intense InnoJam for him with 16 teams and close to 140 participants literally "battling it out". So intense was it sometimes the "competition to win" rode over the "fun of learning" and "dabbling with latest SAP technology". Another thing different this year was the "infusion of design thinking" that was led by Hester and ably supported by coaches in each team. This was really good as the teams went through design thinking process with a live case in mind and practiced it rather than sitting in a design thinking workshop or presentation. Frankly I learned and remember the steps for an effective solution design that over time was forgotten thanks to the traditional enterprise solution deployment process where specs are handed out. With SAP's plan to touch 1 billion human beings with their solutions, this type of human centric focused approach of requirement gathering and coming up with solution after prototyping and feedback obtained is essential. One step that stood out was Synthesis where teams had to come up with a POV based on original problem statement covering user and his need(s) coupled with insight.
The design thinking was over with teams pitching their prototype solution and finally it was time to CODE. But TechFire was missed completely wherein the Technology Experts normally pitches in 6 minutes an overview of the technology. This was quite useful for me last year as a non-developer it gives overview of the cool technologies that SAP is bringing out. Personally I was looking forward to this part and completely absent was really a shame especially when you had the best technology evangelists around. The participants did not cry out for it - my guess as sizable percentage was from SAP Labs who were already exposed in the technologies. But for the rest an overview of at least NeO and SAPUI5 which are new would have definitely helped.
Interesting to note this year almost 50+ participants worked through the night compared to one team and eight participants last year. The proof was not a single Red Bull available on Sunday morning . Neither mosquitoes nor AC chill could dampen the spirits of participants. Even network outage at the time of presentation did not stop most of the teams to pitch in with a working solution. There were couple of teams with so much functionality shown, it was evident the team worked on it before-hand and came with code base and objects that they refined during InnoJam. However most of the teams built up from scratch and good tremendous appreciation presenting. Who finally won - read on this blog from Uwe but really everyone was a winner in his/her own way.
I was associated with Team 9 who were lucky to have Marilyn as Design Thinking Coach. The team developed an App for Managing Emergency Situations (MESs) to report any emergency like accident. Depending on emergency and geo location the nearby emergency response providers (like Police + Ambulance for accident, Fire + Police + Ambulance for fire and Police for robbery) will be listed and once selected will trigger incident creation. This gets tracked with automated updates to the originator. As a result closure of different emergency situations can be measured and analysed by geographic region, time of day, seasonal pattern etc. that can provide insights. Technology used for the solution consisted of SAPUI5 for seamless user experience, HANA for data persistence and logic in form of procedures, BI Dashboards for reporting. Seeing the working solution and then linking it back with the different technologies gave me a very good perspective - probably more than what I would gather during 3 days of TechEd. And that according to me is the beauty and objective of InnoJam. One more advantage of the event being completely free and held over a weekend allows SAP enthusiasts who would normally not get a chance to attend TechEd get exposed to latest SAP products in a completely free environment - how much better can it be for developers!