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Sustainability & CSR

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Month of Service (MOS) has officially kicked off in Silicon Valley! This year, we are working toward a goal of full participation from all SAPsv employees.


As a leaders in Silicon Valley, we have been working with managers to inspire this record-breaking participation. As additional motivation for our employees to give back, a competition has been announced between Board areas within SAPsv. The winning team will be chosen based on the percentage of employee participation within each Board area, and I am expecting P&I to take home the trophy!


To jump start my involvement with Month of Service (and ensure P&I comes out on top!), I sponsored a volunteer project at El Carmelo Elementary School in Palo Alto last Saturday, September 26.



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This was a great opportunity for SAPsv employees to work with The Living Classroom. The Living Classroom collaborates with schools and communities to develop school district-specific programs that provide engaging, hands-on lessons that stimulate curiosity and create beautiful and educational school gardens. The Living Classroom utilizes school gardens and outdoor areas as it provides children with hands-on learning experiences. These lessons complement the existing curriculum and provide the opportunity for students to experience concepts taught in the classroom through exploration of the natural world.


During our project, SAPsv employees assisted with El Carmelo Elementary School’s outdoor educational garden space. We constructed garden observation signs, planted native shrubs, and installed equipment for students.






This event gave us the opportunity to give back to the community and it was also a great networking opportunity as employees had the chance to work with colleagues from all Silicon Valley campuses they normally would not be in contact with. We all had a great time!


Be sure to sign up for a Month of Service project that resonates with you and help engage your team and peers to do the same throughout Month of Service.


I look forward to seeing you at volunteer events all month long.



Jim Spath

Feds Nab VW Smog Hack

Posted by Jim Spath Sep 22, 2015

The news broke on September 18th, 2015: Volkswagen (Volkswagen AG, Audi AG, and Volkswagen Group of America) was being given a Notice of Violation by the United States Environmental Protection Agency for Clear Air Act transgressions, specifically, designing an emissions control system that bypassed the intent of the law.  Using Twitter, I found out details, then conversed with peers around the world on the intent, implications, and more.  This post contains my personal view of the "Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability" of this scandal, as others have named it.


Why here, you might ask? One, because the hack, as I call it, is a software design decision.  Two, because VW  (and parts supplier Bosch) run SAP software.  And Three, this is against the principles of both CSR and Sustainability, if the charges are valid (VW's CEO has said this publicly, so not much doubt remains).


I've worked in environmental compliance, and am aware ways companies might decide how to comply with published governmental regulations.  Some might choose to go through the legislative process and get the rules changed in their favor.  Some might spend money on pollution control equipment then pass those costs onto customers.  Others might look for loopholes, or even violate the laws when they think they won't be caught.  We didn't always catch them, but as my law enforcement colleagues said once "we're going to run them out of town, too."


So where's the software?  It's not in ABAP on premise, or in the cloud.  It's in an embedded device, maybe written in C, maybe something newer.  Could someone reverse engineer the code and find out more?  Maybe.  What the EPA is calling the "defeat device" is an algorithm, coded to skirt the anti-pollution laws.  I would not call this part of the internet of things, but close enough.


There was an interesting thread on Twitter about the ethics of coding in this manner.  According to one source, this is a common practice in Germany ("all are faking and it's legal here").  Apparently the US EPA was not in that loop, and it took some dedicated emission testers to capture the scofflaws.


One of the phrases which I ran through Google translate on a VW ad says, "The values given were calculated using the legally prescribed measuring process."  In other words, here are the test results, not the measured car pollutants.


When I helped do emission testing for stationary sources ("smokestacks") in the 1980s, people would look at our equipment and say "what are the emissions?", and we'd have to tell them that gear just collected samples and we'd need to take them to a lab for analysis.  It's expensive, and not every test gives valid measurements.  So to hear about mobile gear that analyzes tail pipe emissions "on the road", I must say I'm impressed.


"What it [sic] increasingly apparent to me is software needs to be inspected", one commenter posted on the NPR page.  This leads into the morass of software certification, but really, the question is, how did this hack (see below) happen?  While it seems like a deliberate attempt to bypass US regulations, was it created with a benign intent of allowing better software development, or was it a skunk works project that was created in secret by a small group authorized for such subterfuge (kinda like the mythical IMF)?  I would be interesting in seeing the comments in the code, not to mention the change control "chain of command" that pushed this code into production.


Were software quality control inspectors aware of the hack?


There are plenty of news stories, and opinions about this hack.  As a software developer, or as a manager, what is your responsibility if you find a situation that goes against public claims of social responsibility?  In this case, it looks like only the threat of withholding 2016 US car sales pushed the incident into the spotlight.


There's a glossy story about Volkswagen, Shell, and SAP linked below.  My take is, there's a lot of stuff below the surface.  It's not all happy stuff either.  I'd be more interested in seeing my vehicle emissions on a real-time basis than on being steered to a specific petroleum vendor.


Update: 23-Sep-2015 - added link to the WVU report




It Takes a Village to Raise a Child (African Proverb)

This proverb has been taken literally by SAP as the Africa Code Week (ACW) program kicks off in 18 countries, yes 18 countries across the continent of Africa. The dates are fast approaching and a few people have contacted me to find out what it is all about (knowing that I participated in the pilot in Nigeria) so I have decided to share my experience on this blog.


Franck’s first Scratch lesson

What is ACW? It is a program designed by SAP in partnership with Simplon, Ampion, Galway Education Centre and Cape Town Science Centre “with the purpose of empowering youth, teachers and parents with the language of software programming using a freely available "Scratch" ” system to help bridge the digital skills gap across many areas in Africa”. 

Why?  Africa is a demographic sweet spot. According to the UN, in 2010 there were roughly 200m Africans between 15 and 24 years of age and this number could rise to over 450m by 2050.  However, there is a dearth of the requisite skills within this working age group and it is predicted that if nothing is done in the area of education and innovation, economic progress will be hampered.

How? SAP and its partners would like to future-proof the skills of this youth group. Relying on the cooperative and collaborative will of volunteers to travel to selected locations, we hope to train and inspire the future generation of African coders. Kids are trained in visual programming language (VPL) known as Scratch; a program designed by the MIT team. The program guarantees creative freedom in that; it helps children explore, experience and express their own world where they are limited  only by their imagination.

My experience – “Scratch”ing the surface

Why did I get involved? I have a passion for coding and life-long education. Having  participated in the EU Code week in 2014 and currently coordinating Nigeria’s FIRST LEGO League program, I wanted to do more for my native country’s youth. These innovative and robotics programs are designed to excite children about Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) and teach them valuable employment and life skills. In June this year, I was invited to coordinate the pilot of the AWC program in Nigeria at the Ojodu Junior Grammar School in the Ikeja Suburb of Lagos State Nigeria. The goal was to introduce Scratch to 100 students and some teachers. This was made more significant by the presence of Franck Cohen (President SAP EMEA) who was visiting Nigeria at the time.



The plan was simple, the target was 100 kids and teachers, so I carried out a ‘Train the Trainer’ course for 5 SAP volunteers, and 10 teachers (some of whom I worked with on previous FLL challenges). On the day of the event we divided the group into 5 (20 per class) with 1 SAP volunteer and 1 or 2 teachers per group making the tutor to child ratio approx (1:7). The more trainers you can train the better.

Within a period of 2 hours, the kids amazed and dazzled us with their dexterity. All you need to do is help them “scratch” the surface  by providing the initial training and guidance, they will pick it up and stretch their imagination to the limit. Like every other coding program, scratch is iterative, you try one thing, it doesn’t work and then you try and try again until it works. This fits the mode and method of learning that kids love, they want to be able to ask their own questions and find answers themselves.

Team effort: It takes a team to make this work.

Special thanks to the following colleagues, without their support the event wouldn’t have been possible:

Claire GILLISSEN-DUVAL, Sunil Geness, Antonia Ashton, Arnaud Merlet, Danha Kudzai, Olu Familusi,  Rebecca Nicholson, Melissa Joelson, Juliet Omororodion, Olufemi Hassan,  Afolabi Abdulrazaq, Olurotimi Ige, Ayorinde Oluwatomi, Eileen Pardy, Kevin Conroy, Frank Falvey and also to Franck Cohen, Liam Ryan,  Frederic Masse for supporting the initiative


Why Not Get Involved?

I encourage other SAP colleagues to become involved. The experience is inspirational and what you gain is more than what you give. It is a learning experience as much for you as for the kids.

  • All you require to participate is some intrinsic attributes (scratch you can learn:-)) a bucket load of enthusiasm and the ability to inspire:-). To learn the Scratch program, check out a very rich video-based course on OpenSAP providing all you need to know. If you require a 1-1 walk-through, you can reach out to me for a quick overview. (I am scheduling a few sessions) all you need is about an hour and you would be flying…
  • Go for it; you’ll be thrilled you did! Who knows you may even be presented with some leis:-)

Remember ‘Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime’. Maimonides


  • Have a short presentation/guide to hand (you can take some notes when going through the course on OpenSAP)
  • Have a USB to hand with Scratch 2.0 and Adobe Air installed.

Here are some pictures from the event:


Presentation of leis; the African welcome:-)



Franck being introduced to Scratch



Work in progress






Afolabi and Olufemi “Scratching”


The SAP team with the Principal of Ojodu Grammar School


The SAP team with some of the students and mentors



School showcasing Trophies and robot donated by SAP for the FLL program



The SAP team with some students and teachers




Mission accomplie?:-)


In the first update on this initiative, the importance of developing partnerships within the community and establishing programs in cities with a large SAP-employee presence were highlighted. Yet there is another, no-less important component that was not discussed: mentorship.

Mentorship is critical to the success of SAP’s Early College High School initiative. Mentors offer students advantageous career advice and help them academically. As one student attending the program in Templeton noted, “my mentor introduced me to so many technology careers that I didn’t know existed.” Mentors also, through the relationships they build with students, become inspirational role models.

Mentorship is offered to students from year one, and it is designed with the student’s success in mind. As Jennifer Carreiro, who heads corporate social responsibility for SAP in Canada, says, first-year students are given in-person, group-based mentorship. They eventually work their way up to virtual, one-on-one mentorship. Carreiro notes the reasoning behind this: “We learned that the most effective way to introduce freshman to mentorship is to have them build relationships with mentors, and to understand the benefit of having a mentor. Then they can get to the point where they fully utilize and take advantage of one-on-one mentorship as they progress in the program.”

It is worth noting that not only students benefit from engaging in mentorship. SAP employees have consistently remarked on how rewarding being a mentor is. Celine Burgle, one of the initiative’s most active mentors in Templeton, put it like this: “It is not just mentoring, it is also reverse mentoring.”

On top of this, SAP’s involvement in the programs gives students the chance to participate in unique and valuable experiences. Nothing perhaps highlights this better than students from both BTECH and Templeton being given the opportunity to attend SAPPHIRE NOW. The students were even given GoPros to film the event from their perspective, and upon their return blogged about their experiences. One of the students managed to capture the depth of what he learned, as well as its practicality. As he wrote, “I have…some incredibly inspirational stories and lessons to carry with me every time I’m handed a new homework assignment.”

Mentoring students and exposing them to unique, character-building experiences are additional ways these students can get insight into what life is like at a major technology company. And the benefits of these, to both student and SAP employee alike, cannot be overstated. As Carreiro says, “Reflecting on the first year of this program reinforced for me its power to inspire our next generation of technology leaders while also inspiring the talented people we have at SAP today who are passionate about making the world run better.”

Original article published on Concerning AI/Robot development ? | INPLUX


meetup 2


From late 2014 until 1Q of 2015, it’s been raised concern regarding AI/Robot development from famous figures in public media.  It’s been suggested by one of the famous figure to have a governance approach to manage relevant development at current and future stage.

However, there has been another side voice which has been expressed that the status might not that serious. It’s been observed that there are a lot more start ups which have been funded well on 2014 and focus more on the financial solution.


IT Business Partner point of view

inplux 1


It’s quite good to have a lot more productivity tools to adopt in the business world. Here to suggest to adopt IT Business Partner framework which covers technology, governance, sustainability and cultural perspective to asses go or no-go for using the AI/Robot in need basis. Need to notice AI/Robot is not the best and final solution. Insights as per assess relevant AI/Robot reports:

  • Capability NLP other than English
  • AI Everywhere – APPs, Webs, Mobile, IOTs etc.
  • Foresee AI/Machine Learning as service
  • Financial solution as top priority
  • Even AI mistake
  • support and service level from AI/Robot product or service company


It’s really grateful for those who dedication to development AI/Robot for enhance people life and work better on one of the most challenges science areas.

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The start of SAP's Month of Service is officially less than a month away. As SAP employees search for ways to give back, it is worth highlighting one particularly worthwhile cause: the donating of unused, gently-worn shoes.


It is amazing to think it, but the gently-worn shoes sitting in your closet right now can transform someone’s life. 300 million children around the globe do not have shoes, which leaves them susceptible to getting cuts and being infected by soil-transmitted diseases and parasites. It also acts as a barrier to receiving an education, one of the surest ways to break the cycle of poverty, as children without shoes struggle to walk to school, or are barred from the classroom.


Donating your shoes also has another positive, closer-to-home impact: it helps the environment. Every year 300 million pairs of shoes end up in US landfills, contributing to environmental degradation and greenhouse gas emissions.


Here at SAP, we’re fortunate to have someone who is championing this cause. But you won’t see her walking around the office, or even working remotely, for that matter. That’s because she has yet to enter high school.


Olivia, the 13-year-old daughter of SAP-colleague Denise Russo, through her organization Save the Earth Projects (S.T.E.P.), is on a mission to do as much good as she can, and to make the world a better place. And it is a mission that is driven by personal experience.


In 2009 a presidentially-declared FEMA flood hit her hometown in Georgia, devastating her home and life as she knew it. Olivia was so moved by the kindness of strangers to go out their way to help her and her family recover, she felt the need to give back, in every way she could, to others in need.


This is why Olivia founded S.T.E.P.—when she was just 10 years old. Its flagship program is the collection and shipping of shoes to those in need, in both the developing and developed worlds, but it is beginning to support other causes, too—combatting bullying and food insecurity, supporting entrepreneurism, for instance.


With Month of Service fast-approaching, consider taking the time to become involved in Leave a GOOD Footprint. Olivia, for one, appreciates it: “When people start helping it touches me deep inside, because people are feeling something in their hearts.”

Mos 2013 2.jpg

September is here, and school is officially back in session. Around the country, kids will be entering new grades, new schools, or final years, and many will be starting school for the first time.

The world will be a fundamentally different place when many of these students graduate from college. Change is being driven by advances in the fields of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), and will only accelerate. Job growth today for STEM already outpaces growth for all other occupations.

At the same time, the US is struggling to prepare its students to be leaders in these fields. International test scores show the US ranking higher than only 15 percent of all OECD countries in math. For science, that total only jumps to 24 percent.

SAP is a major player adjusting this course. In 2014, the company, in partnership with local governments and colleges, launched its Early College High School initiative. BTECH, a six-year, free-of-charge school in New York City, was first to come. Templeton, a five-year program in Vancouver, and C-Town Tech in Boston will both welcome Year 1 students this fall.  In Boston and New York, students have the unique opportunity to work towards an associate’s degree in a STEM field while still in high school. In Vancouver, students are on pathway to STEM majors at a local university.

Combined, 325 students are presently enrolled in the initiative. And those numbers will increase. Within two years SAP will have four programs in total, with Oakland set to welcome 60 first-year students in the fall of 2016.

This model has been proven to work. Just this year, IBM saw six of its students graduate from a program similar to the one SAP is running. All were offered jobs with IBM. In his 2013 State of the Union address, President Obama praised IBM’s program as one that “puts our kids on a path to a good job.”

SAP’s programs are off to promising starts. Having been open for a little more than a year, students from both schools have already completed complex projects and engaged in unique experiences. Students from Templeton, for example, built remote control rover cars and thermodynamic cubes, and in June participated in “TEMPTalks,” a series of talks delivered by the students on important topics to an audience of over 150.

To ensure continued success, SAP developed a comprehensive strategy. Willing and committed partners, as well as SAP employee presence, are the most critical components of that strategy. Kate Morgan, who heads corporate social responsibility for SAP in North America, puts it this way: “We only open schools where there is a large SAP-employee base, and where the school districts and post-secondary partners fully embrace the innovative approach. We want to build sustainable programs which will thrive, and that means the community has to be at the center, since the programs are theirs at the end of the day. ”

Mentorship is a pillar of the program, so a large employee presence is necessary. Employee presence also offers more opportunities for students and employees to engage, increasing the likelihood that stronger relationships will be formed—crucial to each student’s success.

Partnerships are just as integral. SAP, embracing the idea of collective impact, requires the support of the community in order for the program to be successful. Without these partners fully on board, the program would never be able to live up to its potential, which would adversely affect student outcomes. As Mark Frey, director of Oakland’s Skyline High School’s technology academy, says about the benefit of their post-secondary education partner there, “a lot of kids when they graduate go, 'What do I do now'? If they get a two-year degree while in high school, they can keep going and transfer to a four-year college."

With BTECH’s one-year anniversary coming up, and new programs set to open, SAP can now proudly say it is doing its part to address the growing gap in STEM education—an effort that is helping the world run better.

For teachers in India, the challenge is vast and low–cost private education can play a huge role in helping improve the lives of children.  A social entrepreneur with a business lens to organize, streamline and replicate good systems– this is the story of Manish Kumar and SEED Schools.

‘You can’t become an entrepreneur for the sake of it.  You’ve got to have a connection to the mission because it’s really going to test your patience… It’s going to be extremely tough, so you’ve got to choose something you are passionate about and motivated.’


My colleague Amira Polack spent some time with Manish during SAP’s Social Entrepreneur Fellowship to interview him and learn more about SEED, amplifying a much needed voice from the field of education in India.


CEO & Co-founder: Manish Kumar

Company: SEED Schools

Description:  SEED is a school management company that works with affordable private schools to implement targeted academic and operational improvements to address the gaps in private K-10 education.

HQ: Hyderabad, India



More on SAP’s Social Entrepreneur Fellowship

In July 2015, 9 CEO’s from social enterprises across Africa and India convened in Silicon Valley for a 10-day training and networking boot camp.  SAP’s Corporate Social Responsibility team in conjunction with nonprofit partner Acumen leveraged SAP’s talent, technology expertise, and partner ecosystem to help crack these entrepreneurs’ most complex problems.

Press coverage of SAP’s Social Entrepreneur Fellowship can be found here and here

Additional interview with another participating CEO found here.

In July 2015, 9 CEO’s from social enterprises across Africa and India convened in Silicon Valley for a 10-day training and networking boot camp.  SAP’s Corporate Social Responsibility team in conjunction with nonprofit partner Acumen leveraged SAP’s talent, technology expertise, and partner ecosystem to help crack these entrepreneurs’ most complex problems.


For greater insight into the work of a founding CEO in an emerging market, I got the chance to interview Mark Davies, one of the participating social entrepreneurs and CEO of Esoko.  Esoko is doing great work, running a rapidly growing and inspired business in an emerging market.  Mark’s take on entrepreneurship, and doing work that moves you, will be the best 2 minutes of your day!


CEO: Mark Davies

Company:  Esoko

Description: Web and mobile app providing original agricultural content, on-the-ground deployment services for marketing, monitoring and advisory needs of farmers.  More on how Esoko works here…

Year Founded: 2005

HQ: Ghana



Press coverage of SAP’s Social Entrepreneur Fellowship:

Nish Pangali

Meaningful Work

Posted by Nish Pangali Aug 1, 2015

It seems that everywhere you look…we are all striving to find meaning in our lives.  Each of us wants to feel like we are doing something worthwhile, making a difference, helping the world run better.   Over the last few weeks I have had the privilege to sit with a group of 9 amazing CEOs, all Acumen investees, who are running businesses across Africa and India, all focused on making a difference for underserved populations in the countries they operate.  The companies fall into a category often referred to as social enterprises…wikepedia’s definition being ‘an organization that applies commercial strategies to maximize improvements in human and environmental well-being’.  So what does that really look like?  Take Ajaita Shah, CEO of Frontier Markets

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She is forging a business focused on delivering clean, solar products to rural villages in Ragistaan.  When you see the passion she has for her ‘customer’…to find effective ways to deliver remote villages light and power, and remove reliance on dangerous kerosene, stories of which cause me to shudder and wipe away tears…there is instant connection and motivation to find ways to accelerate her success. 


And Ashifi Gogo, CEO of Sproxil, who is combatting the dangers of counterfeit medicine by provide authentication on mobile devices and help fight the epidemic of 700K annual deaths from ingesting false medication.  These leaders operate with a sense of urgency and commitment that is truly humbling…and their challenges are those that any business executive would relate to as they look at scaling organizational growth – human capital management, leveraging technology, understanding customer insight, and developing leadership skills.  It was a distinct honor to bring together a powerhouse of a cohort to the first SAP Social Entrepreneur Fellowship, in an effort to increase their capacity and growth, and in turn affect more positive change in society.  The Fellowship, a collaboration with Acumen, married together a structured agenda focused on core topics most relevant to their business, with 100 experts and executives across SAP, Silicon Valley corporates, start ups, investors, and influencers…and let’s not forget the tremendous knowledge and insights each of the CEOs carry from their experience.  Over the course of 10 days, the CEOs worked through exercises, engaged in dialogue with experts, questioned panelists, dived into business model canvases, challenged me, developed an incredibly special bond as a cohort, and honed in on what they could tangibly walk away with.  And now we continue over the next 90 days to keep our foot on the pedal…support the CEOs to find that sought-after balance of progressing against goals and managing day-to-day business…to see if the needle can move, and if the investment all around can propel these incredible businesses forward.  It’s an exciting time in the SAP corporate social responsibility team – this is meaningful work and we are just getting started!  To learn more about the CEOs and the work they focused on in the SAP Social Entrepreneur Fellowship, watch this short video.


Press coverage:



In 2014, over 13,000 learners joined our Sustainability and Business Innovations course. Learners enjoyed collaborating and sharing sustainability discussions while learning about SAP’s approach to sustainability. Due to popular demand, we’re creating a follow-up sustainability course but to prepare you for this, we’re offering the opportunity to join the foundational Sustainability and Business Innovation course once again.


Why is sustainability so important to business innovation? There are many reasons that this course will explore but for example, young professionals are starting to choose employers based on their sustainable practices, with 90% searching for employers with sustainable attitudes reflecting their personal behavior. Employees aren’t the only stakeholders taking an interest in your sustainable behavior: consumers are also looking at a company’s behavior towards employees, environment and social responsibility before entering into any deals.

SAP has been placed in the top 100 sustainable companies in the world and is placed in the top ten US tech companies. SAP continues to improve its sustainability goals with an increase in women in management positions to 21.3% and remained with a stable employee retention of 93.5% in 2014. SAP is concentrating on reducing greenhouse gas emissions to the level of 2000 figures by 2020. You can find more information on www.sapintegratedreport.com.mple is young professionals are starting to choose employers based on their sustainable practices, with 90% searching for employers with sustainable attitudes reflecting their personal behavior. Employees aren’t the only stakeholders taking an interest in your sustainable behavior: consumers are also looking at a company’s behavior towards employees, environment and social responsibility before entering into any deals.


During this course, the SAP sustainability team will provide you with the tools to articulate a sustainable strategy for your organization, to make the business case for sustainability and sell it to the right people in your company. Going forward you will learn how to embed sustainable principles into your organization and the catalytic role IT can play in driving and executing a sustainable strategy.


The course was originally recorded by Peter Graf, the previous Chief sustainability officer who has since left SAP. You can meet Daniel Schmid, SAP’s current Chief Sustainability Officer and the rest of the sustainability team in the forum. Daniel has been a key figure in the SAP sustainability team since 2008 and has a wealth of experience to answer your questions together with the sustainability team!

The course duration is six weeks with a learning effort of approximately 4 hours per week to complete the course content and weekly assignments. It is beneficial to bring some basic business or IT knowledge to the class, but everyone is welcome to learn more about sustainability from a business perspective. Find out more at openSAP and get ready to benefit from SAP’s sustainability experience to date.

Other courses now open for enrollment on openSAP

Experience SAP Cloud for Customer

Software Development on SAP HANA (SPS 09)

Organizations involved with refugee relief from the Rhine-Neckar region came to SAP to present their work and ask for help. Many interested employees showed up to find out where and how their help is needed most.


This is a hot topic. Many people escape to Germany as refugees, and many people here want to help them. But as soon as the desire to actively help is there, all these questions pop up: Where and how is my help needed? Who do I contact to get started? This is exactly what the Heroes' Arena Special event was for. SAP Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) invited more than ten associations and organizations involved with refugee relief to Walldorf for half a day. They are all active in the Rhine-Neckar region and need all kinds of help: Donations in kind, volunteers to teach German, or people to play soccer with the refugees, and much more.HElden_TL.jpg

The idea behind the event was to encourage direct communication and conversation between the organizations and interested SAP employees. To this effect, the "marketplace" was in the center of this event. Anyone interested could go from stand to stand and talk to representatives of each organization. In addition to information brochures, they had to offer many personal experience reports. After a while, everyone was invited to gather in front of the stage. Three social startups supported by SAP introduced themselves and talked about their refugee initiatives. Later on, some refugees stepped onto the stage to share their side of the story. They opened a round of discussions and brought the reality and graveness of the refugee situation to life by sharing their own stories. A dentist from Syria described how he is trying to find a foothold in Germany. Even though he himself lives in misery, all his thoughts and concerns are for the family he had to leave behind. "My greatest wish is that the war in my homeland comes to an end." Right next to him sat Herbert Kohl from the "Ich bin ein Viernheimer" initiative, and Zerai Kiros Abraham. Both of them already have much experience with refugees and shared useful and encouraging information. "These people are not refugees, but heroes. They have made great sacrifices to get a chance for a better life," said Zerai Kiros Abraham. He came from Eritrea in 1990 to seek asylum in Germany. Today, he is actively engaged in refugee relief, to help others like himself.


The desire to help and the drive to do something were almost tangible. There were conversations everywhere. The stands were always full. In the end, both employees and representatives had many positive things to say about the event.



"I find it very useful that we can find information right at our workplace, and without any effort," said Michael Bellem, SAP employee. Marlene Brueggemann agreed with him. "Heroes' Arena Special made it incredibly easy for me to slip out and gather information in my spare time."


Ina Daniela Weber is part of the team that organized the event. "I am impressed by how many colleagues want to get involved with refugees and help their integration in any way they can," she said. "It was nice to see so many people making contacts and exchanging ideas, also among the organizations that came here. The need for help in these initiatives is great, but I think we have created a good platform for volunteers to get involved through this event."


Right after the event, there have been more than 50 donations, including laptops, bicycles, and several pledges to help.


Information about the participating organizations


Arbeitskreis Asyl Speyer


Arbeitskreis Asyl Walldorf


Asylkreis Neckargemünd


Ich bin ein Viernheimer


Kids World Cup DJK Handschuhsheim


Mannheim sagt JA! e.V.


Netzwerk Asyl Wiesloch


SC 08 Reilingen


SpVgg Baiertal e. V.


Waibstadter Initiative für Flüchtlinge


Über den Tellerrand Kochen e.V.


Wir für Flüchtlinge e.V.




Photography by Dana Roesiger

Deutsche Sprachversion des Artikels hier

Organisationen, die sich im Bereich Flüchtlingshilfe in der Metropolregion Rhein-Neckar engagieren, stellten sich bei SAP vor. Das Interesse bei den Mitarbeitern ist groß – und die Möglichkeiten sich einzubringen zahlreich.


Das Thema brennt. Viele Menschen kommen als Flüchtlinge nach Deutschland -- Viele Menschen wollen sie unterstützen. Doch unmittelbar nach dem Wunsch sich aktiv zu engagieren, stellen sich viele Fragen. Wie und wo wird konkret Hilfe gebraucht? Wer sind die Ansprechpartner? Genau an diesem Punkt setzte die Veranstaltung „Heldenplatz Spezial“ an. SAP Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) lud mehr als zehn Vereine und Organisationen für einen Nachmittag nach Walldorf ein. Alle sind in der Metropolregion Rhein-Neckar tätig und benötigen Unterstützung in vielfacher Form, zum Beispiel durch Sachspenden, Deutschunterricht oder auch beim Fußballtraining.


Bei der Veranstaltung sollte vor allem der direkte Austausch zwischen den Initiativen und interessierten SAP Mitarbeitern angeregt werden. So stand der treffend bezeichnete „Marktplatz“ im Zentrum. Interessierte hatten die Möglichkeit dort von Stand zu Stand zu gehen und mit den Vertretern der jeweiligen Organisationen in Dialog zu treten.

Nicht nur Informationsmaterialien, sondern auch allerhand Erfahrungsberichte konnten die Besucher sammeln. Im Laufe des Nachmittags wurde aber auch zur Bühne geladen. Dort stellten sich zunächst drei durch SAP geförderte Social Start-Ups mit dem Schwerpunkt Flüchtlingsarbeit vor. Damit alle Stimmen zu diesem Thema Raum erhielten, kamen später in einer Talkrunde schließlich nicht nur die Hilfsorganisationen, sondern auch Flüchtlinge selbst zu Wort und führten durch die Schilderung der eigenen Erlebnisse die ernste Situation vor Augen. Ein Zahnarzt aus Syrien berichtete, wie er gerade versucht in Deutschland Fuß zu fassen. Trotz der eigenen Misere gelten seine Gedanken den Familienmitgliedern, die er zurücklassen musste: „Mein größter Wunsch ist, dass der Krieg in meiner Heimat endlich beendet wird.“ Neben ihm saßen Herbert Kohl von der Initiative „Ich bin ein Viernheimer“ und Zerai Kiros Abraham, die bereits viele Erfahrungen sammeln und zahlreiche nützliche und aufbauende Informationen geben konnten. „Diese Menschen sind keine Flüchtlinge, sie sind Helden! Sie haben einen hohen Preis bezahlt für die Chance auf ein besseres Leben“, sagte Zerai Kiros Abraham. Er kam 1990 als Asylbewerber aus Eritrea nach Deutschland und engagiert sich heute selbst in der Flüchtlingshilfe.

Beim Rundgang über den Marktplatz sind das Engagement und der Tatendrang deutlich zu spüren. Man kommt schnell ins Gespräch. Es herrscht beinahe Andrang an den Ständen. Am Ende konnten sowohl Mitarbeiter als auch die Vertreter der Initiativen ein positives Fazit ziehen.



„Ich finde es sehr praktisch, dass man sich arbeitsplatznah und ohne viel Aufwand informieren kann“, sagt Michael Bellem von SAP. Auch Marlene Brueggemann stimmt zu: „Heldenplatz Spezial macht es für mich unglaublich einfach zwischendurch hierherzukommen und mich zu informieren.“


Ina Daniela Weber ist Teil des Teams, das die Veranstaltung auf die Beine stellte. „Ich bin beeindruckt von der großen Bereitschaft unserer Kollegen, sich aktiv für Flüchtlinge zu engagieren und deren Integration in unterschiedlichster Form zu unterstützen. Es war schön zu sehen, wie viele Kontakte geknüpft und Ideen ausgetauscht wurden, auch unter den teilnehmenden Organisationen“, sagt sie, „der Bedarf an Unterstützung der Hilfsorganisationen ist groß, aber ich denke, dass wir mit der Veranstaltung eine gute Plattform zum freiwilligen Engagement bieten konnten.“


Im direkten Anschluss an die Veranstaltung ergaben sich bereits mehr als 50 Spenden, darunter Laptops, Fahrräder oder auch konkrete Zusagen zu helfen.


Alle Informationen zu den teilnehmenden Organisationen



Arbeitskreis Asyl Speyer


Arbeitskreis Asyl Walldorf


Asylkreis Neckargemünd


Ich bin ein Viernheimer



Kids World Cup DJK Handschuhsheim


Mannheim sagt JA! e.V.


Netzwerk Asyl Wiesloch


SC 08 Reilingen


SpVgg Baiertal e. V.


Waibstadter Initiative für Flüchtlinge



Über den Tellerrand Kochen e.V.


Wir für Flüchtlinge e.V.




Fotografie von Dana Roesiger

English version of the article here


The APPSTOSS AWARD 2015 recently kicked off in
Walldorf, and further hackathons involving young soccer players are set to
follow around the world.


It's game day in mid-July 2015 in Walldorf.
Five teams comprising a total of 28 SAP employees from Products &
Innovation in Walldorf and St. Leon-Rot – as well as a number of college students
and trainees – are locked in and listening to tactical instructions for the
upcoming APPSTOSS AWARD competition. Their coaches: 20 soccer players between
the ages of 16 and 25. The templates, two ideas submitted by young members of
the local soccer association Badischer Fußballverband, are set and ready for
the participants to turn into prototypes in the space of just three days. These
ideas were meant to answer the question of how an app could benefit the young
athletes' own clubs; after all, even amateur soccer teams have long since
entered the digital age. SAP Executive Board member Bernd Leukert, who is also
the event's sponsor, has also come to cheer on all the teams from the
sidelines. "We're happy to be hosting the APPSTOSS AWARD tournament for
the second time right here in Walldorf," he declares.



"Apps should make life easier"

The ideas to be realized include one app
for planning training sessions and games, and another designed to serve as a
digital club magazine. The three referees – Wieland Schreiner, EVP and chief
product owner for SAP S/4HANA; Clemens Frede, director of program development
at the IT donation portal Stifter-helfen.de; and Ronny Zimmermann, president of
Badischer Fußballverband and vice president of the German Football Association
– were clearly hard-pressed to select a winner from among the five teams. All
of them had shown plenty of what the refs were looking for. "The purpose
of an app is to provide added value to the user," explains Schreiner.
Zimmermann adds: "Most of those who work in the amateur leagues are
volunteers, so we ultimately wanted to see apps that would make their lives
easier in particular."

In the end, Maurice Breit, Dominik Finkbeiner, Roman Kostka, Anton Kharitonov, and Thomas
Jansen from the SAP Tools Team raised the trophy. In presenting “Coach+”, their
version of a training- and game-planning app based on the idea submitted by
Sabrina Roßmannek (VfB Bad Rappenau), the winners were on target in more than
just showing off their dribbling skills.


None of the participants came away from the tournament empty-handed, however: Development
employee Stefan Schwöbel, for example, sees the opportunity to meet new
colleagues from other areas and work together on a project at events like
APPSTOSS as a "definite plus" for himself and his coworkers.
"When it comes to sharing ideas on technology, you learn a ton of new
stuff here in a really short time," affirms Alexander Lenz, one of
Stefan's teammates.


Soccer can inspire us – what about technology?


Along with the hackathon itself, APPSTOSS had many more highlights in store. A number of
prominent guests offered glimpses behind the scenes of soccer: Sports
journalist Jens-Jörg Rieck, for instance, spoke about the challenges of live
commentary and the search for female commentators in professional soccer before
inviting the young athletes in attendance to a soccer commentator challenge.
During the experts' talk, former soccer pro and World Cup winner Nia Künzer
recalled some of the most shining moments she had playing for Germany.

In regular feedback sessions with the developers, the young participants also learned how
an app is eventually built based on an initial idea. Both sides wound up
convinced of the merits of this interplay. "It definitely helped to have
the young players included in every feedback session," one developer agreed.
"I really learned a lot!" reported Janina Leitzig, who plays for TSG
1899 Hoffenheim. "The activities were so fun, and I got to see what SAP
does and how apps are developed."

The participants also found time to lace up their cleats, of course: At the
facilities of FC Astoria Walldorf, they had the chance to get professional
training and join in a bubble soccer tournament, as well as a subsequent




APPSTOSS is one of the many projects and
activities of SAP Corporate Social Responsibility. Last year, SAP joined forces
with the German soccer association Badischer Fußballverband and the IT donation
partner Stifter-helfen.de to carry out this new initiative.



Members of the association between the ages
of 16 and 25 were invited to send in their ideas for apps, which SAP employees
then developed into prototypes as part of a hackathon.



The three idea categories were aligned with
the core aims of the German Football Association's master plan to promote
amateur soccer, which each of the country's state-level soccer associations is
required to implement by 2016.




From regional pilot project to global event


The APPSTOSS AWARD debuted in 2014 with a concept whose implementation truly resonated with
both the developers and young people who took part. The fact that the winning
prototype is currently being transformed into an actual product set to be
finalized this fall has probably played no small part in the event's

In light of this success, why not take the next step? Along with its cooperation partner, streetfootballworld, SAP is now
rolling out and expanding the concept around the world. The 2015 APPSTOSS AWARD
kicked off a series of four additional hackathon events that are being held in
different SAP development locations under the name KickApp Cup. This initiative
will be able to reach around 10,000 socially disadvantaged youths. Through
soccer, SAP and streetfootballworld are doing more than promoting teamwork and
social interaction; they're also teaching the younger generation about the jobs
available in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), along with possible ways to get started in the working world.

Providing long-term support to children and teens is a particular focus of the KickApp
Cup. "Getting young people ready for the job market is a key focus for
us," points out Frauke Horstmann from streetfootballworld.

The winners of the five events, the APPSTOSS AWARD, and the KickApp Cup can look forward to a prize that would have any soccer fan drooling: the chance to participate in the KickApp Cup finals in Lyon, France, during the 2016 UEFA European Championship. It’s a safe bet that Thomas
Jansen and his fellow competitors will be staying on the ball: "We
obviously want to stay involved in the ongoing development of our
prototype," he says. "We're also super excited to meet the other four
teams and check out their ideas in Lyon!"



KickApp Cup

The KickApp Cup is a series of hackathons
around the world at which young soccer players and SAP employees work together
on fine-tuning the experience of playing the Beautiful Game.



These events represent the continuation of
the successful APPSTOSS AWARD concept on a global level. Here, SAP has entered
into a partnership with streetfootballworld in order to provide ongoing support
to some 10,000 disadvantaged children and teenagers through the combination of
soccer and technology. The initiative also seeks to use sports as a means of
introducing participants to possible career opportunities in IT.



In seeking to answer the age-old question of whether money can buy happiness, Michael Norton, in his 2011 TEDx talk, gave an answer that had a slight twist to it: Yes, money can buy happiness, but on the condition that we spend it on others, not on ourselves. 

Now, I know what you’re thinking: spending money on yourself sure lends itself to happiness, or at least makes it easier to attain. You’re right to think this: research does reveal that higher income is correlated with higher levels of happiness.

Yet research also backs up the idea that materialism alone will not make us happy.

Norton’s conclusion, then, should cause us all to reflect on how we perceive happiness. While it is undoubtedly important that we take the time to indulge in ourselves, it is just as important that we take the time to give back, whether that be to our community or to our loved ones. And every little bit counts. As Norton says about his findings:

What we see again…is that the specific way that you spend on other people isn’t nearly as important as the fact that you spend on other people…So you don’t have to do amazing things with your money to make yourself happy: you can do small, trivial things and yet still get these benefits…. 

Remember this next time you’re thinking about possibly donating your time or money, or whether you’re mulling over participating in a charitable team build. Giving back has benefits that transcend merely helping the less fortunate among us.


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