Million-dollar question: How to use design thinking in SAP projects?

SAP has been talking a lot about design thinking and Hasso Plattner, the genius, is one of the design thinking evangelists. He speaks about it with enthusiasm of a young entrepreneur. In this post I used the excellent paper “On the Perception, Adoption and Implementation of Design Thinking in the IT Industry” to help you in clarifying the question: how a “free” mind-set as design thinking can be used in projects such as SAP implementations?

“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”

Charles Darwin

Software implementation is strongly associated with technical and business complexity.  The human and its social aspects are not dealt. Within the IT world, this problem has been tackled so far in two different ways:

  • New design disciplines such as interaction or user experience design came up taking on specifically the role of the “user’s advocate” within project/development teams;
  • New software engineering approaches, in particular those summarised under the umbrella term “agile development”, put strong emphasis on an incremental and iterative development processes that is adaptive to user feedback throughout.

But in a practical way, daily routine of a project has been linear as SAP ASAP methodology preaches (Preparation, Blueprint, Realisation, Final Preparation and Go Live & Support) and it should remain so. However, using design thinking does not mean we have to give up traditional phases of a project. Instead, we should work in a constant iteration once design thinking has no linearity.

We will be always invited to revisit different stages even those in the past. So we can combine these two approaches, linear and human-centred. Be prepared because humans change mind, learn from experiences and, above all, are in constant evolution.

Bet you didn’t realise Darwin has influenced SAP. To what other historical elements have influenced SAP’s development, watch our video on the perfect storm that led to SAP’s conception