SAP Design Thinking Part A

By Baba Shiv, Matt Saucedo
2016 | Case No. SM250A | Length 4 pgs.

The SAP Design Thinking case follows the path of Sam Yen, Chief Design Officer at SAP, on his quest to infuse design thinking into the SAP organization. Through a series of programs and events, Yen discovered that while employees of the multinational conglomerate expressed interest in leveraging design thinking in their work, they never seemed to follow through with it. Yen and his design team experimented with a plethora of tactics — ranging from grassroots campaigns meant to engage the employee base, to top-down approaches intended to excite the company’s executives, with the hopes that this enthusiasm would trickle down throughout the rest of the organization. On a trail rife with challenges, Yen and his team struggled to continuously develop new approaches until suddenly the metaphorical storm cleared, and he could clearly see a path to scale design thinking throughout SAP.

Also see Part B.

Learning Objective

SAP Scaling Design Thinking is intended for use in a course that encourages students to think critically about how best to drive design thinking in global organizations. Geographically distributed teams pose a particular challenge for creative processes since many design thinking techniques assume that team members are in the same location. Through this case, students will grapple with the challenge of scaling design thinking across a geographically dispersed organization.

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