SAP Next-Gen team is Partnering with UN Women to Advance Opportunities for Women and Girls in STEM.

United States of America

Ann Rosenberg, Senior Vice President & Global Head of SAP Next-Gen in an interview with Meral Guzel on 5 January 2018. Ann and her SAP Next-Gen team are partnering with UN Women to advance opportunities for women and girls in STEM education and digital innovation

Ann, in your role as Senior Vice President & Global Head of SAP Next-Gen, can you tell us what your team focuses on?

SAP Next-Gen is a purpose driven innovation community empowered by SAP Leonardo and an innovation platform for SAP’s 365,000+ customers across 25 industries in 180+ countries. The platform leverages 3,360+ educational institutions in 111 countries as well as startups, accelerators, purpose driven partners, futurists, and 70+ SAP Next-Gen labs/hubs at university campuses in the SAP Next-Gen innovation with purpose network. The platform also leverages SAP’s 100+ innovation and development centers and SAP’s network of 17,000+ partner companies.

SAP Next-Gen enables customers to connect with academic thought leaders and researchers, students, startups, tech community partners, venture firms, purpose driven partners, and SAP experts to reimagine the future of industries with SAP Leonardo, seed in disruptive innovation with startups, and build skills for digital futures. SAP Next-Gen drives innovation with purpose supporting SAP’s commitment to the 17 UN Global Goals for sustainable development.

Can you tell us about the origin of SAP Next-Gen?

SAP Next-Gen is an extension of two global programs I also lead: SAP University Alliances, a global program enabling educational institutions to integrate the latest SAP technologies into academic teaching and research; and the SAP Young Thinkers program which opens the world of SAP to younger students in schools, inspiring the next generation to pursue education and careers in STEM fields, and enabling them with skills including design thinking and coding with Snap! in a collaboration with UC Berkeley’s Beauty and Joy of Computing curriculum. Learning resources available through these two programs on SAP Leonardo and other SAP solutions enhance how faculty prepare the next generation designers, developers, data scientists, makers, entrepreneurs and business leaders with knowledge and skills for the intelligent enterprise. Through a network of 3,360+ educational institutions across 111 countries worldwide, SAP University Alliances and SAP Young Thinkers aim to develop critical skills for digital futures among academics, university students and young thinkers.

Over the past 5 years or so we have seen industry changing its relationship with academia. While in the past industry sought innovation from within, today we see two trends: (1) increasingly industry is turning to academia for the insights needed to accelerate digital innovation, and (2) industry is linking innovation projects to outcomes aligned with the 17 UN Global Goals. We realized that with our global academic network, and with SAP’s commitment to accelerating achieving the 17 UN Global Goals, we could connect SAP customers to academia for insights from academic thought leaders and researchers, students, and startups. And we could focus on “purpose driven” innovation linked to the UN Global Goals to immediately build connections between industry partners’ innovation projects and the values that motivate today’s students who are so focused on positive social change. Over the past several years SAP Next-Gen has become a focal point for SAP customers and partners collaborating with academia, startups, purpose driven partners, futurists, and technology experts from SAP and partners to drive purpose driven innovation.

How has SAP Next-Gen been growing?

SAP Next-Gen has been well received globally, and we are today a global community of 3,360+ educational institutions in 111 countries. More than 70 SAP Next-Gen labs and hubs have opened on university campuses. We have conducted 500+ SAP Next-Gen innovation tours and completed nearly 300 SAP Next-Gen projects with academia and industry. And we now have 800+ SAP Young Thinkers schools. We expect 2018 will see continued strong growth as both academia and industry increasingly see the value in teaming up with SAP Next-Gen for purpose driven innovation.

How does SAP Next-Gen partner with UN Women?

We are pleased to support UN Women both as a member of the UN Women Global Innovation Coalition for Change, and to host the UN Women Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship Industry Forum at the SAP Leonardo Center in New York, fostering new connections among academia, corporations, startups, tech community partners, and purpose driven organizations to help accelerate achieving the UN Global Goals including Goal 4 – Quality Education. Advancing opportunities for STEM education including digital technologies such as Blockchain can help women and girls to design, shape and benefit from the technological transformations and innovations changing our world. We see our partnership with UN Women as a key enabler of accelerating new opportunities for women and girls in innovation, technology, and entrepreneurship.

Can you tell us a bit about how you are collaborating with UN Women on #sheinnovates?

The #sheinnovates program is a collaboration between SAP Next-Gen and UN Women aimed at accelerating innovation for women and girls together with the UN Women Global Innovation Coalition for Change. We are collaborating on global projects, events, meet-ups for SAP customers and our SAP Next-Gen global community, and a #sheinnovates app, podcasts, and ongoing social media. We are very excited to be teaming with UN Women on this global initiative to drive industry-wide action to make innovation and technology work better for young women and girls.

Photographer & Videographer Credit: SAP Next-Gen Team
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