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The (WIN)novate Series: The workforce’s guide to delivering the Intelligent Enterprise. (Episode 1)

Written by: Thomas Benaroya (Chief Innovation Ranger) at Winnovate - Powered by SAP. Interviewed: Sharif Maghraby (Creative Coaching Maestro) at Winnovate - Powered by SAP

Unpacking the Intelligent Enterprise

Let’s 1st start with unpacking the Intelligent Enterprise. SAP’s corporate strategy and promise is to deliver the Intelligent Enterprise. While many definitions may be available, we will follow the one stated in the May 2018: Corporate Strategy paper White Paper: “Deliver the Intelligent Enterprise” (follow link): The Intelligent Enterprise is that organization that

“Delivers new capabilities that enable the workforce to focus on higher value outcomes”

This series of blogs to follow will focus not just on the solution capabilities that SAP provides with its Intelligent Suite, Digital Platform and Intelligent Technologies but mostly on the people side of the equation. We will explore techniques, templates and mindsets that help empower the workforce to better deliver THEIR organization’s Intelligent Enterprise. This 1st episode will focus on ‘The Project Scope’ to help frame success, the outcomes and the challenges facing the user but in future episodes we will also look at Design Thinking, Business Modelling, Digital Platform Design etc. We will explore how the workforce needs to be enabled to focus on higher value outcomes. Indeed, the delivery of the Intelligent Enterprise implies a transformation in the workforce itself at the core if its definition. What is this implied transformation? What are these “jobs to be done” that the new capabilities are allowing the workforce to focus on? With the deployment of these new solution capabilities, how is your role being redefined? Or better, how you upgrade your own software (to speak in our own industry terms) to better deliver these capabilities in your organizations? If you are not convinced yet of the rationale, just look at:

  • The Customer who is always connected, and who’s experience starts long before he purchases the product and never ends.
  • The Buyer who is expected to provide a lot more benefit than cut prices of supplies in today’s highly networked economy and who’s functions may also include driving supplier innovations for example.
  • The HR Business Partner who, after having enabled Self Service HR, is tasked with spear heading the transformation that comes with delivering the Intelligent Enterprise with jobs such as creating an inclusive business environment managing diverse talent without bias or driving Strategic workforce planning with senior management in line with the new business models of the digital economy.

In reality, all the personas of the business value chain, not just the ones mentioned above are being impacted by the new technology trends. Assets are now connected, the supply chain integrated and the amount of data and INSIGHT potentially of value to the organization is creating bears both a challenge and an opportunity. How might we help you generate insight from these changes to support the fitment of new potential solutions and business models to your organizations. These are some of the questions that we will explore.

The Challenge.

In simple terms, the challenge, this series of blogs will address, may be laid out at as follows:

“When delivering the Intelligent Enterprise, how might we empower you and your organization…

…to leverage capabilities such as S/4HANA, block chain, AI/ML or Big Data etc.

…In order to focus on higher value outcomes”

In a nutshell, the premise for this blog is best described by Garry Kasparov in Deep Thinking “Where Machine Intelligence Ends and Human creativity begins” but extended to the Intelligent Enterprise. The combination for AI and Human is a lot more powerful than AI or Human individually. The same way the introduction of AI, completely redefined the way chess players, play chess, the Intelligent Enterprise is redefining completely the way the workforce plays the game. 

This series of blog will explore through interviews, thought leaders who are developing mindsets, techniques and templates to empower the workforce to focus on these higher value outcomes leveraging the new capabilities of the Intelligent Enterprise.


Mindset #1: Framing the challenge using the ‘Project Scope’, interview with Winnovate Lead Innovation Coach, Sharif Maghraby.

For this, I interviewed on January 11th 2019 Sharif Maghraby, Lead Innovation Coach at Winnovate. Sharif is an Arabic-speaking ICF accredited coach, keynote speaker, author and trainer, specializing in the areas of innovation, positive psychology and communication with more than 25 years of experience in various cross-functional managerial and leadership roles in the retail, broadcasting, digital media and TV production sectors.

We focused the interview on a tool designed by Sharif called “The Project Scope’ that he developed as a template that allows key stakeholders to become more comfortable with the ‘explore’ phase of any project. It enables them to spark a healthy dialogue and begin to frame the project challenge by applying a common visual template and language. 

Thomas B: Can you explain to the reader what is ‘The Project Scope’?

Sharif M: ‘The Project Scope’ is basically a visual framework that enables a team to have a conversation and a dialogue around the key components of any project, whether they're in the kickoff stage or prior to them diving into an actual innovation framework like Design Thinking, business modelling or others. It enables them to get a very specific focus around who they are designing for, what the key challenge is and how to define success. And it also allows them to ‘time travel’ by empathizing with the current user situation but also projecting into the future to imagine what the user’s aspirations are - which is very helpful.

‘The Project Scope’ is very much inspired by the business model canvas because the business model canvas is also a visual tool that allows people to have a common dialogue. It's also builds on an excellent existing scoping document that we use here internally at SAP. And it also brings in elements from Design Thinking and from customer centric design. So basically, it's a synthesis of three or four different frameworks that allows people to ‘explore’ with confidence - prior to diving into the project or the innovation framework that they intend to apply.  

Thomas B: Can you share a typical scenario where we would want to use this template?

Sharif M: So, a typical scenario might be that a company, a leadership team for example, knows that they have a specific need, whether it's a business need or a market need, and they have a lot of different varying ideas, assumptions and diverse inputs from different team members. And they really can't find that common ground to launch – to take off. It’s a perfect tool for them to begin to find that common ground and to start to have also those difficult conversations. It has been designed in a way where it intentionally prompts people to think about certain questions that they wouldn't typically ask themselves.

Let's say a certain company is thinking about launching an initiative related to The Intelligent Enterprise, where they will be leveraging core SAP capabilities and technologies like AI/ML or Big Data. I think ‘The Project Scope’ document is a great way for them to start to have that dialogue around who they're designing for, how they will create value for them and what does success look like? And then there's an area around the key technology trends. So - what are the different technology trends that can be applicable to that specific project?

Thomas B: For example, how was it received last time you used the template?

Sharif M: Well, to be honest with you, we've had really positive feedback using it. We've used it internally a couple of times for our projects. But we also used it with our different customers. We have an Arabic version which we used with one of the regional governmental entities which was very, very helpful for the teams because it enabled them to hone down on that specific project and allowed them to start to visualize certain challenges as well as the current and future ‘states’ of the audience. We also used it in Saudi recently with another governmental entity. The team's worked with it and it really helped them to spark a dialogue around the core challenge. And just recently we used when we were doing an intro meeting with a client. We just stuck it up on the wall and we facilitated a conversation that led to a fascinating discussion.

And the feedback was "Wow, this is a great tool. This really gives us focus and clarity. It really helped us consolidate the ideas that we had in our heads. We were unable to see them in such a tangible form and this helped us to complete the narrative." It's a great way to tell the story. It's a great way to build up a compelling narrative of here's where we are, here's where we go, here's where we're designing for, here’s what success looks like, and so on.

Thomas B: So, for those who are not familiar with ‘The Project Scope’, you mind just explaining the theory behind it?

Sharif M: I would say that the theory behind ‘The Project Scope’ stems from a combination of things. At its center is one of the core tenants of design – which is customer centricity. At the very core of all innovation is this idea of human centric design, of putting our user's needs or pain points, their needs, their aspirations at the core. We must always remember that our innovations must be meaningful to the people that we aim to serve. 

So, when you look at the middle of ‘The Project Scope’, there’s the customer or the user or the audience, and it's always about creating value. The question we ask is who are we creating value for? And it references certain terms from innovation and from value proposition called ‘jobs to be done’. So even at that point we start to ask ourselves, what are the jobs to be done related to this specific challenge or project for the user, right? Whether they're social, emotional or functional. Just this approach helps us to get out of our own heads and out our users first 

After that point, you have a choice. You can either go on to a more foundational level and put yourself in the seat of the organization. You ask yourself why is it important for us to solve this challenge, and what are the organizational strategic goals around this challenge? And it's really about articulating and defining the actual challenges trying to be solved. Or you could go forward in time and you could try to look into the future and try to define what success looks like. Why is it important to achieve that goal?

Then we bring in a bit of basic Design Thinking where on the left side of the canvas (See above figure ‘project scope’), we have the current user state. We begin to empathize with our current user and ask - what is the current user experiencing? What are their pain points, what are their aspirations, what are their gains? So that allows us to do a little bit of empathy work and try to take a snapshot of the current customer point of view and position. And then it also allows us to try to visualize what a compelling future for the user would be like. What do they aspire to, what do they want to reach, where are they trying to go?

So, we have the customer section in the middle, and then surrounding those sections we've got information related to the key stakeholders, the competitive landscape, social, economic and sector-specific of course - the related technology trends.

Those nine components all work together to help give that focus and clarity and to help prepare the team for any initiative, any innovation framework or methodology that they plan to implement. It can be very helpful with project management as well. It can be very helpful in strategic planning. I think it can be utilized and applied in a myriad of ways.

Thomas B: How might a customer use this mindset and associated tool?

Sharif M: I really believe that it's got a very flexible, application. So, for example, it can be used in, like I said, strategic planning. It can be used in communication design as well marketing, I think it can be used in a lot of different ways because of the idea behind it - you might say, "Okay, you know what? Instead of the customer, we're going to put our board of directors in the middle."

What does our board of directors want? Okay, so what's the challenge? So how does success for our board of directors, where are they now? Where do they want to go? And so on. You could remove the board of directors and you can put in your staff and begin to design for them. Remember that the core pillar here is that we are creating value for the customer (or audience) that we are addressing.  You could remove your staff and decide to design for your boss. At the end of the day, it's very flexible and it's really all about providing insight around the needs and the pains and the gains of who you're designing for. But it also enables you create a compelling future that enables you to move forward and to address and break down all of these different sections to get that focus required.

Thomas B: Now, one of the key questions is why is this framework important in the context of a company that's partnering with SAP to deliver components of The Intelligent Enterprise? 

Sharif M: I think that with most of the design led engagements and workshops, a very important part that the pre-work is this idea of scoping. And what scoping does is it enables people to start to create this dialogue around the challenge that they're trying to solve.  And for a company to be able to routinely innovate – they must become comfortable and fluent in the space of ‘now knowing’. They must be OK with exploration, with curiosity and with possibility. This framework allows them to also collaborate as a team and begin to discuss how to leverage key technologies to create value for their users. It sparks the prior to embarking on the journey. So, I think it's very, very helpful for any team or any organization to kick-off any project or innovation initiative using this powerful framework. 

Thomas B: What you're saying is that technology is one of the many components for the delivery of an Intelligent Enterprise?

Sharif M: Of course. If you look at it, one of the key themes that was addressed at the recent SAP Sapphire but also at the SAP Now is that just because a company or an organization implements a piece of technology, be it cloud, be it AI, be it machine learning, it doesn't mean that they're innovating. It's just an application of the tool.  We must empower people to be able to collaborate and co-create. We must support the teams to become competent in the mindsets and mannerisms of the true innovators. And, if a team has never actually done any design thinking or innovation coaching - this tool is a great introduction to begin to have that dialogue. It’s a perfect tool to begin to explore in a very ‘low-risk’ way before they move into execution mode too. Finally, it's great for exploring team dynamics too. And like you said, technology is just one aspect of innovation – and it must be enabled by people.

Thomas B: And if I want to apply this, how do I go about it? Imagine I'm new to the tool, do I need a long preparation period? Do I need to adopt new skills? How would I come to adopt this practice?

Sharif M: The way that it's been designed (and we actually got positive feedback due to that approach) is that I built into each section a set of very specific questions so it’s ready to use. Just hang it on the wall and dive right in. You can do it by yourself, but we recommend obviously that you have at least a team of three to four people from diverse parts of the organization. Obviously, having people who are customer facing or have some understanding of what the customer experience is will be very, very helpful. Also, people who are aware of the competitive landscape and have some information around industry insights or technology trends too. But the whole idea is that the framework is designed in a way that’s ready to use. You don't have to have any prior knowledge.

All you need to do is just start in the center and go through, answer the questions (refer to above figure ‘project scope’). From the center, you can then decide either to go down or go up, then you go down to current and future, and then you fill in the grey sections around the middle. 

Thomas B: Walk us through the experience of coming up with this template.

Sharif M: The experience of coming up with this template was really from a pain point that I experienced myself when I'd done a couple of innovation workshops and I realized a few things. The first was that there wasn't a common understanding of what it entails to kick off a project. There wasn't a common launch-pad where everybody was starting off from.

Second, I’d seen a couple of scope documents but felt that they were all missing something. One of them tackled the framework from purely business approach and did not bring in the customer centricity aspect. The one that was more geared towards Design Thinking was missing some of the business aspects and so forth.

The third part was that visually I wanted to create something that reinforced the fact that our customer is always at the center to ensure that people always remember to put the user first. The fact that the challenge section is at the foundation (underneath) is because we always have to be conscious of defining the challenge and asking why is it important? And how is it aligned with organizational and strategic goals as well.

The fact that we have a current user state and then a future state (that's a bit bigger) is also a way to represent the customer journey, right? The fact that success section is on top related to the fact that this is where you want to go. It's aspirational. So, it's a combination of seeing and experiencing certain pain points, being inspired by what I saw here internally at SAP and also frameworks that I saw outside, things that I experienced in my DT training, things that I saw with the business model canvas. So, knowing that there's a certain mechanism or way to create a visual language or a visual scope. Finally, I really enjoyed bringing in the creative aspect to try to create a visual framework that is also simple to use, but also has some logic to it and is intuitive and can help people have that conversation and create that story or that narrative.

Thomas B: And what's next? You've completed ‘The Project Scope’, with YOUR customer, what you do next?

Sharif M: From my experience, ‘The Project Scope’ gets people very excited and passionate about the fact that they've reached focus and clarity. They've conducted that dialogue, they have that common challenge, and they've started to get glimpses of what success looks like. And they're like, "Okay, so what do we do now?" And the question to the answer to "what are we doing now?" is generally either a SPARK or a DRIVE, a SHIFT or a WIN, right? Which are the services that we offer in our Winnovate Service catalog.

So that may lead to a Design Thinking workshop or it may lead to learning more about pain points and gains through value proposition design, or it may lead to a deep dive into business model innovation. It might lead to coaching, it might lead to a WIN, which involves bringing in applied innovation from SAP, like our Leonardo prototyping services. What's next is applied innovation. What's next is real results. What's next is, okay, let's work on this real challenge and let's interact with our customers and users, let's create these innovative products or services that allows us to add value. It allows us to transform our challenge into opportunity.

Thomas B: Finally, last question, what would be your recommendations to someone who's reading this blog, looking at ‘The Project Scope’, if here were to do it himself?

Sharif M: My recommendation to someone who would do it themselves is obviously to adopt, first and foremost, the mindsets required for this to be a co-creative experience? Engaging with empathy with the people you're working with and with your users. Trying to find those insights, whether it's in any one of those sections and really spending the time to think about who are the key stakeholders, what does success look like? Really spending time answering those questions, right? Co-creating obviously with your users and also with your teams.

And my advice is to be iterative. It is explorative and it allows people to have, like I said, you can have fun with it, but more importantly, it's a great way for people to start to have that exploratory dialogue. So my recommendation is to invite as many people as possible and to enter that conversation because the more insights you have, the more points of view you have, the more it will enable you to get that focus that will then lead you to that point where you say, "Oh, okay, we've done ‘The Project Scope’ and now we know that when we need to have a much more applied innovation methodology framework to take it to the next step."

Sharif M: Before we stop. What did you think of it, really? What are your insights about it?

Thomas B: What I like about it is that although we are about introducing to our customers more and more technologies that allow to avoid manual work, that automate processes, that embed intelligence in the jobs to be done for the various personas at our customers, that The Intelligent Enterprise is about refocusing on the people side of the equation. And what that means is that their time and resources are now available to not just automating the enterprise, that's what we deliver, but thinking strategically about what the next steps are for the enterprise.

If you don't frame the problem, it's a challenge. And this tool is a great way for an organization to invite diverse number of people and frame a challenge using a template, which allows everybody to speak the same language. And if they're not speaking the same language with the customer or the user at the center, the template allows you to readjust. If there's a gap in people's understanding or expectations or aspirations, the template will allow people to bridge that gap because it's very visual, it's physical, it's not virtual and it's people-oriented.

Sharif M: That's great. And I think that I resonate a lot with some of the points you made. I think one great point that you mentioned that I wasn't really aware of is that a natural outcome of innovation and implementing the digital enterprise is that hopefully these people, will have some more free time on their hands. And that means that'll enable them to start to have these important conversations where before they were probably too focused on process or execution. So that's a very valid point where you see one of the positive outcomes of implementing the digital enterprise, is that, people get more time to engage in this great dialogue and use other tools that empower that innovative dialogue between people. So, that's great.

Thomas B: Well, if, I refer to Gary Kasparov in Deep Thinking what he explains is very extendable to The Intelligent Enterprise. He said that the introduction of the artificial intelligence in chess, allowed for chess players to re-think the way they play chess. They spend less time on brute analytical thinking and more time on creative and strategic thinking, where the computer is weak.

Strategic and creative thinking, which is where you want the people at the enterprise to focus their time. Anything that's automatable, you want it to be automated through solutions like SAP’s Intelligent Enterprise. Wherever we have a little bit of intelligence, we want those processes or the reports or associated analytics to be infused with that intelligence so that people focus on the strategic thinking and higher value outcomes like re-thinking Business Models for the enterprise to thrive in the digital age. 

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