Innovating HR with a Bit of Punk

Studies show that many of our jobs today did not exist 10 years ago. Imagine: 65% of children entering school now will one day work in jobs we don’t even know about yet. This development is accelerating day by day. What does this mean for Human Resources departments and the future of work? What is the role HR should play and how can the human transformation be kick-started?

The Future of Work Pop Up Lab is the place to come for answers. Especially HR professionals, face the challenges of becoming change architects and developing new skills and abilities. The Pop Up Lab is a fresh format intended as an innovation catalyst for businesses, looking to embrace digital technologies and their potential for transformation in HR.

The Pop-Up Lab is a unique space in which to develop, discuss new approaches and collaborate with other HR professionals and experts. By first having a common topic, HR Experts, Startups, Partners and others gather to learn, try out and test various methodologies to discover new approaches and develop their skills and know-how. Innovative thinkers bring inspiration and spark discussions to develop new and fresh ideas.

Since 2018, we have visited more than 50 companies and presented to over 1,000 visitors on our Explore the Future of Work Tour. We learned so much and wanted to turn this knowledge and our audiences’ feedback into action. Our main objective is to create a venue where we can share our experiences and learn from each other to improve HR processes and spark inspiration for the future.

But why punk? The Lab has been initiated by our SAP HR Punks: All activities are based on an intentionally disruptive and innovative mindset with the aim of challenging the status quo and taking untrodden paths with other participants, startups and partners.

The Kick-Off: November 12 to 14 in Berlin

The first Future of Work Pop-Up Lab took place at the SAP AppHaus in Berlin for two-and-half days with a strong focus on Employee Experience. We had various activities lined up ranging from innovation methods to apply in an HR context including Design Thinking, Lego Scrum, and inspiration sessions to provide new insights and spark a mindset change.

Learning new methodologies

Participants went through a well-structured design-thinking process to discover, design and deliver prototypes to improve the employee experience of their workforce. The focus was to learn useful methodologies and gain insights on why, how and what is important to consider when using innovation methodologies applied to HR. Participants even went out on the streets of Berlin to conduct interviews to gather insights, fuel discussions, and focus on end users’ real needs when designing solutions.

Getting inspired

Each workshop day had inspirational sessions to boost creativity and generate new ideas. We finalized the first day with a panel discussion over beer and pizza at which Cawa Younosi, Head of HR at SAP Germany and Jana Tepe, CEO and founder of Tandemploy shared their experiences and perspectives over the topic of Employee Experience. The second day started early in the morning. Throughout the day inspirational sessions sparked interesting conversations. Christian Wehner, Futurist, brought insights in a very interactive session on how to think new and start transforming now. Enrico Palumbo, Head of HR Learning and Early Talent Development at SAP, took us on his “hero journey” and shared his innovation experience with an VR onboarding scenario used in SAP Switzerland. The second evening was concluded with a pitch night with HR startups from the SAP.iO network. To round up all this insights and inputs, the final pitch was presented on the third day to a jury in which Frauke von Polier, COO People at SAP, provided her feedback to all developed prototypes.

Key Take-Aways

After two and a half days of inspiration and hard work participants were able to take home:

  • A detailed and hands-on step by step deep dive to the Design Thinking methodology.
  • New methodologies to empathize with end users, ideate new solutions, as well as structure and validate new ideas.
  • Inspiration and close up to HR use cases with Hololens, Emotiv and Chatbots and new technologies such as Virtual Reality and 3D Printing.
  • Food for thought from HR Experts and innovative Thinkers.
  • A stronger Network with other HR Experts driving change.
  • Innovative solutions to improve the Employee Experience back in their organizations.

The response to the concept and results for the kick-off workshop have been overwhelmingly positive. An onsite survey revealed that the workshop fulfilled and even exceeded the expectations of 100% of survey respondents and that more than 92% would recommend it to their managers and peers.

Are you curious? Come and check it out yourself. We will be posting upcoming dates for the lab very soon on and on LinkedIn. Our next stops will be Zurich, Vienna, Prague and Moscow. Follow our channel to get all updates! Participate and join the movement!  

For further information please reach out to Andrea Castillo: