The SAP Leadership Academy
Agency: A leading agency


Image for SAP project by ckwrites


  • A destination suitable for a three day VIP experience for senior executives.

  • The next generation of global leaders at SAP.

  • This integrated marketing campaign proposal was developed at the request of SAP’s Human Resources department which recognized the need to develop a new training approach for SAP’s present and future leaders. They proposed an approach based on principles developed at the Stanford University d-School and the Hasso Plattner School of Design Thinking in Pottsdam, Germany.

    This event was intended to be the kick-off event. After attending a unique attendee experience, it was hoped that attendees would become ambassadors for the academy.

    Complicating the proposal was an unidentified content partner with whom we had no chance to coordinate.

  • I was the strategist, creative director and writer for the proposal team.

  • Because the destination recommendation was an important part of the proposal, we created a “learning” framework then demonstrated how the program could be executed at three different destinations.

    Principal program elements included:

    • A unique organizing principle combining an immersive learning experience with a luxury conference base camp.
    • A Pre-Event program to prepare attendees.
    • An Event agenda combining learning and social events.
    • A Post-Event program to sustain momentum.
    • A measurement program to demonstrate success and drive improvement.
    • A complete VIP travel experience.

    After two rounds of reviews, SAP decided to postpone the launch. The contract was never awarded.


The Organizing Principle

To ensure that SAP’s future leaders are able to run faster than ever before, to ensure that the talent is there to continue to double the size of the company, a new place to learn new skills is being built, the SAP Leadership Academy.

We have developed a simple but powerful Event Organizing Principle for the Academy that applies the humanist emphasis of Design Thinking to the Academy experience.  We sum our approach up in the concept of “Linking Learning and Leading.” 

“Linking Learning and Leading” consists of three elements (or deliverables) we consider essential to a compelling leadership experience:

The “Kinetic Environment” – a location that offers a dynamic, challenging laboratory in which to apply early phase Design Thinking skills. This phase is described by the d. school as Empathy and as Problem Definition in other models. Regardless of the label, research suggests that “real world” immersion is the necessary precursor to new thinking. The Kinetic environment provides that.

The “Disruptive Influence” – helps to spark creativity. To help remove traditional barriers based on role and title, we are providing a “provocateur” with demonstrated expertise in executive training to create challenging and uncomfortable moments.

The “Base Camp” – Base Camp is where we expect the Content Agency to do most of their teaching and later stage ideation, prototyping and testing. The Base Camp is a luxury accommodations where attendees will enjoy the highest level hospitality experience.

The Principle has been applied to the development of the four Leadership Academy experiences presented in the following pages.