Last updated: Creating purposeful experiences that impact billions

Creating purposeful experiences that impact billions


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As we settle into 2020 and begin our strategic planning, it’s a good time for introspection. How well did we do in 2019? What did we achieve? Who did we impact? Did we get closer to our life goals? What will our goals for 2020 be?

“The mystery of human existence lies not in just staying alive, but in finding something to live for.” – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

One of the best frameworks for such introspective evaluation was the work of psychologist Abraham Maslow, and his famous Hierarchy of Needs.

Through this framework, Maslow laid out the priority of needs felt by humans, starting from physiological needs and ending ultimately in self-actualization.

Here’s an illustration:


Maslow’s framework speaks to the purpose of an individual as she goes about her daily tasks, focused on earning bread for her family, and securing a safe shelter for her children. Once those essentials are taken care of, an individual can then focus on higher-order needs like belongingness, self-esteem, and self-actualization.

When we apply the concept to an organization, purpose changes to delivering similar types of impact, but on a much larger canvas.

How purpose-driven businesses and organizations are changing the world for the better

Being able to provide food and water to billions of people, safety to densely populated cities, and fulfilling self-esteem needs of hundreds of thousands of people – this is no small feat. At SAP, we are fortunate to belong to an organization that can deliver such impact at scale.

Following are some stories of purposeful experiences delivered to impact billions of people:

  • Stara is a company that makes farming equipment and is in the business of sustainable farming. Using IOT to measure soil humidity and composition, Stara can deliver these insights to farmers, enabling them to deliver exactly the right composition and quantity of fertilizer and irrigation to their land.
    At a time when food shortage may loom as a serious threat to the future of mankind on earth, Stara’s work has the potential to eliminate crop failures and consistently deliver the required farm output.
  • Vectus delivers another scarce resource – water – to millions of people across India. With such a distributed network, it becomes an impossible task to find and detect leakage. Using IOT at key nodes, Vectus works with SAP to prevent wastage of water.
  • Babi is a healthy breakfast retailer in China that was facing the problem of food wastage, a problem that can easily burgeon in this highly populated country. Through a sophisticated matching of real-time inventory with demand, Babi was able to solve its wastage problem.
  • The City of Buenos Aires faced annual floods that wreaked massive destruction with people’s personal property, households and vehicles. While the city had adequate infrastructure – storm drains were all in place – these were often non-functional or blocked. Using IOT sensors to detect blocked drains ahead of inclement weather, the city was able to save millions in potential losses from people who could ill afford it.
  • The Gendarmarie Nationale of Paris (police force) used predictive analytics with social media for real-time resource allocation of patrol vehicles and police personnel to detect and prevent crime, delivering safety at scale.
  • SAP teams work on programs for autism, diversity and inclusion, and intrapreneurship that extend belongingness to communities and groups beyond our immediate workforce.
  • Code Unnati (“unnati” means progress in Hindi) is worth a special mention for the evocation of self-esteem it produces in a disadvantaged populace. Part of a CSR initiative, Code Unnati sent mobile vans equipped with connected computers to far-flung rural communities in India.
    Typically, these isolated communities have schools, but lack the infrastructure that kids need to learn effectively. Through Code Unnati and SAP’s partnership with them, these kids were not just able to learn computing, but were also able to open a window to the larger world through access to the Internet. Suddenly, kids that had never pictured a life beyond their immediate village, now had dreams of a larger world, and potentially a path to achieve those dreams.

In seeking purpose and enlightenment, one feels grateful to be an employee of a company that delivers a path to self-actualization for its employees – in connecting our work to the tremendous impact on billions of people every day.

These stories of purpose are collected here as a means of delivering inspiration and gratitude to all our employees, partners, customers, vendors, and everyone who touches our ecosystem in any way – big or small.

We thank you for helping us deliver to our purpose.

“A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself.” – Abraham Maslow

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