Last updated: Innovation awards 2021: Inspirational stories of success

Innovation awards 2021: Inspirational stories of success


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In a global environment of rapid change and uncertainty, inspiring change and developing innovation capacity in organizations has probably never mattered more – from SME’s to large enterprises alike. This can be the critical catalyst to retain or build sustainable competitive advantage for business, and a driving factor for social impact change.

Sharing inspirational stories across incremental and rapid innovation, from process and products, to people and storytelling is increasingly important.

‘Digital resilience is flourishing. Creativity has a new urgency. So, let’s recognize the new world of innovation.’
– SAP Board Member, Adaire Fox-Martin

We’re now amid the submission period for the eighth annual SAP Innovation Awards which does exactly that – helping identify and celebrate the catalysts of innovation for business and society, and providing inspiration for others to invest in innovation, personalized to their context – with a particular focus on big data and technology enabled change alongside trusted partnership.

The categories are Social Catalyst, Industry Leader, Partner Paragon, Business Innovator, Transformation Champion, Cloud Genius and Adoption Superhero. And to inspire your entries, here are three fantastic example submissions from 2020!

Innovation icons: Inspirational success stories

Danish company Grundfos, the world’s largest pump manufacturer does inspirational work advancing its goal of contributing to bring safely managed drinking water to 300 million people in need by 2030.

Safe access to clean water is a precondition for human health, well-being and nearly all economic activity with investment in the water sector enabling high quality green jobs in the post pandemic recovery. The organization also supports climate action and disaster response, for example: relief work amid the Central California wildfires.

Grundfos needed an efficient way to access accurate customer data ‘on tap’ and apply insights for proactive action and its story became a worthy Experience Innovator Award winner in 2020.

The key problem was that despite over 200,000 daily offline and online customer touch points, they were only getting feedback from customers annually, resulting in missed opportunities to identify and act on potential issues. With a one-person team to manage this, the solution necessitated a platform that was scalable, open, intuitive and fast to implement.

The change was achieved by adopting an X (experience) + O (operations) customer pulse program bringing together a Qualtrics experience solution with SAP Customer Relationship Management.

This provided Grundfos with always-on analytics and insights into customer experiences alongside operational account history and context so that the sales team could listen to their customers at every digital touch point and take real time action, delivering on customer satisfaction and employee motivation alike.

This is a fantastic example of holistic and integrated experience management naturally evolving happy customers into loyal and organic brand ambassadors, increasing business opportunities, and enhancing social impact.

Check out previous winning examples with pitch decks for further inspiration.

Another pioneering example is leading Swiss retail company Valora which specializes in providing ‘convenience on the go’ with small-scale retail outlets/kiosks offering convenience items at high frequency locations such as transportation hubs and airports. A 2020 winner in the Cloud Genius category, Valora built the ‘convenience store of the future’ in just 6 months launching the pilot cashier-free ‘avec box’ – with a video bringing this to life.

This innovation heralded the actualization of a new convenience store concept moving beyond the product range to the experience itself, working autonomously to enable full customer control. As demonstrated in the SAP Innovation Awards pitch deck, its foundation is intelligent technology integration and strong partnerships. Valora deployed multiple aspects of the SAP Cloud Platform and SAP C/4HANA across registration, 24/7 access, add to basket and payment functionality via a mobile app, providing full front to back office integration.

This development was a response to changing consumer preferences and expectations, including desire for personalization and increasing adoption of alternative payment methods; for example, even prior to the pandemic, consulting firm Oliver Wyman had forecast a decline in cash payments to 37%. And given the level of innovation at Valora, it is not surprising to see how the organization pivoted during COVID too – for example introducing new offers with delivery and coffee pre-orders. Clearly innovation is embedded by design!

And our final example reflects the diversity of the awards coming from &ever GmbH – a start-up in the Agri-Tech sector seeking to advance the intelligent, sustainable and environmentally farming systems of the future, striving for nutritional food and zero waste while minimizing ecological footprint.

The &ever submission shows the potential of bringing together emergent technology advances with the benefits of the best local farms to grow, produce and harvest food in major city centres, helping to relieve some of the negative impacts of urbanization.

Bringing together technology from the SAP Cloud Platform, SAP HANA, and SAP Fiori, the enterprise has the ability to optimize natural resources by continually improving production processes and recipes based on historical data and predictions.

Intuitive UX also allows easy management of the entire supply chain from seeding to harvesting and just in sequence shipping. And since their awards entry, &ever has gone on to open its first indoor vertical mega-farm in Singapore equipped with 7.000 sqm of grow space – the innovation trajectory here is clear to see.

The breadth and depth of examples explored show the range of application of SAP technology and partnership across digital transformation for business and society – and it takes just four simple steps to enter the SAP Innovation Awards to share your important story, too.

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