AAHD Student Innovation Teams partner with SAP SE

Author: Dept. Staff

The design program’s fall 2015 course, Collaborative Product Development partnered with industry sponsor SAP SE, the world’s foremost enterprise software company, to reinvent software interaction in the human resources enterprise space. Interdisciplinary teams were asked to explore the power of the wearables platform, to conceive and develop solutions that bring data on demand to address a myriad of needs from the perspectives of users, business and technology. SAP Design VP Michael Brown was on campus several times to offer guidance throughout the semester. On December 15, three student teams presented to a star panel of venture capitalists including Tom Crotty of Battery Ventures, Tracy Graham of Graham-Allen Partners and Gary Gigot of Gigot Brands, invited by SAP.  Rounding out the judging panel were Michael Brown (SAP), David Murphy Director of the Esteem Program, and John McGreevy, Dean of the College of Arts and Letters. The course was taught by professor Ann Marie Conrado.


This senior capstone course is part of the new Collaborative Innovation initiative highlighting design thinking as a powerful problem solving methodology. Students from Visual Communication Design (UX design), Industrial Design (product design), Business (IT management), Anthropology (consumer insight), and Computer Science (programming) were chosen for this fall’s project. Teams were tasked with conceiving, developing and executing a compelling concept and working prototype. The final presentation aspect was added to the course this fall, allowing student teams to pitch their ideas to highly experienced business owners and investors. This unique learning experience at Notre Dame, offered by the department for six years running, routinely gathers students from disciplines across the university (social sciences, business, design and engineering) to work together on dynamic, real-world challenges sponsored by outside corporations. Student teams are guided by sponsors and mentors all while exploring the mechanics of collaboration. 

Three teams presented to the panel and responded to tough questions and candid feedback from the judges. Team BLOOM presented a concept for aligning organizational objectives with employee goal setting using an intuitive metaphor of cultivation. Team VIBE introduced a concept for quickly and easily capturing and analyzing feedback and impressions on any given topic providing for smarter decision-making. Team EMOTIV finished with a concept for a wellness tracker that focused on employees’ well-being and satisfaction to improve productivity. In an exciting turn of events, VCs have initiated preliminary discussions with some teams to pursue investment and funding opportunities, marking a new tenor to the program.

The department would like to acknowledge and thank Michael Brown and Don Ginocchio from SAP for their incredible support and contributions to the Innovation program.