“I don’t think we knew what we wanted to achieve when we started down this path. We knew there was something that we could create. We knew there was a better way to collaborate amongst this high level group of executives but we weren’t really sure what or how...We ended up with fabulous tools.”– Carley Dillon, Executive Director of Wild Canyon Games
Integrating Technology Within the Rustic Landscape
To understand what innovative technology would be most effective in the Games’ remote setting, a 60,000 acre ranch in Antelope, Oregon, SAP needed to get dirty. The design team visited the ranch to investigate limitations within the infrastructure, such as lack of Wi-Fi.
The team also needed to understand the actual event- a three-day long sequence of competitions culminating in the ultimate triumph for one seven-member team- best cumulative score. The Games’ location and scope further intensified the competition.
“It was important to the organization that we really understand and gain empathy for what they were trying to do…they wanted us to interact with the volunteers, and to get a sense for what it was, which was great for us because we really believe in gaining that empathy.”– Eliad Goldwasser, Director of Design Services at SAP Design & Co-Innovation Center
The team even helped scout a new path for the triathlon and assembled first aid kits before holding a workshop with the directors and a core group of volunteers. They sought to understand what the games meant to volunteers in order to deliver a suitable solution.
“That Matt and Eliad went and spent the entire weekend with them, together, understanding what they were trying to accomplish and understanding how they could improve upon it, I think that spoke volumes. ”– Ryan Hildenbrand, Wild Canyon Games board member & Global Account Director at SAP
The workshop helped hone in on problematic and outdated analog approaches to team collaboration and scoring. Teams previously faced difficulties accessing information and schedules without wireless communication. Additionally, event results were organized into excel charts and printed on paper: a method too sluggish for elite athletes, that also didn’t allow for tracking individual progress.
SAP saw the opportunity to improve these systems by delivering an insightful, efficient display for results, and by establishing a digital community. SAP hoped to eliminate slow processing, long queues of waiting athletes, limited insights, and difficulty coordinating.
Complementing the Existing Infrastructure
In reimagining the printed scores, the team did not want to serve up too much information, however. The existing paper method had a major advantage: it was easily skimmable. The new system would be designed to contain rich insights, but not overwhelmingly so.
SAP also learned that participants often arrived with a limited knowledge of the Games’ mission and its logistics, so the digital community needed to be open and accessible.
Thus, the main goals SAP hoped to achieve were to:
1) Reduce time between the events and accessibility of scores
2) Allow people to interact with the information
3) Create a central, communal space for information
Designing a 3-Dimensional Perspective
The design team first introduced SAP Jam as a solution. The team created a page exclusively for the executive challenge teams, made up of executives from various companies, whose busy team captains could use the page to collaborate pre-race. The leaders could receive updates through SAP Jam, which they could then relay to others. Leaders could also form training plans, share documents, and use a collaborative calendar to cultivate teamwork.
“I think SAP helped us to better drive our message home through these individuals being able to collaborate in the backend. I think people emerged this year with a better holistic feel of what we were trying to do….influence health and wellness from a top down approach. So, companies walked away saying, ‘I now have experienced it and I'm now going to take action.’ Without that ability I think we would have lost sponsors in future years.”– Carley Dillon
Race day presented arguably larger issues. However, SAP eliminated the previous limited points of information, excel documents, by presenting event results through scattered kiosks equipped with tablets, in order to prevent bottlenecks.
The team also successfully created a more dimensional context for the athletes by providing multiple divisions through which to view event results. The drop-down menu allowed triathletes to dive deeper into their performance, by displaying results organized by team, ranking or division, with one simple click.
SAP’s solutions helped enhance Wild Canyon Games through smart user experience design. The Jam page made communication open and streamlined, while the new system of kiosks made scoring at Wild Canyon more accessible, contextual, and efficient. SAP’s design team successfully helped elevate the rugged Wild Canyon Games to world-class status, despite the seemingly untamable terrain.
“We’re not just focused on back office systems, we’re looking at ways to improve people's lives, and I think this is one example of that.”– Ryan Hildenbrand