Crossing the World on Bike to improve User Experience and Education

Discussion Forum Design & UX Crossing the World on Bike to improve User Experience and Education
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SAP is the prime sponsor of “Share the Knowledge Tour” and is arranging tour stops at SAP University Alliances member universities and at SAP Offices. The tour was kicked off at the SAPPHIRE conference in Orlando by Sam Yen, Global Head of Design and User Experience at SAP, Ann Rosenberg, Global Head of SAP University Alliances, and by the Interaction Design Foundation’s (IDF) founders Mads Soegaard and Rikke Friis Dam.

After the kick-off, one person, Max Peer, set out to bike the entire way around the globe on his 200kg / 440lb heavy bike. Yes, that’s a lot of weight! Max has dedicated four years of his life to tour the world and every day of those 1,460 days he will be transporting a foldable canoe, trailer, tent as well as solar panels to power his laptop, cameras, SAP technology and GPS.

Max is touring the world to promote SAP’s commitment to User Experience and to promote the free educational resources available from Interaction Design Foundation (IDF). The IDF is a non-profit organization focused on educating the global technology design community through publishing free top-grade educational materials on User Experience and Design Thinking.

The tour bears the name “Share the Knowledge Tour” since it aims promote not only User Experience and Design Thinking but also promote equal and free access to education. The IDF is of course not the only organization to give top-grade educational materials away for free: Other examples include the new openSAP initiative (featured prominently on the tour), SAP University Alliances (doing an enormous amount  of the work around the tour) as well as the openHPI courses from the Hasso Plattner institute. It seems that SAP is both embracing and leveraging ”the power of free” and this makes perfect business sense: There is no opposition between ”doing good” and ”doing business.”


Kick off at SAPPHIRE NOW in Orlando, May 16th

Photo taken at the SAPPHIRE conference in Orlando. In the picture: The Interaction Design Foundation’s founders Mads Soegaard and Rikke Friis Dam with Global Head of SAP University Alliances, Ann Rosenberg and Max Peer, the intrepid biker.

At the kick-off Sam Yen, Global Head of Design and User Experience at SAP shared SAP’s vision on UX and how it aligns with the tour. “As people use mobile devices as part of everyday life they are getting used to the speed and simplicity of using Facebook, Google and Amazon. This experience raises the bar for business software as users demand a similar simple, pleasurable, and productive experience from SAP’s solutions. It is SAP’s vision to provide the leading user experience for business applications by delivering attractive applications that make people successful at work. “Share the Knowledge Tour” is part of this vision because it is all about sharing the knowledge on how to build and design attractive and productive software”, Sam Yen explained.

Ann Rosenberg underscored how SAP University Alliances supports universities in building the talent needed by SAP, customers and partners. “This tour bears the slogan “Share the Knowledge Tour” insupport of the higher education environment of the future where “Learn, Apply, and Share” is crucial and where the goal of the innovation portfolio of SAP is to enable students, faculty members, leading global brands, and industry participants to collaborate with SAP in creating a new digital, integrated and delightful consumer experience. It is in this environment that the new SAP Ecosystem will be created and students and universities will be one of the key channels for innovation within – and together with – the SAP Ecosystem,” said Ann Rosenberg.

At the SAPPHIRE conference, Angela Dunn from SAP Global Communication shot some short videos including like this one where Ann Rosenberg and Rikke Friis Dam talk about SAP and IDF’s joint efforts. The video is a part of Angela’s superb article on SCN on “Mad Max’s Bike Adventures”.



Sharing Knowledge Works

The tour has become a very concrete symbol of SAP’s strategy to touch the lives of 1 billion people/end users.  During the first leg of the tour, Max is biking and canoeing more than 6,000 miles in six months across North America, ending in California in November. Every week Max visits universities and SAP offices to share his story with professors, students, SAP employees, and local communities.

So far, Max has been on the road for one month which means that 47 months are waiting ahead of him. During the first month Max has been warmly welcomed at Georgia Southern University, North Carolina A&T State University, Virginia Commonwealth University and Towson University – having major local print and broadcast media coverage at each university coupled with solid reviews from attendees.


Visiting SAP America, Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, June 20th

On Max’s 5th stop nearly 100 students, professors, and SAP employees welcomed Max Peer as he arrived at Newtown Square. Students and professors representing Colby College, Drexel University, Duke University, Pennsylvania State University, Rowan University, University of Colorado at Boulder, University of Delaware, University of Notre Dame, Villanova University, and Widener University, as well as SAP executives and employees welcomed Max.

SAP Newtown Square hosted a full day Design Thinking Jam for the attendees prior to Max’s arrival.


Greg McStravick, President SAP US welcomed Max to Newtown Square. Inside in the auditorium Greg welcomed the audience of students, professors, and SAP employees. “One of the things that makes SAP an amazing company to be a part of is our culture of giving back and supporting causes that make a difference in the communities where we live and work. SAP is proud to sponsor Interaction Design Foundation and Max’s tour to promote awareness and use of the Design Thinking resources available through IDF.”

Greg continued, “Education is the single most powerful way to lift people out of poverty and change lives, and SAP has partnered with the Interaction Design Foundation (IDF), an organization that provides free text books and online education materials created by leading academics and practitioners of software design, to help make a difference.” Greg thanked Max and IDF for making it possible for professors, students, and the SAP ecosystem to benefit from IDF’s free educational resources on improving technology design.


Ann Rosenberg congratulated Max on his arrival at SAP Newtown Square, completing the first 1,000 miles of his upcoming 35,000 mile journey. “SAP shares Max’s and IDF’s passion for simplified design to provide a new digital, integrated and delightful consumer experience to our customers and their customers; as well as sustainability, co-innovation, and giving back to the community. That’s why we’re partnering to help Max get his message heard across North America”, Ann shared.

A weekly stop at a university – North Carolina A&T State University

Every week Max visits a new university. At each stop students, professors, local SAP employees and SAP “campus ambassadors” meet Max and learn about open access to quality educational materials from Interaction Design Foundation and openSAP.

Take for instance Max’ second stop where70 students and professors from North Carolina A&T State University (NCAT) along with Greensboro, North Carolina community members and SAP, welcomed Max Peer.


At every stop Max is sharing his and IDF’s overall vision; that we need a more sustainable world and that it is achievable through education At each stop Max also offers students and professors a membership to IDF’s Professional Association which enables students and designers to receive mentoring and share their resumes among members of the IDF community, enhancing their career opportunities. Max also introduced the audience to SAP’s Massive Open Online Courses available for free through openSAP, starting with the SAP HANA Developer course.


Students and professors cheered Max’s arrival and saw his cutting edge touring technology.


At NCAT, Barbara Ellis, Vice Chancellor for Information Technology/Chief Information Officer welcomed the audience and thanked Max, IDF, and SAP for making it possible for NCAT professors and students to benefit from IDF’s free educational resources on improving technology design. And Linda Coley, School of Business and Economics, spoke about Technology and NCAT Students. She also shared that NCAT has been a member of SAP University Alliances since 2012, integrating SAP software and hands-on curriculum to improve students’ academic and career outcomes. NCAT professors are on the forefront of integrating SAP’s innovation platform, which includes including analytics, enterprise mobility, and SAP HANA offerings, into NCAT courses. Students “Learn, Apply, and Share” their knowledge, including engaging in co-innovation events.


At each stop there is a SAP representative present to welcome Max on behalf of SAP. At the second stop it was Dion Graham.


Mayor Ronnie Perkins welcomed Max to Greensboro, North Carolina.


After the presentations at NCAT, Max was interviewed by the NCAT radio station.


Students and professors signed up for free membership in Interaction Design Foundation’s professionals association. All SAP employees can also get a free membership at


Thank you all!

A huge thank you goes out to everybody envolved in the tour. Unversites, students, faculty members, SAP University Alliances, SAP executives, developers and designers, local majors as well journalists and bloggers. We cannot thank you enough.


More info on the tour

You can follow Max’s adventure online at SAP University Alliances SCN blog  as well as on IDF’s tour website, since Max is equipped with SAP technology, solar panels, live GPS feed, mobile data up-link, etc.

Some of the content and pictures in this blog post has been kindly borrowed from (the fantastic) John Baxter from SAP University Alliances, who makesall the arrangements to make each tour stop a success in collaboration with the dedicated team at SAP University Alliances.  You can find blog posts by John Baxter and the University Alliance blog at:

Christine Johnson who is Senior Director, Strategic Partnerships at SAP has written an excellent post on SCN: Max Cycles and Canoes across North America in the name of Education


About The Interaction Design Foundation

The Interaction Design Foundation – the IDF – is a ten year old transformative non-profit enterprise focused on educating, informing and stimulating the global design community. The organization has created a powerful cloud based publishing model, blending free video material and textbooks with an immersive web site and social media presence for thought leaders, students, authors, academia, and design professionals.

IDF provides anytime/anywhere “absolutely free” access to original educational materials developed in collaboration with top tier Universities, Companies, Authors and Thought Leaders from Stanford, Cambridge, Harvard, MIT, SAP Labs, IBM Research, and such noted authors as: Clayton Christensen, Don Norman, Alan Dix, Steve Mann, Eric von Hippel and Tom Erickson.

Each day tens of thousands of students and professional designers of all kinds (product design, User Experience, software development, visual design, graphics) access and engage with IDF’s curated content in the form of courses, interactive text and video, TV channel, membership forums and global design events. The high-growth ten year old non-profit has been self-financed from day one, recently supported by a corporate sponsorship from SAP.


Free Educational Resources:

Share the Knowledge Tour:





Hashtags: #maxontour  #ShareTheTour  #SAP_UA  #DesignIsEverything 

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