SAP opens new Berlin-area 'innovation centre'

With its new Potsdam building, the software behemoth hopes to tap into the area's universities and startups.

On Wednesday, SAP officially opened a new building for its 'innovation centre', in Potsdam, where it will continue to build research and development capacity for its software products.

With the Potsdam location — which is about 30km outside of Berlin — SAP is hoping to tap into the area's reputation for innovation: Berlin has dozens of universities and research centres, along with booming startup scene.

'Silicon Sanssouci'

Photo courtesy SAP

With its wide open spaces, varied seating options, a games room, and even a climbing wall, it is possible to mistake SAP's new building as an oversized version of one of Berlin's many startups, and perhaps SAP is counting on the atmosphere to lure young recruits to Potsdam.

But more than that, a startup-like agility has been one of the driving visions of the centre. "In Potsdam, we want to establish the typical flair and the agility of a young startup," Cafer Tosun, SVP of SAP's Labs, said when the company announced the creation of the centre back in 2011.

"Together with young talent, we aim to generate ideas for the solutions of tomorrow and to quickly bring the best concepts to product maturity," Tosun said.

At the time, the news release referred to the centre as 'Silicon Sanssouci', referencing Potsdam's Sanssouci palace, which was once Frederick the Great's summer home and is currently a tourist attraction.

Even though SAP's new building has just officially opened, the company has already been hard at work in Potsdam for the past few years.

For instance, a team at the centre has recently developed a tool called the Patient Data Explorer, a customisable platform that helps cancer centres filter patients by different attributes, such as previous treatment history or age.

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