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Travels to Germany: My Visit to the Apphaus Heidelberg, Walldorf, and Design Thinking for Product Strategy

With nearly two years since my last international business trip, I decided it was time to Apphausget out there and spend time with some of Mindset’s key product leaders at Apphaus Heidelberg! So many things have changed in this time, including opening two offices in India, one in Denver, bringing in brilliant new leaders, more than doubling our revenue and headcount, and of course the SAP and technology landscape has introduced BTP which is at the center of our platform strengths.

The core value at Mindset has always been User Experience. Over time we have added different products and methods to achieve transformational goals — some have worked, others are still a work in progress. Our goal of this meetup is to design our future.

On top of all of that, many of our key leaders have never met in person. Together we had Adam Anderson in from Denver, Jon Bragg in from Park City, Paru Sankar in from Bangalore, and Ethan Jewett and Me in from Minneapolis. We were also extremely excited to meetup with Birgit, and Kathrin who so generously hosted us. Big thanks also to the whole Apphaus Team. And finally to those who joined us for lunches and dinners and other tours, I genuinely appreciate and enjoyed each of these Oliver Lehmann (jealous of your trip to Black Forest!), Bert Schulze, and Bill Bowers, among many other kind and generous people that helped us out.

Here’s how the week went

Airlines are still confused. Last second flight delays, equipment changesfor many of us. but Delta business class is still pretty nice!


Jon Bragg and I find each other at the airport and manage to mix up our transportation at least twice. It’s still pretty fun to go this fast (yes, I’m sure others have gone faster!)


We manage to find the first of MANY schnitzel places (most of which have some delicious bier or riesling). 

Jonathan Bragg

I met up with Paru, Oliver Lehmann and Jon Bragg for dinner in Heidelberg. We have some fantastic conversations on the future of UX strategy and Mindset’s position in the marketplace.

The next morning Jon Bragg (head of software at Mindset) and I took a 2 hour hike on the Philosophenweg, with incredible views. We ideate on the role of IP in product strategy and come away with some remarkable new focus to bring into our workshop.

Later we arrive at the AppHaus in Heidelberg and meetup with the rest of the team.

The workshop began with a dig into data. We pulled sales, NPS, issue lists, backlogs, customer feedback, and employee survey results (way too complicated, sorry) that had some very honest inputs.

This data was pulled into a SWOT analysis. We spent the afternoon gathering themes, sharing perspectives and honestly debating openly all of the data.

Jonathan Bragg

The stage is now set for the week. I always like day 1 in a workshop to truly embrace and understand the root cause of any issues. We left with a genuine agreement on where to start. Further, I will share that the #1 item was focus — focus on Experience.

Okay, so time for some team building now! Employee Experience drives the full Experience Cycle.  One of my favorite parts of this trip is the commute. I enjoy the back and forth to hotels, meetings, restaurants, and the hotel. Walking in Heidelberg is an absolute enjoyment. But this is more fun!

And time for more Schnitzel! (This time from Schnitzelbank — my favorite of the trip).


As the week progressed we used Design Thinking sessions in the AppHaus to dig into this root issue (focus), ideate and prototype several solutions. Being in person we were able to very openly communicate and discuss some delicate issues. I couldn’t be more pleased with both the process and the outcomes which I’ll share here in the coming weeks.

Everyone continuously embraced many new Employee Experiences. This includes the often draining DT sessions: Inspiration by the AppHaus SAP Team, sightseeing on the River Neckar to the four castles, collaboration sessions with SAP leaders in Walldorf (what a nice lunch!), and many meals with long distant colleagues. 

Also, we can’t forget Customer Experience. We were lucky enough to spend an afternoon with one of our favorite customers Wolfram Wellenhofer   tasting wines on the Weinstraße (Wine Road). It’s pretty hard to do that over Zoom… I know, this can be tough work! 


While I’m heading home now, I can’t wait to build the next set of Employee Experiences. Hopefully, it inspires the team to carry that forward by building incredible Customer Experiences on SAP BTP. 



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