What makes this project special
As storytellers, we talk a lot about ‘connection’ — how stories build vital connections to ideas and to each other. However, despite the changes in storytelling over the past decade, it’s rare for us to talk about one very specific and important form of connection that many of us could not live without: an internet connection.
Lack of access to modern information and communication technologies, including reliable broadband and mobile connectivity, is one of the key drivers of continued social inequity and injustice. No longer a luxury, access to the internet and digital technology is a necessity in the modern world.
Otherwise known as the digital divide, this gap between the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ continues to create far-reaching impacts across the economy, education, health, gender equality, and social inequity, widening the gap between less economically developed and more economically developed countries, and between educated and uneducated, and rural and urban populations.
To bridge the digital divide, SAP’s Social Sabbatical program has instituted far-reaching and large-scale projects across the world to improve digital inclusion, among other critical business and social challenges.
The background – for those who want to dive a little deeper
10 years ago, world-leading software producer SAP envisioned a program that would bring their best to the world: the SAP Social Sabbatical. A portfolio of global pro-bono consulting programs, together with implementation partner PYXERA Global, the SAP Social Sabbatical enables employees to share their knowledge, skills and expertise with non-profits and social enterprises, delivering a ‘win-win-win’ for participants, organisations and the company alike in over 50 countries worldwide.
Following an extensive and transformative ‘story-driven’ process for strategic communication & visioning with the Digital Storytellers team in 2021, key stakeholders began to explore several of the rich storytelling themes to emerge from the program, including: Transformation, Empathy, Purpose, Diversity, Leadership, and Culture Change.
With a fervent desire to find ‘storified’ ways of showcasing the program’s long-term and sustainable impact, a team of SAP employees and social enterprise partners embarked on a global video production piece that focused on personal transformation, with the support and guidance of our senior producers and filmmakers.
Complementing their workshop and strategic storytelling processes the previous year, SAP wanted to use video production to:
- Tell the SAP Social Sabbatical impact story to a wider audience in the lead up to the program’s 10 year anniversary;
- Share the program’s key impact measures, including 6M+ lives impacted, 460+ jobs created, 450+ organisations supported, 359K+ hours volunteered, while making these results tangible and meaningful through individuals;
- Invite and excite new and existing audiences to ‘see for themselves’ the program’s immense track record, possibilities and opportunities to do good.
When you are sketching out the architecture of an impact story, often the most powerful stories are those that show (and tell) more than one side — e.g. a side of the participants or ‘helping hands’ and a side of those who benefit or ‘receiving hearts’.
While it is not always possible, in the case of SAP’s Social Sabbatical, the organisation’s willingness to experiment with impact and purpose-driven storytelling allowed us to engage both alumni of the program as well as NGO/social enterprise partners and showcase the many ways this program impacts lives throughout the world.
Using every network, relationship and connection at our disposal, Digital Storytellers producer Arpita built and coordinated a network of highly skilled creatives, local producers and cinematographers across the globe from Bogota to Mumbai. On a tight timeline, in the middle of a travel-restricted pandemic, this incredibly complex multi-country production is one of the most logistically challenging yet rewarding projects we’ve ever been part of.
- Series of pre-interviews: working with SAP employees and partners to plot and identify the myriad and intersecting ways in which the sabbatical experience has impacted each interviewee.
- Logistics and coordination: local producers and cinematographers, SAP interviewees and partners were lined up across timezones, and briefed ready for the shoot.
- Story gathering: interviews conducted on-site across the US, Colombia, India, and Argentina, often traversing difficult terrain and navigating unpredictable challenges ‘on the ground’.
- Synthesis and production: ensuring a consistent and engaging story throughout, footage was weaved together to create a 4:45 minute impact story. Want to take a look?