Hasso-Plattner-Institut für Softwaresystemtechnik
Founder Hasso Plattner

Founder Hasso Plattner

"Dieses Institut hier in Potsdam ist mein Beitrag, um eine Ausbildung zu bieten für Studenten, die dann vielleicht anschließend etwas bewegen."

Hasso Plattner im StiftungsReport 2007. Lesen Sie hier das gesamte Gespräch (.pdf).

Hasso Plattner: Successfully Linking Science and Business

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Prof. Hasso Plattner (born January 21, 1944 in Berlin) has been successfully linking business and science for decades. He is known for his achievements as the co-founder of SAP AG – with its more than 66,000 employees worldwide – as well as for his social commitment, both of which endeavors are as exceptional as they are exemplary. The recipient of numerous awards, Plattner has recently been honored in the U.S. by the Churchill Club, which awarded him its 2012 Global Benefactor Award.

Platter, a native of Berlin, majored in communications engineering at the University of Karlsruhe and graduated with an advanced degree in engineering. In 1990, the University of Saarbrücken awarded Plattner an honorary doctorate. Four years later the university appointed him honorary professor of business information technology. In 1998 the University of Saarland gave him the title of honorary senator. Plattner is also a member of the Board of Trustees at Stanford University. Since 2002 he has held an honorary doctorate from the University of Potsdam, where he was granted an honorary professorship in 2004.

Plattner sees Potsdam, Brandenburg’s state capital, as “an ideal location for future-oriented research and teaching, not least because of the unique appeal of the Havelland region with its beautiful landscape and historic heritage.” The SAP co-founder and former chairman of the board made this statement when announcing the founding of the Hasso Plattner Institute of Software Systems Engineering (HPI) in the summer of 1998. Plattner has not only financed the HPI ever since, he has also made a personal commitment as head of the “Enterprise Platform and Integration Concepts” research and teaching department. His initiative has facilitated a number of groundbreaking innovations. The most recent example is HPI’s research into in-memory data management (a project Plattner personally oversaw) that led to the creation of HANA, a product of the SAP software corporation. In 2012, this technology received both the German Innovation Award and the Berlin-Brandenburg Innovation Award.

The promotion of future-oriented research, innovation and entrepreneurship is particularly important to HPI’s dedicated patron and founder. The HPI Research School was founded in 2005. This interdisciplinary doctoral program now has “branches” at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, at the Technion in Israel, and at Nanjing University in China. This was followed in 2010 by the establishment of the top-level research facility HPI Future SOC Lab.

In 2007, Plattner expanded the HPI with the addition of the HPI School of Design Thinking. This is where students in advanced stages of their studies can learn to develop innovative products and services within multidisciplinary teams. In the meantime, there is also a joint Design Thinking research program with leading U.S. university Stanford; in 2005, Plattner donated funding for the establishment of a Hasso Plattner Institute of Design Thinking there.

Also in 2005, Plattner increased his involvement in Potsdam by financing a business incubator and venture capital fund (Hasso Plattner Ventures, www.hp-ventures.com) to support young entrepreneurs in the IT sector. Three years later, working with business partner MAN Ferrostaal, he founded the venture capital fund Hasso Plattner Ventures Africa, which operates out of Cape Town. In spring 2011, Plattner announced the establishment of the group’s first innovation center in Potsdam. The SAP Innovation Center works closely with HPI.

In 2012, Plattner launched another educational innovation at HPI in Potsdam – a novel kind of social learning network. Via the online learning platform www.openhpi.de anyone in the world can participate in open, free-of-charge courses in information technology at HPI.

One founder, two foundations

In addition to the non-profit Hasso Plattner Foundation for Software Systems Engineering – the sponsor and sole owner of the Hasso Plattner Institute of Software Systems Engineering GmbH – Plattner has set up a further charitable foundation called the Hasso Plattner Förderstiftung gGmbH whose activities extend far beyond the realm of science and academia. For instance, it has made contributions to the University of Cape Town and the University of KwaZulu-Natal to support ongoing medical research on HIV/AIDS and to promote healthcare and health education as part of the Isisombululo Programme. The foundation has also provided support in the area of HIV/AIDS awareness to the Nelson Mandela Foundation, which was also the beneficiary of a charity concert organized by Plattner.

The Hasso Plattner Förderstiftung gGmbH also funds projects designed to help disadvantaged children and teenagers in South Africa – for example, in the areas of education, daycare and sports.

Among the foundation’s other noteworthy activities is its commitment to culture and the preservation of historic buildings and monuments. The foundation helped fund the rebuilding of the historic façade of Potsdam’s City Palace and the copper roof. The Brandenburg state parliament (Landtag) was able to move into the palace this January.

In 2012, Plattner announced plans to build an art gallery (Kunsthalle) to enrich the array of art on display in Potsdam (http://museum-barberini.com). The building, which will house Plattner’s collection of works by East German artists, should be completed in late 2016. The gallery will also present various international exhibitions and feature an educational program for children and young adults.

Past awards

In 2010, Plattner was awarded the AmCham Transatlantic Partnership Award in Berlin. In 2007, the Brandenburg state government honored him with its Order of Merit. In 2006, U.S. magazine Time named Plattner one of the "heroes" of the past 60 years. The Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities honored Plattner with the Leibniz Medal in 2005. That same year, popular German science magazine P.M. named him its Innovation Patron of the Year. In 2001, Plattner received the Federal Republic’s Order of Merit. Also in 2001, he topped Time Europe’s list of the most important and influential people in IT. After receiving the prestigious Information Technology Leadership Award for Global Integration in 1997, Plattner was granted a place in Manager magazine’s Hall of Fame the following year.