|The SAP Community Expert Interview Series highlights key strategic topics, such as emerging technologies, learning, and other topics, and provides insights from industry experts and leaders on turning ideas into innovative approaches that impact people, process, and technology.|
Individuals and organizations are increasingly making decisions based on a commitment to purpose and social impact. The mission: positive change that benefits individuals, society, enterprises, and communities.
Low-code/no-code (LCNC) development tools let non-technical and technical designers address real world problems faster and more efficiently than ever before.
LCNC capabilities make it easier to extract insights and apply them to business or social impact challenges. What was once unattainable without advanced programming skills is now possible.
For Max Haining, founder of 100DaysOfNoCode, Tech for Good, Co-Founder of NoCode Kids, LCNC trainer, and social entrepreneur, he is on a mission to democratize software creation and connect talent (e.g., businesspeople, designers, developers) to social causes. Max and his team have a proven track record of delivering solutions as well as teaching LCNC creators how to deliver around their mission.
It was a thrill to catch-up with Max from his home in the Carshalton, England area to learn more.
Stephanie De Camara Marley (SM): Hi Max! Let’s take a step back… About 2 years ago you, in your own words, could barely use Microsoft Excel and Word. You were technically challenged. What was the epiphany that sparked you on your No-Code journey?
Max Haining (MH): I first stumbled on the concept of no-code when I came across an article by Ryan Hoover: “The Rise of No-Code.” Reading these insights was a turning point. It slowly dawned on me that I would be far less reliant on developers, my ideas would no longer get old in notebooks, and ultimately, no longer would I have to wait in order to bring my own ideas to life.
This was particularly pertinent for me, as a year prior, the “Airbnb for storage” startup I’d attempted to build at university failed. In part, due to the fact all our team (including myself) were non-technical, so we couldn’t iterate quickly enough to user feedback.
This is when I realized it was time to leverage the power of this emerging technology and finally overcome the technical barriers that had hampered me (& many of us) in the past.
SM: What inspired you to connect LCNC technology to social impact causes as a way to motivate no- and low-coders to learn how the tools work?
MH: For two reasons…
- Speed: No-code lets us develop digital solutions to real world problems faster than we ever have been able to before. Whether it’s creating apps to coordinate volunteering centers, connecting refugees to safehouses, or amplifying the search for missing people, it’s proven to be perfect for disaster relief and I’m excited to see how else we can leverage these tools for social impact.
- Low cost/flexibility: Often when responding to crises like the above, there are a lot of unknowns, so having the ability to iterate quickly in response to changing needs in an affordable way, is crucial.
SM: As non-technical users (aka Citizen Developers) get interested in Low-Code / No-Code (LCNC), it’s not always easy. What are the top 3 or so skills or techniques that can help a user accelerate towards success? When should a LCNC user determine they need help (e.g., too much programming required)?
MH: Whilst most people start with learning the tools, it’s best to take a blended approach and focus on grasping 3 key concepts that you can apply no matter what tool you’re using.
Otherwise, citizen developers will hit a wall – fast. That’s why we teach…
- Design fundamentals
Each of these components represent a key part of our curriculum.
SM: As the founder of the 100DaysOfNoCode Challenge, you once said that you are “on a mission to empower 1 million people to bring their own ideas to life with no-code.” What does this challenge entail? How has your Tech for Good program that connects no-code tech skills with social impact organizations helped users provide tangible impact.
MH: The #100DaysOfNoCode challenge is a simple but powerful *system* for learning. We want the challenge to become the “freeCode camp” of no code and be the onramp for anyone getting started.
It’s a habit fueled and structured way of learning to no-code. The combination of 3 powerful rules:
- Publicly commit
- Learn for at least 30 mins (everyday)
- Share your progress
With the addition of sharing and receiving daily bite-sized content makes it easier than ever for people to start leveraging these LCNC tools.
In our program, each day learners receive a daily email that features “explain like I’m 5” guides, which also include: tips, tricks, mini challenges, surprise rewards and shots of inspiration to fuel student learning every step of the way.
SM: The idea that Citizen Developers can build apps without coding is revolutionary. Looking into the future, LCNC can open up new possibilities for the entire digital workforce. What is your outlook? What are you most excited about going forward?
MH: No-code gives anyone the power to be a ‘creator,’ regardless of someone’s ability to pay for expensive and time-consuming coding education.
It gives businesses the ability to automate existing processes and streamline overall operations. It gives marketing teams the ability to create growth tools.
It also gives designers the ability to not only design, but to create working prototypes of the features they are designing to show to product managers.
And to keep the list going…it gives organizations the ability to test and build ‘experiments’ that they might not commonly take, but are now able to, as a way to rapidly iterate through their product roadmaps.
So, the future is bright!