A Mindset of Perpetual Exploration: Arin Bhowmick, EVP and Chief Design Officer at SAP, on Design

Membership

Arin Bhowmick finds inspiration in the small things: the unnoticed subtleties and quiet elegance of creative expression. 

“The joy derived from a well-executed micro-interaction, the effortless motion of a precisely balanced door handle or the seamless automation of a car door as it greets its owner are testaments to the profound influence that meticulous design can exert on our daily lives,” he says. “These fleeting instances of satisfaction are powerful reminders of the significance that even the most minute design elements can have in elevating human experiences.”

In addition to his fascination with a product’s aesthetic appeal, he is inspired by the hidden intricacies that define that product’s essence. “The understated patterns, nuanced textures and ingeniously integrated features embody the commitment and skill of the designer” and serve as an impetus for Bhowmick to seek ways to imbue user experiences with unexpected moments of delight through a steadfast dedication to detail.

Design rooted in empathy drives innovation

As EVP, Chief Design Officer at SAP, Bhowmick is also drawn to designs that transcend “mere visual pleasure” and address a user’s needs and aspirations. Solutions that tackle real-world challenges, he says, enhance quality of life and foster connections. “Designs rooted in empathy and inclusivity push me to explore the limits of innovation. Whether it’s a product championing sustainability, an application that demystifies complex processes or a service that broadens accessibility,” he says.

Further, his passion for continuous learning is invigorated by the unbridled creativity and fresh outlook of emerging designers in the field. “Their fearless approach to problem-solving and readiness to question the status quo injects vitality into the design community, prompting me to adopt a mindset of perpetual exploration in meeting design challenges,” Bhowmick says.

Appreciating the effort of design

He’s also incredibly inspired by children and the imaginative prowess with which they harness technology to forge new pathways of creation. “Observing their fearless engagement with coding, robotics and digital artistry emboldens me to pursue experimentation and adopt a more expansive view of technological possibilities. Their enthusiasm serves as a reminder of the importance of maintaining curiosity, flexibility and an open mind in the ever-evolving landscape of design,” he says.

The most gratifying part of his work is the feedback he receives from customers who recognize and value the effort invested in a design. “Their appreciation and the positive impact that a well-crafted product or experience can have on their lives reaffirm my conviction that design holds the power to affect meaningful change. Such interactions fuel my commitment to excellence and guide my every design decision, anchored in the unwavering intent to generate value and enrich the user's journey,” he says.

Stay tuned

In his next article, Arin will discuss how design leadership is driven by our belief systems.

About

Arin Bhowmick

With over two decades of unparalleled expertise, Arin is a titan in the field of design leadership, especially within the enterprise software arena. As SAP’s Chief Design Officer, Arin currently leads a 1,000+ person design community at the world’s third-largest publicly traded software company by revenue, and oversees global design strategy across SAP’s vast array of products and services. In addition to his duties as Chief Design Officer, Arin also sits on SAP’s Innovation Steering Committee. Here, he plays a pivotal role in shaping the company’s future through design considerations, reinforcing design’s integral function in driving enterprise-wide decisions. 

Before joining SAP, Arin spent six years at IBM as their Chief Design Officer for IBM Products, a tenure marked by over 60 international Design and Innovation awards. The impact of his work at IBM was acknowledged in a 2021 Harvard Business School case study. Arin’s career began at Oracle, where he eventually served as Senior Director of Cloud Applications and User Experience across his 13 year journey, setting the stage for his future leadership roles. Arin is not merely a design leader; he’s a craftsman who takes deep-rooted pride in simplifying complexity through the medium of design and technology to drive business and user outcomes. His design philosophy is underscored by the ownership of over 15 design patents.