What started in 2015 as a pilot with two SAP Design Talks in Walldorf and one in Bangalore, evolved into something of an institution in 2016. Initiated by the Design Whizzes, the SAP Design Talks aim to bring design inspiration and fresh ideas into our company. According to Christian Stark, Design Whizz and founding member of the Talks, “We recognized that there was a lot of interest in design at SAP, but not every employee can or would attend a design conference. So we began a journey to bring interesting and inspiring people from the world of design to us and share their insights.”

In 2016, ten speakers – many from some of the most influential brands in the world – have come to SAP to share their perspectives on design with us. These talks are not about making things pretty but instead about the whole experience we all have with products. SAP employees can attend the sessions in person in Walldorf, Bangalore, Montreal, Budapest, or wherever the next talks take place.

Behind the scenes

A big hand to the folks that work to bring the Design Talks to SAP! A cross-organizational core group meets weekly to plan and organize the events: Christian Stark and Simon Stolz (event and speaker coordination), Timo Bess (visual design), Natalie Hauck, Alexander Januschke and Thomas Leonhardi (video production), Anette Bauer (controlling), and Esther Blankenship (communications). The talks are also supported by many helpful and talented folks around the time of the event, for example, Norbert Steinhauser (photography), Christiane Kubach and Stephanie Frick (communications) and many more. Like many so good things, the talks require some financing (stage set-up, light and sound technicians, video recordings, posters, travel expenses for speakers, and so forth). So an additional round of applause for Christoph Behrendt, SVP Industry and Application Innovation, and Maricel Cabahug, SVP Global Design, our executive sponsors!

Ten speakers, many thanks

Enough praise for ourselves, the biggest applause goes to our speakers for taking the time to talk to us! In order of most recent appearance, many thanks to:

  • Marshall Strabala, Chief Architect, Shanghai Tower
  • Kamal Sagar, Chief Architect, Designer and Founder of Total Environment – located in Bangalore, India
  • Sandra Nieves, Team Lead User Experience at Blue Yonder GmbH – located in Karlsruhe, Germany
  • Liao Junhao, Senior Art Director, Ubisoft – located in Shanghai, China
  • Boris Verkhovsky, Director of Performance Design, Cirque du Soleil – located in Montreal, Canada (more about Boris’s talk)
  • Karim Habib, Head of Design, BMW Automobiles – located in Munich, Germany (more about Karim’s talk)
  • Ben Wilson, Industrial Designer, Braun – located in Kronberg, Germany
  • Phil Gilbert, General Manager, IBM Design – located in Austin, Texas (more about Phil’s talk)
  • Greg Petroff, User Experience Officer, GE – located in Silicon Valley, California (more about Greg’s talk)
  • Gesche Joost, Professor for Design Research, Head of the Design Research Lab and member of the SAP Supervisory Board – located in Berlin, Germany (more about Gesche’s talk)



The good news is that we will continue to bring interesting speakers and inspiration to SAP in 2017.


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