Sam Yen

Sam is now the chief design officer at SAP, but growing up in San Francisco he wanted to be an astronaut. Reality set in when he had to get glasses, but Sam’s passion for space continued through his formal education. He received Aerospace degrees from Cornell and Stanford (MS), and worked at NASA Ames Research Center and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. While at Stanford, Sam took a course on design thinking that changed his life. He switched departments and completed a PhD in Design Theory and Methodology, focusing on successful practices of innovation teams, then went on to found his own enterprise software company. In 2004, SAP founder Hasso Plattner met David Kelley, founder of IDEO and the Hasso wanted to introduce and accelerate design thinking at SAP, and Sam was brought in as one of the first external members of the team. He went on to found the SAP AppHaus, an innovation group that builds highly-desirable experiences to enrich the way people work and live. Sam is married and has two kids, and is a longtime collaborator with the He brings deep experience in spreading design thinking to individuals, teams and organizations, and will continue this mission as a fellow.