Adobe CTO Abhay Parasnis makes Fast Company’s “Most Creative People in Business” list

by Adobe Communications Team

posted on 08-04-2020

Abhay Parasnis is quick to credit others for the many innovative ideas that arise at Adobe, where he is chief technology officer and executive vice president of strategy and growth. Just as Adobe founders John Warnock and Chuck Geschke said from the company’s start, Parasnis believes great ideas come from everywhere.

But now it’s time to turn the spotlight squarely on Parasnis, who has been named to Fast Company’s 11th annual list of the “Most Creative People in Business.” This list honors individuals spanning global industries “who used their innovative thinking to make an impact on the world beyond financial success” and “created something new this year within their field that’s never been done before in their industries.”

Parasnis is celebrated on the list category of “finding new (and sometimes better) uses for things,” including applying ever more sophisticated AI to new challenges. Fast Company cites that his team created a video version of Photoshop’s crowd-pleasing Content-Aware Fill feature, and that Parasnis is responsible for taking the company into entirely new creative territory via products such as Adobe Aero.

Adobe has been named by Fast Company as one of the “Most Innovative Companies” over the past three years for its work in augmented reality (AR), artificial intelligence (AI), and design. “Innovation is the lifeblood of every company, and at Adobe we’ve continuously and successfully innovated for nearly 40 years. The blending of art and science is deeply embedded in our DNA, and it drives us all every day to innovate,” Parasnis says.

In his dual role, Parasnis is charged with setting and driving the vision, technology strategy, and overall product engineering and data science agenda across Adobe’s entire portfolio – in addition to guiding overall corporate strategy, strategic M&A, and global partnerships for Adobe.

Among his many standout initiatives in 2019 was the introduction of Adobe Photoshop Camera, a free, AI-powered camera app – leveraging Adobe Sensei – that brings the magic of Photoshop directly to the point of capture on iOS and Android smartphones with a series of curated “lenses.” Since officially launching in mid-June 2020, the app has seen widespread adoption around the globe with more than 2.45 million app downloads within the first 45 days.

“We are committed to investing in accessible tools like Photoshop Camera built for the next generation of consumers and creatives,” said Parasnis in a blog post when the app was previewed last fall. “Innovation and pushing the limits of creative expression is something we have always focused on. Photoshop Camera is a great example of our work to democratize creativity for all.”

His vision of creative democratization can also be seen in the 2019 launches of Adobe Aero, a mobile iOS app that lets designers build immersive experiences using augmented reality without coding know-how, as well as the first version of a reimagined Photoshop for the iPad.

Parasnis also oversees Adobe Research, a team of world-class research scientists, engineers, artists, and designers who blend cutting-edge academic discovery with industry impact. The team shapes early-stage ideas into innovative technologies, with many of its discoveries incorporated into Adobe’s products. Adobe Research is committed to helping the company foster new forms of creativity and positions Adobe as a pioneer in content and data intelligence.

Photo 1: Head of Adobe research Gavin Miller (seated) and research scientist TJ Rhodes explore a portable and reconfigurable light stage for photography to capture high-resolution, 3D facial expressions. Photo 2 (from left to right): Adobe researchers Nedim Lipka, Jennifer Healey, Eunyee Koh, Fan Du, and Sana Malik collaborate on a new project.

And that’s why we are also excited that Fast Company recently named Adobe Research as an “Innovative Team of the Year” on its inaugural list within its annual

“Best Workplaces for Innovators” program (which received more than 850 submissions). In all, 21 teams were chosen for “encouraging innovation at all levels” and “whose creativity and passion have driven major breakthroughs for the company.”

Some of Adobe Research’s recent tech explorations that became incorporated into Adobe’s creative tools and leverage Adobe Sensei’s AI technology include Adobe Fresco, a free app delivering a natural painting and drawing experience; Select Subject and Object Selection features in Adobe Photoshop, which automatically identify and select various objects to optimize an image; and Content Aware Fill for video in Adobe After Effects, which allows for the automatic removal of unwanted objects in videos. Also of note, more than half of the technology patents filed by Adobe Research last year included an intern as an inventor.

“Our belief is that great ideas come from everywhere within the company,” Parasnis says. “Innovation is about investing in people and arming them with what they need to be successful.”

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Topics: Insights, Leadership, Employee Impact, Adobe Life, News

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