Top design thinking events 2020
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Top design thinking events 2020

Design thinking

As interest in design thinking grows, so does the number of design thinking events. We’ve pulled together our pick of design and innovation conferences of 2020 from across the globe. Wherever you are in the world, there should will be something near you. If you want to hear the latest ideas and meet others working in this area, check these out.

What Design Can Do

Various locations and dates, previously in Amsterdam, Sao Paolo and Mexico City.

Our first design thinking event is What Design Can Do – an inspiring event, all about social change. They run several conferences each year around the world, alongside competitions to find game-changing solutions to global challenges. There are no dates listed for 2020 yet, but they usually hold a regular event in Amsterdam in May so check back at the website soon for information.

Future Festival

Various dates around the USA, plus Mexico City, Barcelona and London 

This festival focusses on the future as the name suggests. It’s an ‘immersive’ experience where you can learn about future trends, new technology and attend workshops and advisory sessions.

Design Thinking for Business Innovation Summit

6-7 Feb Barcelona, Spain

This relatively new event is aimed squarely at business. It explores how design thinking can help transform ‘technology, products, services, business models, processes and organisations’.

Design Indaba

Cape Town, South Africa – 26-28 February 2020 

Design Indaba is one of the big annual design gatherings and is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2020. It attracts international thought leaders, including a wide range of creative leaders as well as designers.

Design Thinking in Action

Feb/March 2020, Hong Kong

Design Thinking in Action (DTIA) is Asia’s first event for thought leaders, educators and practitioners in design thinking. A specific date hasn’t been published yet and it is invitation only.

Service Design in Government

4-6 March 2020, Edinburgh, Scotland

This regular event has been going for several years now and describes itself as ‘the original international community event for anyone involved in designing and commissioning public services.’

Fortune Brainstorm Design

25-26 March 2020, Singapore 

Fortune, the global media organisation, run a series of conferences around the world. This is their design event and brings together ‘FORTUNE 500 executives and the world’s preeminent designers to explore the crucial question of how to achieve business results through design’.

Design Thinking 2020 Series

Australia, America, Europe, Asia

These four events are aimed at design, CX and UX professionals and include hands-on learning workshops, site tours, and keynote presentations from major global players.

D&AD Festival

19-21 May 2020, London, UK

D&AD run the world-renowned annual awards for advertising and design and also host a festival each year. The focus in 2020 is on creativity and solving big challenges we all face, like tackling climate change and economic instability.

RGD DesignThinkers Conference 2020

26-27 May 2020 Vancouver and Nov 5-6 2020 Toronto, Canada 

This is Canada’s main conference for visual communicators and a ‘must attend for any informed, forward-thinking creative, communications or marketing professional or team’. 


1-4 June 2020, Bydgoszcz, Poland

Polishopa is the biggest get-together on design thinking in Poland. There are talks from experts and workshops, in English and Polish.

Adobe 99U Conference

June 3-5, New York, USA

This conference explores creativity as a whole not just Design Thinking. There are great presenters and workshops where you can ‘dive into a range of creative disciplines, frameworks, and trends’.

Design Thinking Camp

2-3 July 2020, Russia tbc

This conference hosts a range of talks and workshops and has previously been held in Bulgaria and Russia. The speakers are diverse and international. The talks are in English, with simultaneous translation in to Russian.

London Design Festival

12-20 September 2020, London, UK 

The London Design Festival is a popular annual event for many in the UK and beyond. It’s big, with a ‘record-breaking 600,000 individual visitors from over 75 countries’ in 2019. As well as a huge range of installations and exhibitions spread across London, you can hear from the latest design thought leaders at the Global Design Forum.

Design Thinking Forum

18-19 September, Bucharest, Bulgaria

This has been running for several years and is ‘the first Romanian conference entirely dedicated to design thinking’.

Design Thinking Conference

8-9 October 2020, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Arne van Oosterom, our friend and partner in Design Thinkers Academy in Amsterdam, set this conference up a few years ago. It’s high-energy and a sell-out every year. It’s aimed at those who are already using design thinking and want to expand and deepen their experience.

6th R&D Innovation, Design Thinking & Product Development Summit

16-18 October 2020, Boston, USA

As the name suggests, this conference is for those working in R&D, design and product development. The speakers are from big global corporations and there will be workshops and roundtable discussions.

Service Design Hong Kong

23-24 October 2020, Hong Kong

This is ‘Asia’s premier conference for innovators and change-makers’. It aims to be an immersive and fun experience.

Design Thinkers Academy London

Autumn, 2020

In Autumn we will be hosting our first ever, public Design Thinking Day. In the the lead up to COP26, the UN climate change conference, we will be hosting a Design Thinking Day looking at ‘ Systems of Innovation for Climate Action’. If you’re interested in finding out more about the event and getting updates for when the event goes live, please email:

This list shows the wide array of design thinking events that are going on around the world in the coming year. If you feel like you want to understand design thinking before going to event, please check out our design thinking courses, including our Design Thinkers Bootcamp which gives you all the tools and coaching to become an accomplished design thinker.