DesignUp Returns in 2019 and it ain’t (just) a Conference!

We're back in Bangalore Nov 12-16, 2019.

So what should you expect? What’s changing, what’s not? How do you register? Venue? Tracks? Scholarships? Here’s an overview of what’s in store and what’s changed.

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Submit a Talk/Workshop

In 2018, officially 1580 attendees (not counting gate-crashers, we know there were many) came to our multiple events – from our big conference in Bangalore to Pre-events in Chennai, Hyderabad and Singapore (here’s the recap video). Which makes DesignUp one of the largest Design events across South/East/West Asia, possibly with the exception of China. This year we opened our first full-format Asia conference in Singapore.

At our big event in Nov 2019 in Bangalore, we are likely to see over 1400 attendees and expect over 400 more in the ‘satellite’ events. But numbers or scale is not our key success criteria (although one number we are proud of is zero – zero disposable plastic bottles, cutlery at the 2018 Conference). Beyond a point, larger events become impersonal and faceless. We are cognizant of that and therefore some soul searching, some changes and new formats we’re planning to try out.

From a Conference to a Fest

This year we have additional days for Masterclasses, studio tours, salons and smaller focused meetups, roundtables and dinners – before and after the 2 conference days of 15-16th Nov. This year expect more activities in the run-up to the event – some spread across Bangalore, some curated by our partners – aimed at creating meaningful, deeper engagements with other attendees, companies and educational institutions. So, this year it is more than just a conference as it grows up into The DesignUpFest.

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Themes and tracks

As always the over-arching theme of DesignUp remains Design-In-Tech/Design-for-tech. At the DesignUpFest this year. we want to encourage even greater participation from Product Management, Data Sciences and Development.

While we are finalising our own list of invited speakers – the call for talks, speakers and workshop leaders should open by July 15th. We’ll be sharing the link to upload your proposals and the details via our site + all social media channels. Also expect shorter turn-around time this year.

The 4 broad themes we are focusing on for 2019 are: Master, Interweave, Unfold, and Plural. These will evolve, but we look forward to your submissions in one or more track categories.

  • Master aims to showcase case-studies, hacks, learnings and work from those who are steps ahead in the journey to mastering skills, processes, systems, methods—to influence outcomes, to create change, to make an impact.
  • Interweave is focused on the seams and overlaps between design-in-tech and multiple fields. The focus is to bring to light stories around how design (systems, services, thinking, interfaces) and tech can weave to co-create solutions with, and in, diverse fields – from music to fashion, finance, psychology, behavioural economics, medicine to conservation – and more.
  • Unfold is future focused – how do products/services emerge and get shaped – through individual visions and collaborative effort? How do we assess risks, visualise scenarios with greater clarity, define unintended consequences and stand forewarned? How do we speculate/ prototype products and services of the future?
  • Plural starts from where we left off last year with inclusion and participation – this year the focus is on assimilating diverse voices and under-represented perspectives. From challenging post-colonial narratives to addressing the asymmetries in resource, infrastructure, platform and data – which in turn can trigger disruptive projects, practices and organisations.

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The DesignUpFest Calendar

Here’s how we see the Fest (some details being worked out):

The Fest Venue

DesignUpFest will be held at The Lalit Bangalore – spread amidst 10.3 Acres of gardens, lawns and trees – many of which may have been around from the time when Don Norman was in high school. And it’s central – just a short walk away from iconic landmarks such as the Chitra Kala Parishath, National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), The Windsor Manor and The Bangalore Golf Club. We didn’t want to take our Bengaluru residents or guests to corners of our ever-expanding city (that’s an extreme sport). And yes, there’s ample parking and importantly it’s fully accessible.

Why Attend?

Over the years the number of reasons to attend DesignUp Conference has grown significantly – as have the number of attendees, repeat visitors, organisations represented and countries they come from. In 2018, attendees came from over 250 organisations (Consulting, Product, MNCs, Startups, Schools – from Adobe to Zomato) from 14 countries – more than doubling from 2017. With The DesignUpFest – the reasons to attend will also go up.
While a more detailed post is out soon – here’s what our speakers had to say about DesignUp 2018 – and a post by a student attendee, on why students should attend.

Registration (or tickets or passes)

This year we have done away with all the premium, superior, elitist stuff – there’s only one ticket type. Just serving up one egalitarian registration pass: TheConfy.

TheConfy gets you to the 2 days of Conference Talks, Keynotes, Exhibits, Lounges, Labs, Panels on Nov 15-16. Just that depending upon the time you buy – the cost may vary (rule of thumb: early = discounted).

Register Now!

And we have Add-ons!

Given that we have a different variety of formats, you add on things like Masterclass, Workshops, Designer’s Table, Studio-Tours, Tees, Books. It’s a pretty long list. You buy only what you want and if it interests you.

Remember, if you buy nothing, or zilch add-ons – The Confy still gets you to some of the most inspiring, actionable, mind-expanding mix of Design, Product and Tech content to be found East of Constantinople (or Istanbul). And of course great connections, great food.

To Recap

  • The Add-on costs don’t change over time and you can only buy them if you have bought TheConfy, your base pass!
  • Simply add nothing or anything you fancy. We don’t want to lock you in. Period.
  • The Add-ons go on sale by September, buy only what you see.

More on Passes/Registration/Tickets –

  • Birdwatching guide: We’re starting with Super Early Birds – it’s super discounted, and it’s limited. Then comes EarlyBirds and LaterBirds. The Add-on tickets have no time limited discounts – if they’re available, just add them up.
  • Student Tickets? Yes, we have those – same rules as previous years: you need to be a full time current student graduating in December 2019 or beyond. And you’d need your ID proof handy
  • Scholarships? We haven’t announced these yet – but we’re going to have them again! If your company is interested in supporting, please email
  • Other terms remain the same as the former years – tickets/passes are non-refundable but transferable. If you can’t find people to transfer to – we’ll connect you to folks who would want to buy. There are always many closer to the date.

Sponsors & Partners

A big shout-out to our friends who’ve supported across the years and this year promises a host of benefits for our partners. So if you’d like to be part of this growing community across Asia, please drop us an email at

More changes ahead!

Actually we do care about some numbers – usually it’s the number of desserts we serve to our attendees. 2018 was at 27 (woohoo). But we are also concerned about other numbers – HbA1C (or 1c) and other sugar scales – so we want to explore more healthy dessert options while cutting down the calories and all of the guilt.

And somethings don’t change!

Like the fact we are 100% volunteer driven, razor sharp focus on great content and of course our code of conduct. We take it pretty seriously. Here goes –

Our Code of Conduct:

  • We want DesignUp events, irrespective of how small or big they are — to be safe places for sharing and learning. We celebrate diversity and hope and expect thoughtful, considerate and respectful behaviour from all. And we believe you too share these beliefs.
  • Our code of conduct applies to every participant, speaker, sponsor and organiser. Speakers and workshop leaders set the tone for the event and are looked upto for the thought leadership they provide. So this may be a specially relevant place for another reminder.
  • We do not tolerate— Demeaning, offensive or derogatory verbal comments, content or depictions (e.g., related to religion, gender, sexual orientation, race, disability, country, ethnicity);
  • Inappropriate physical contact, verbal abuse, deliberate intimidation or stalking or recordings with an intent to harass.
  • We’re committed to providing a safe place for you to share learning, share inspiration—and to learn and be inspired. Violation of these may lead to attendees being expelled despite having a valid ticket/pass.

We look forward to seeing you at DesignUp 2019

About Us

DesignUp started with the idea of raising the design agenda within tech companies and tech-led businesses. To make tech, businesses, products and services thoughtful, human and humane, by Design.

DesignUp is volunteer-driven and community led. There are no full time salaried employees—we all have our day jobs. For us, DesignUp is a passion and unifying force.

Core Team

DesignUp’s core team includes Abhishu, Anindita, Baisam, Dharmesh, Jay, Lucky, Manu, Nikita, Nitesh, Narayan, Prabin, Saloni, Sima, Supriya & Tuhina.

Advisory Board

DesignUp Advisory board, constituted in 2018, has Katja Forbes, Vandana Abraham and V Shivakumar on the team.


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