Design Indaba has announced that its annual design conference and event will not take place in February. Instead it will use 2021 to strategise for 2022, which will include planning and executing several Do Tank projects and working on Design Indaba Inside.

Design Indaba founder Ravi Naidoo explains, “It makes no sense whatsoever to cut and paste a pre-Covid model onto a post-Covid world. So, we’re taking the time to do some healthy exploration to generate a future model that can continue to usher in a better world through creativity, which is the very premise of Design Indaba.”

“It makes no sense whatsoever to cut and paste a pre-Covid model onto a post-Covid world.”

Naidoo adds that they did consider a virtual conference, but “we ultimately felt that it would dilute our experiential, theatrical event and we really did not want to reduce it to a series of talking heads on a screen”. He adds that webinar fatigue was also a factor; “We would not want to do anything in half measures or disappoint expectations – our own and that of our community.”

Do Tank is not a new Design Indaba concept. In the past it has driven over 200 upliftment projects which demonstrate the power of design to improve lives. Some examples of these include the Design Indaba 10 x 10 Housing Project, the Arch for the Arch, and involvement in developing the Zeitz MOCAA over a 10-year period. Naidoo adds that there are several long-term projects that his team plans to bring to fruition in 2021.

Ravi Naidoo
The new Design Indaba Inside offering has also recently been launched. These are tailored, stand-alone workshops that harness the power of the Design Indaba’s global network and take place within companies. The aim is to use these workshops to problem-solve specific issues that a company is dealing with and create bespoke solutions for them.

“We’re here to aid agencies and their corporate clients through the strategic advantages that we can bring to the table. We match specific Design Indaba Speakers’ expertise to the problem at hand, and then get that person or persons in the room with us, the agency and the company in question, inside that company,” says Naidoo. “Workshops are immersive, expansive and strategically curated to resolve business challenges. Sought-after design leaders are assembled to apply their creative minds to a business’s unique challenges, leading interactive insight sessions with the business team and its agency.”

Due to the intensity of these projects, Design Indaba will only be able to accommodate eight Design Indaba Inside events in 2021. “It’s like doing a mini-conference each month,” says Naidoo. “But we’re excited to bring our concept to external teams and companies in a way that upholds social distancing but also affects real positive change within organisations.”

Design Indaba’s other offerings will continue in 2021, which include a free weekly newsletter, regular YouTube videos, and an ongoing series of interviews with leading designers from around the world. Followers can look out for #DI2020 content which is being released on the Design Indaba’s YouTube channel.

To find out how to book a Design Indaba Inside workshop, please contact For more information, visit:

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