1. Fourty-two inspiring leaders who are shaping what’s next right now

2016 is our strongest lineup and we can’t wait to welcome everyone. We have some national superstars who are coming to Raleigh for their very first time. Here are a few of the lineup highlights:

Tina Roth Eisenberg - Founder of CreativeMornings, a breakfast lecture series for the creative community now hosted in 151 countries worldwide

Dan Heath - NY Times Bestselling Author of “Made to Stick”

Debbie Millman - Host, Design Matters Podcast and Chief of Marketing of Sterling Brands

Ekene Ijeoma - Featured in Adweek’s Creative 100 July issue as 1 of the 10 “visual artists whose imagination and intellect will inspire you!”

Alexa Clay - Designer and co-author “The Misfit Economy,” voted Best business books to read for 2015 by the UK’s leading paper, The Telegraph

Lawrence Scarpa - Founder and Principal, Brooks + Scarpa, honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award by AIA California Councilfor his work in sustainable buildings and affordable housing

See the full lineup and schedule

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2. Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane to give opening remarks

On Thursday morning, Sept 8, Mayor McFarlane will be kicking off the Design Festival in the Raleigh Convention Center.

3. Streamlining speakers with ‘talk bundles’

We’ve added ‘talk bundles’ to the schedule this year in addition to our traditional 40-minute keynotes. Each 90-minute bundle will feature 3 speakers x 20-minutes. At the end, all 3 speakers will return to the stage for a moderated discussion and to take questions from the audience. Our hope is to generate more dialogue and idea sharing between speakers and attendees.

4. 10 speakers in 50 minutes during the lightning rounds

We’ve invited 10 local leaders to give high-energy ‘lightning’ talks on Friday, Sept 9 at 3pm. They’ll share insights and inspiration for how to create Hope & Action in your life and how to see Fear & Failure from new perspectives.

Fear & Failure in CTK

    • Chris Alexander, Director of Exhibits, Marbles Kids Museum
    • Adrienne Brown, Innovation Advisor, RTI
    • Gail Roper, SE Regional Expansion Specialist, Google
    • Will Hardison, Founder, FanBase
    • Ana Maria Munoz, Founder, Port of Raleigh


Hope & Action in CAM

    • Joe Schram, Principal, Sparktivity
    • Joshua Gajownik, Designer, Creative Offices Of + The Assembly
    • Nikelle Orellana-Reyes, Graphic Designer and Florist, Wylde
    • Nick Hawthorne-Johnson and Rochelle Johnson, Founders, Cast Iron Group

5. Feed your curiosity with interactive workshops

Want to discuss ideas and understand more about your own interests? We’ve designed a few workshop experiences to give festival attendees a chance to feed their curiosity and hone their own skills.


    • IBM Design Thinking on Thursday with lunch provided by Happy and Hale
    • Virtual Reality Discovery with Mike Cuales and Arthur Earnest
    • Designing the Future of Discourse with David and Mary Sherwin
    • In the Studio with XPlane with Matt Morasky
    • Raleigh’s Union Station Walking Tour with NCDOT

6. Get a limited-edition, custom-designed Raleigh Denim Bag

Raleigh Denim Workshop collaborated with us to design a custom bag for all Design Festival attendees. We’re thrilled with how they turned out and can’t wait for everyone to rock them on the streets of Raleigh!

7. Taste ideas during the ‘Afternoon Snack Break’

We’ve teamed up with 4 of Raleigh’s coolest restaurants to create snacks inspired by the ideas of 2016 speakers. The snacks celebrate the amazing creativity in Raleigh’s culinary community and give attendees a chance to experience an idea from a new angle: your taste buds.

Collaborating chefs are Jesse Bardyn of Cafe Lucarne, Lon Bounsanga of Bida Manda, and Angela Salamanca of Centro and Boulted Bread.

Their snacks will be served in different Design Festival venues on Thursday, Sept 8 and Friday, Sept 9 during the “Afternoon Snack Break.”

8. Celebrate at the Commerce Place Day Party

Hopscotch Music and Hopscotch Design are throwing a day party on Commerce Place, located between Martin St. & Davie St. Design Festival. They’ll be 30+ vendors on the street as part of the Maker’s Market as well as booze, food, and music.

Friday, Sept. 9 – noon to 5:30 p.m.

Natural Causes (1:30), Daniel Bachman (2:30), Palm (3:30), See Gulls (4:30)

Saturday, Sept. 10 – noon to 5:30 p.m.

DJ Nick Neptune (12:30), Dirty Dub (1:30), Nervous Dupre (2:30), Stooges Brass Band (3:30), Kooley High (4:30)

9. Stay hydrated with your very own Bobble Infuse

Everyone is going to stay hydrated this year with their very own Bobble Infuse and water filling stations. We’ll also have a fruit infusion bar setup so you can give you water a little extra flavor!

10. Cold brew, thanks to Larry’s Coffee

Staying caffeinated is maybe even a little more important than being hydrated. Thanks to Larry’s Coffee, we’ll have cold brew for attendees!


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