Helsinki Conference 2024

1–2 October 2024

Helsinki, Finland

About the event

The conference will take place on Tuesday, 1, and Wednesday, 2 October 2024, in person at venues around Helsinki, Finland. The conference’s main theme is ‘Systems change and futures’. We are currently inviting International Design in Government community members to submit proposals for the conference programme. The deadline for our Call for Speakers is 09:00 pm (UTC) on Sunday, 16 June 2024.

Read our speaker guide

Call for speakers: Submit your proposal

Free registration

The Helsinki Conference 2024 is open and free to attend for any member of the International Design in Government community. Registration will be released in small batches starting on 13 May. As the seats for the sessions are limited, and to ensure that the conference is international and diverse, we have created different registration groups.

Register for free

Sold-out event? Join the waiting list to be informed of newly released ticket batches.

Remember that you don’t need to register for the conference if you are part of the organisation team.


Our Participant Experience team is working to make your visit to Helsinki as memorable as possible. As a participant, you will receive a digital guide with travel, accommodation and valuable tips for planning your stay in Finland.

We will also organise a social programme outside the official sessions and creative and rich experiences to get the most out of the conference

We have gathered more than 100 ideas from our community on how to make this conference the best conference ever, and we are working on it!

Remember that you can attend two conferences in the same week. We selected the date and location for this conference to enable participants to attend the Service Design Network’s global conference, which will take place in Helsinki, Finland, in the same week (3-4 October). 

Unfortunately, we can’t cover any travel expenses for participants, but if you need some tips on how to get sponsors, feel free to contact us by email.

Lastly, please read our Code of Conduct to understand the behaviour we expect from our participants and speakers during the conference.


The conference’s central theme is ‘Systems change and futures’. The theme was chosen based on a collaborative process with the community—we held a volunteer workshop and a global Call for Ideas.

Read about the results of the Call for Ideas

The conference will have some shared keynotes, and the rest of the programme will be organised in parallel sessions. We will also host a Dinner & Stories to reflect on the 10-year journey of design in/for government, together with Aalto University’s Design for Government programme.


Systems change and futures

How might we work across organisational boundaries and address complex systemic challenges? And how might we design for a proactive government and support emerging futures thinking in government?

We want to bridge the gap between the practice of designing services and policies in government and the ideas of systems change and futures. We set out to discover best practices and case studies of breaking silos and zooming out.

Designers in government are working more across organisational boundaries, instead of within one organisation or for discrete problems and incremental change in services. User needs cross sectors and organisations. In order to deliver end-to-end journeys, we need to work with several teams, units, organisations and even beyond government - with volunteer organisations and the private sector. We are zooming out to take a holistic perspective of strategic challenges, policy outcomes and missions that require a systems-level change.

After a decade of active designing in government, the role of design and designers is changing. Our contexts are filled with political, economic and security uncertainties, climate change and new technologies. We are faced with short-termism and cutting costs while promoting long-term thinking and imagining inclusive and diverse futures. At the conference, we look for experiments and critical thinking pushing the boundaries around futures.


We will announce the full programme in August and organise an informal social programme for participants arriving on Monday, September 30.

October 1
Day 1

09:00 Registration
10:00 Start and Keynote speakers
12:00 Lunch
13:05 1st session
13:50 Break
14:05 2nd session
14:50 Break
15:05 3rd Session
15:50 Close
16:00 Finish
18:00 Dinner & stories: 10 years of design in/for government

October 2
Day 2

09:00 Registration
09:15 1st session
10:00 Break
10:15 2nd session
11:00 Break
11:15 3rd session
12:00 Lunch / travel time
13:30 Seminar with the City of Helsinki
15:30 Closing remarks
16:00 Finish
17:30 SDN Welcome drinks*
19:00 Independent dinner groups

*The Service Design Network’s global conference will also take place in Helsinki, Finland, from 2 to 4 October. The Welcome drinks are aimed at participants attending the SDN conference.

About the community

The International Design in Government community is a group of design-minded people from governments all over the world. The purpose is to learn from each other, share best practice and design patterns, and discuss shared challenges so that we can try and work on them together.

If you work in government and you’d like to join the community, the conference and monthly calls, you can apply to join the Slack group.

The community is open to designers, user researchers, content designers, accessibility experts and other design-minded people. In order to join, you must be working embedded in government at any level: national, state or city — this includes consultancies that contract solely for government.

Email the community management team if you have any questions.