Speaking at the 2024 DesignOps Summit

A note from the curation team

We’re looking to grow and advance Design Operations—as a practice, as a profession, as a function—and we need you to help us do that. So we’re thrilled you’re considering proposing a talk or workshop!

You’ll find a lot of guidance below that’s intended to help you submit the best proposal possible. Above all else, we’re looking for transformational case studies, provocative critiques, and galvanizing calls to action. And we want to hear from new voices, underrepresented voices, and voices from the future of our field.

—Bria Alexander and Jon Fukuda, DesignOps Summit 2024 conference curators

To help you contextualize and inspire the thinking behind your proposal, we’ve pulled together a variety of resources that were created at a DesignOps community workshop we recently hosted to chart the practice’s future directions. Watch the recording, read the article that summarizes the discussion, and check out the canvas where the community captured its ideas and inspirations.

Instructions and Deadlines

  • Review the Proposal Guidelines, Speaker Expectations, and Tips for a Successful Proposal below, as well as Rosenfeld’s Code of Conduct
  • Review examples of past DesignOps Summit programs (be sure to read the session descriptions)
  • Submit your proposal and presenter information by EOD, May 5, 2024; we will need each presenter’s information by that deadline
  • We will notify you of your proposal’s acceptance status as soon as possible via email. The conference takes place virtually September 23-25, 2024

Questions? Please contact designops@rosenfeldmedia.com.

Proposal Guidelines

Who is this conference for

Our attendees tend to be mid- to senior-level DesignOps people employed just about anywhere: in enterprises large and small, consumer-facing companies, and the public sector. Some of our attendees are just beginning to explore DesignOps, but they’re hungry for substantive content and conversation. Please err toward your most advanced material; challenge us, practically, intellectually, and culturally.

Who should apply

It doesn’t matter if you’re an industry veteran or if this is your first time speaking—we’re keen to hear from speakers who have an interesting story to tell which they feel will help to push our profession forward.

Also, we highly encourage speakers from underrepresented groups to submit a proposal. We won’t advance Design Operations by sticking with the status quo. We seek speakers from marginalized groups to bring their unique perspectives to the DesignOps Summit.

This year’s conference themes

We’re just beginning researching the themes for this year’s conference, so if you have an idea for a talk, please don’t feel constrained by adhering to any particular theme. But if you’d like some ideas of what we’re looking for, here are some of the trends we’ve been considering:

  • Tooling to support UX design, research, writing, and managing
  • Managing UX practitioners through times of crisis and disruption
  • DesignOps to support design systems
  • Ethical considerations for DesignOps practitioners
  • Ensuring a diverse workforce
  • Partnering with Corporate Responsibility (accessibility, inclusion, sustainability)
  • Leading and scaling DesignOps organizations
  • Adapting AI and other new technologies for use in DesignOps
  • Lean resources for DesignOps practitioners
  • Defining/standardizing DesignOps vocabulary, frameworks, metrics
  • Defining/standardizing DesignOps career paths

Speaker Expectations

If your presentation is selected by our curation committee, you’ll be expected to:

  • Fully participate in our speaker preparation process: Over the course of the two to three months prior to the conference, our speakers meet in cohorts with conference curators and a professional speaker coach to iteratively develop and rehearse their presentations. Expect to spend 10-15 hours in group meetings, rehearsals, and tech checks.
  • Support other speakers: Peer support is a huge part of presentation development, and leads to a strongly integrated and cohesive program. You’ll be required to both review other speakers’ presentations and to take input from fellow speakers.
  • Follow our Code of Conduct during conference-related activities.

In return, we will:

  • Provide industry-leading speaker support from subject matter experts (our curators and your peers) and from a professional speaker coach. You’ll have the time and support to develop the best presentation you’ve ever given, and will feel incredibly proud when you leave the virtual stage!
  • Provide you with a complimentary conference registration for the full conference, including the option to participate in an attendee cohort and social activities.
  • Promote you and your work via social media; we’ll also create a custom US$75 conference discount code for you to share with your colleagues and followers.
  • Create artifacts from your presentation, including sketchnotes, session notes, and a reading/resource list.
  • Pay you an honorarium of up to $500 (depending on type of presentation and number of presenters).

Tips for a Successful Proposal

Your proposal should not be a neutral summary of your idea, but something that convinces us we’d be fools not to include your session. Consider the following tips for writing your proposal:

  • Be bold! We’re looking for presentations which identify challenges within the industry, and are unafraid to explore what these problems may be.
  • Be focused! Often the strongest submissions are those which pick a specific topic, particular technique, or walk through a simple program. This could be a case study from work you have done, an insight into how DesignOps can offer unexpected benefits to an organization, or a new framework that can really change the way we all view DesignOps. Either way, try and keep your proposal focussed on a specific premise, rather than trying to tackle too much at once.
  • Be complete! While the Rosenfeld speaker preparation process will help you to hone your idea, your proposal should clearly demonstrate both the problem which you feel the community is facing and how your presentation will help move us forward.
  • Be thorough! The more we know about what you plan to present and why it matters, the better. You should aim to communicate a clear sense of the challenge you are raising or trying to address, the substance of your thoughts on the topic, and how you believe your content will help move thinking on the topic forward.
  • Be creative! You do not need to feel limited to a presentation—you may want to propose a panel, a fireside chat, a head to head discussion or some other format. If you are going to share new research or a case study, highlight that information in your proposal. Help us to envision your session as a finished product.
  • Be relevant! Consider the audience: our community is forward-thinking, professional, and looking for inspiring and provocative content to give them a leading edge in taking on professional challenges and evolving their practices. Ask yourself: why will they want to attend your talk? How will you keep them engaged? What can you share with them that they won’t get from any other source?
  • Be authentic! Be true to you! You don’t need to be the world’s leading authority on your presentation’s topic. Humbly sharing your failures and what you learned from them is as important as sharing your winning ideas. Our attendees want speakers with whom they can relate and share stories with. We welcome unorthodox ideas and invite you to question commonly accepted practices, but be ready to back up your assertions with relevant examples and actionable insights.