What is the Disruptive Innovation Festival (DIF)?

The Disruptive Innovation Festival (DIF) is an online, open access event that invites thought-leaders, entrepreneurs, innovators, businesses, makers and learners to explore the question “The economy is changing - what do I need to know, experience and do?”.

The DIF is a devolved event which takes place over a three-week period around the world; coordinated and accessible at thinkdif.co. Over 250 sessions are held across five virtual stages, ranging from the must see thinkers and thought-leading Headliners to the Open Mic stage, composed of self organised contributions from innovative individuals or organisations.

Using a mix of online and face to face events, participants have the opportunity to explore the economy through a different lens. Sessions demonstrate how people worldwide are challenging the current ‘take, make and dispose’ economic model. 

In 2016 the DIF took place from 7-25 November and kicked off with a Live Launch in London. Take a look at the DIF 2016 highlights here.

Alongside the 2016 main themes – System Reset, Regenerative Cities and The Future of Work – broader themes encompassed were; Design Innovation, Systems Thinking, Sharing Economy, Internet of Things, Regenerative Agriculture, Entrepreneurship, New Business Models, Materials and Energy and 21st Century Science.

The Details

TBC - November (see the best sessions from previous DIFs here.) 

Online at thinkdif.co and multiple regional events – see individual sessions for details once they are confirmed.

Organisations, Universities, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and anyone else with an idea to share all have an opportunity to take part on one of our various stages:

Headline Stage - the must-see thinkers and thought leaders streamed live

Big Top Tents - university led online learning programmes

Ellen MacArthur Foundation Stage - Ellen MacArthur Foundation curated content around the latest big picture themes, trends and opportunities

Open Mic - self-organised contributions from innovative individuals and organisations in the form of online and physical events. 

How to participate

The DIF is open and completely free to attend. However, we recommend getting a My DIF account, which will give you access to the full DIF experience, including:

  • The chance to be part of the lineup through the Open Mic stage or Big Top Tents
  • Receive DIF emails with news, tips and session alerts
  • Recommended sessions based on your own interests. Is that design & engineering, business & innovation, education & training, or all of the DIF themes? You tell us.
  • Star sessions you want to attend to create your own schedule
  • Be part of an enriching discussion with the comment feature during live sessions
  • Plus, 30 days of bonus catch up time after the DIF has ended. There’s so much to see at the DIF, you’ll need this - trust us.

Register here to access all the online sessions for free as well as these extra benefits to supercharge your DIF experience.

How to contribute

We’d love to hear from you if you have insights, stories or ideas to share, see the Contributors page for more details on how to apply to host an Open Mic session or Big Top Tent. Applications for 2017 will be open from 1 July - 29 September.

Which languages?

The Festival’s working language is English. Sessions also run in French, Portuguese, Spanish and Russian.


Watch our one minute video about what the DIF is:

DIF 2016

In 2016 there were over 300 sessions and close to 100,000 individuals visiting thinkdif.co during the live phase. 

The Festival kicked off with the DIF Live Launch in London - which nearly 2000 (and counting) - people have viewed online, followed by two further excellent headline sessions courtesy of Sir Ken Robinson, Dr Peter Senge and Douglas Rushkoff, plus over 150 Open Mics, a multitude of sessions from the Foundation’s Partner, Pioneer and Network Universities on the Big Top Tent stage and over 40 live sessions in the DIF studio!

You can also view the two minute highlight video for a whistle-stop tour of the first DIF.

Or watch the headline acts from 2014 here.

Keep up to date with the DIF

Follow the Disruptive Innovation Festival on Twitter: @ThinkDIF_

Follow the conversation with #thinkdif on Twitter

Like the Disruptive Innovation Festival Facebook page for updates and backstage content

Questions? Contact us on Twitter, Facebook or on

Register to catch up on 300+ sessions

Missed a session? Get a free account to watch as much as you like until December 23rd.