Dr. Leyla Acaroglu

Design disruptor, creative boundary pusher, and cultural provocateur, Dr. Leyla Acaroglu embodies the innovation that instigates positive environmental and social change. A New York-based Australian designer, social scientist, and sustainability expert, she is internationally recognized as a leader in the use of disruptive design across sustainability and educational initiatives. Leyla was awarded 2016 Champion of the Earth by United Nations Environment, and her 2013 mainstage TED talk that has collected over one million views is one of the most watched TED talks on sustainability.

In 2014, Leyla completed her PhD in change-centric disruptive design and started developing the Disruptive Design Method, which is the backbone of her unique approach to design-led social change. She has won a host of awards, was named one of Melbourne’s 100 Most Influential People, and has been forging positive change through creative practice for over a decade. Her systems-based thinking is featured in several publications, including the New York Times.

Leyla is the founder of two design agencies, Disrupt Design in New York and Melbourne-based Eco Innovators, as well as the UnSchool, her uniquely rebellious experimental knowledge lab that is all about disrupting the mainstream way that knowledge is gained and shared. As a designer, her works such as Design Play Cards, Game Changer Game, Secret Life of Things, Designercise and the AIGA Gender Equity Toolkit are at the forefront of activated experience design. She has authored several handbooks for change makers and continues to agitate for new ways of solving complex social problems through beautifully designed interventions.