Innovators Forum: Dr. Leyla Acaroglu, Founder of Disrupt, Design, the UnSchool and CO Project Farm, Portugal


12:00 pm - 1:30 pm


Event Type

Innovation as Interruption and Disruption

Dr. Leyla Acaroglu, Founder of Disrupt, Design, the UnSchool and CO Project Farm, Portugal

In 2014, Leyla completed her PhD at RMIT in change-centric disruptive design and started developing the Disruptive Design Method, which is the backbone of her unique approach to design-led systems change. She has won a host of awards for her work, was named one of Melbourne’s 100 Most Influential People, and has been forging positive change through creative practice in multiple ways for over a decade. Her systems-based thinking coupled with her highly-skilled communication techniques 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. It runs innovative pop-up programs around the world, won a CORE77 Design Education Initiative Award and recently she took on an abandoned farm in Portugal to regenerate and restore as  bran spa and living learning laboratory for UnSchool programs. The CO Project Farm is a bold example of sustainable design and social entrepreneurship. Leyla’s expertise at the helm, each of these initiatives serve as multidisciplinary approaches to pioneering social and environmental change through design. As a designer, her works such as Circular Classroom, Design Play Cards, Game Changer Game, Secret Life of Things, Designercise, and the 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. Leyla’s creative work is highly acclaimed, having been featured in a permanent exhibition in the Leonardo di Vinci museum in Milan and earning commissions from the National Gallery of Victoria.

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