Leyla Acaroglu

Sustainability Provocateur

Founder, Disrupt Design, the UnSchool; Eco Innovators; and CO Project Farm 

lisbon, Portugal

Leyla activates environmental change through design.

Leyla is a social scientist, entrepreneur, award-winning designer, and the founder of two design agencies: Disrupt Design in New York and Eco Innovators in Melbourne, as well as the UnSchool and the CO Project Farm in Portugal. A self-termed sustainability provocateur and cultural protagonist, she is internationally recognized as a leader in tools for the circular economy and the use of disruptive design across sustainability and educational initiatives. 

In 2014, she completed her Ph.D 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. Her experimental knowledge labs are all about disrupting the mainstream way that knowledge is gained and shared. An answer to today’s fast-paced life, the CO Project Farm l–a brain spa for creative optimists is an example of sustainable design and social entrepreneurship. With Leyla’s expertise at the helm, each of these initiatives serves as a multidisciplinary approach to pioneering social and environmental change through design.

Prior to her entrepreneurial career, she worked at the forefront of experience design, including Circular Classroom, Design Play Cards, Game Changer Game, Secret Life of Things, Designercise, and the Gender Equity Toolkit. She has also 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: she has earned commissions from the National Gallery of Victoria and has been featured in a permanent exhibition in the Leonardo di Vinci museum in Milan.