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Leyla Acaroglu

Systems Thinker & Sustainability Provocateur

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


More info about Leyla can be found here.