Design disruptor, creative boundary pusher, and cultural provocateur, Dr. Leyla Acaroglu (A-jar-a-loo) 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, having given a mainstage TED talk that has collected over one million views and 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 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, and a uniquely rebellious experimental knowledge lab, the UnSchool, that is all about disrupting the mainstream way that knowledge is gained and shared. It runs innovative pop-up programs around the world and recently won a CORE77 Design Education Initiative Award. With Leyla’s expertise at the helm, each of these operatives serve as multidisciplinary approaches to pioneering social and environmental change through design.