DR LEYLA ACAROGLU

U.N Champion of the Earth, Designer, Sociologist, Sustainability Provocateur, Change Maker

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Lots of people drop out of college but few go on to become a United Nation's Champion of the Earth. When Dr. Leyla Acaroglu quit her product design program and pursued social science and sustainability, she was committed to becoming a leader in sustainable design. From her PhD in how to make change to her multi-award winning designs, she has demonstrated the vision and conviction that has made her the thought leader in sustainability and design.

In 2013, when speaking on TED's main stage of  conference, Leyla shared the counterintuitive discovery that plastic bags are actually better for the planet than paper. As the 1.3 million people who've watched that talk now know, Leyla presented the convincing case of how plastic can sometimes beat paper, and that the real issue is not what disposable product to use, but how to redesign the systems that create waste to begin with. It's disruptive ideas -- based on life cycle, human and systems sciences -- that have pushed Leyla to the forefront of any discussion on sustainability.

Winner of the United Nations' highest environmental award
Champion of the Earth

When it comes to design and creativity, Leyla's ideas are just as provocative. Her creative work builds from the core concept that the way things are designed effects and influences every aspect of our lives, from how we move to what we think. People are acting out their day-to-day activities amongst props and sets intentionally designed by others. It's her mission to activate those responsible for creating our surroundings to be fully equipped to use design as a force for positive social change. 

Core77 Design Award winner in 2012 and 2016

Committed to collaboration and co-design, Leyla does not pursue her vision alone. Through her provocational agency Disrupt Design and her experimental knowledge lab The UnSchool, she is armed with a global community of creatives and social change makers, who challenge our preconceptions on design, sustainability and the power our agency to enact change. Everything she creates -- be it a cerebrally engaging workshop session, a gamified toolkits for busting brain bias, to her thought provoking writting -- questions and challenges the way we live in and create the world around us. 

One of the most unique elements of Leyla's provocative approach to sustainability and creativity is her seamless combination and engaging explanations of the complex arenas of systems thinking, behavioural sciences, life cycle thinking and creativity. Her talks and workshops are often described as 'mind blowing' as she weaves in fascinating examples and equips people with the thinking tools to create their own change in the world. 

Talks

  • TED Global (Main stage), U.S
  • One Young World Summit, U.S
  • Amcor, The Netherlands
  • Google, U.K
  • Sustpack, Australia
  • Recycling Council of British Columbia (RCBC)
  • Design Week Portland, U.S
  • Green Up, Dominican Republic
  • Sydney Design Week, Australia
  • Sustainable Living Festival, Australia
  • Green Leaders Summit, Australia
  • SIVA Cnference, Norway
  • Center for Sustainable Innovation, UK
  • Disruptive Designers Business Network, Australia

Clients

  • Google U.K                                                                    
  • Gates Foundation U.S
  • AIGA U.S                                                                      
  • Bonier, Sweden   
  • IDEO, U.K                                                  
  • ING Direct, Australia                                                    
  • AUTODESK, U.S    
  • CSIRO, Australia                  
  • PRE, The Netherlands                    
  • BMW Designworks, U.S                                  
  • WIX Lounge, U.S                                                                
  • Sustainable Packaging Coalition
  • Giflex, Italy
  • RCBC, Canada

SOME OF THE TOPICS LEYLA PROVIDES IN HER KEYNOTES

  • Environment folklore and myths
  • Disruptive Design
  • Circular Economy
  • Design thinking and innovation through sustainability
  • Life cycle thinking
  • Leadership
  • Eco Entrepreneurship
  • Social Innovation
  • Experiential education
  • Sustainability (general)
  • Sustainable Design and innovation
  • The Disruptive Design Method (developer) 
  • Systems Thinking
  • Ideation and creative problem-solving
  • Strategic Sustainability
  • Change (social, behavioural, organisational etc)
  • Gamification for Change Making
  • Experience design  
  • Gender Equity
 


Ellen MacArthur Foundation 2017 Summit

TED Global 2014 - Paper beats plastic? How to rethink environmental folklore (with over 1m views)


Talks at Google - Disrupting the status quo, by design


UnSchool - An explanation of Leyla's Experimental Educational Program


SciTech Now -  A television interview for PBS


AIGA - What you probably didn’t Learn in design school


One Young World - How to disrupt the status quo effectively


United Nations Development Program - Inclusive design and social change