Dr Leyla Acaroglu

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Disruptive Designer & Sustainability Expert

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Synopsis

Combining design and creative thinking with sustainability and insights into behaviour and social conventions, Leyla explores some of the assumptions around sustainability and questions how we can do things better by doing things smarter. By asking the right questions and being innovative, she considers how design-thinking can help solve the most complex and urgent of problems.

Biography

Leyla Acaroglu is an award-winning designer, sociologist, entrepreneur and sustainability expert. She takes a behavioural and innovatiion-based approach to sustainability, examining the choices individuals and organisations make, challenging assumptions, and considering how design can help solve complex problems.

Whilst studying design, Leyla became aware of the waste inherent in a lot of design work and started to focus on social sciences and sustainability. She combines these disciplines to examine environmental impact, the circular economy and how we choose to interact with the world. A leading voice on disruption, she looks at how creative interventions can activate positive change on a societal level as well as an environmental one. She also explores how new ways of thinking can promote more effective leadership and better problem-solving in the context of large organisations.

Leyla’s Disruptive Design Method is her own problem-solving approach of using design to realise social change and is the foundation of her Disrupt Design agency. It draws together creativity and an understanding of how products, society and behaviours interact. Leyla considers the complexity of sustainability within the wider social context, and looks at whether the changes we make ultimately have a positive effect. And if not, how can we tackle some of the long-standing myths, such as whether biodegradable products are always the best option.

As well as Disrupt Design in New York, Leyla founded Eco Innovators in her native Melbourne. She also launched The Unschool of Disruptive Design, a global learning platform intended to challenge mainstream educational structures and foster creative solutions to environmental issues. Named a UNEP Champion of the Earth by the United Nations Environment Programme, Leyla has also produced design works including the Designercise Ideation Toolkit, the Un-Waste Bookcase, the Gender Equity Toolkit, and the Mythbusting Sustainability Quiz, an app developed to raise awareness of ecological concerns. She has also released a selection of interactive videos, notably the animation Life Pscycle-ology that won the Melbourne Design Award, and her creative work has since been exhibited in Milan’s Da Vinci Museum and Victoria’s National Gallery. She has also published several books, including The Good Design Guide, and Make Change: A Handbook for Creative Rebels and Change Agents.

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