EPISODE 4: Leyla Acaroglu

Disruptive Design and Systems Thinking


Design is amazing! It truly has the ability to radically improve life on this planet but, also the opposite, destroy this planet.

Dr. Leyla Acaroglu is a millennial on a mission to challenge the status-quo of the design world. She’s dead-set on helping people realize they don’t need to accept the way things work – we all have the agency to rescript the future by taking the right actions today. She is a highly intelligent, inspiring, modern day super hero, an anti-establishment, creative boundary pusher and thinker. Sounds amazing right?  

In this episode, we explore how to radically change the education system to correspond to the world we live in, how to mobilize people to change the status-quo, nourish curiosity, see all things as interconnected, embrace failure, create space for creativity to flourish and how living a life of purpose influences your brain and well-being. We talk all things change and how to shift our collective capacity to become regenerators who spend our lives adding value instead of just extracting, consuming and exploiting. This episode is nothing short of exhilarating! 



· The defining moment which led Leyla to commit her life to making designers and product-makers aware of how their choices impact the well-being of people and planet

· Leyla’s approach to curiosity, how she never pretends to know it all and how she constantly fills her own knowledge gaps  

· What is a good first step towards becoming a regenerator – a disruptive designer that makes this planet better

· The disruptive design-method, key elements of problem-solving and how your brain tricks you in these processes 


· Her personal reflections on dealing with success, stress, anxiety and burnout as a passionate change-maker who had no idea how to stop and rest

· The tools you need in order to make effective change through your creative practice

· Why she has bought a 200-year-old farm she calls “a crazy project” – the co-project (CO standing for Creative Optimism)

· How she spends time in nature to admire the intelligence of nature design and to create the space for generating new ideas and nurturing curiosity




“We need to shift to being producers. We are all interconnected with the planet, we cannot deny that. You have to breathe, you have to eat, you have to drink water – free resources provided by this earth to us – but, as a species, what we have done is we keep extracting resources, we keep polluting. We are being extremely selfish teenagers essentially.” 

“I truly believe that creativity brings hope and, in this current narrative of dystopian futures, the one thing we need to be reminded of is we built this world – and we can rebuild it in a way that helps make it more equitable and ethical and constructive.”






Sustainability provocateur and cultural protagonist Dr. Leyla Acaroglu challenges people to think differently about how the world works. As an award winning designer, UNEP Champion of the Earth, sociologist, and entrepreneur, she developed the Disruptive Design Method and designs cerebrally activating experiences, gamified toolkits, and unique educational experiences that help people make the status quo obsolete. Her mainstage TED talk on sustainability has been viewed over a million times, and she leads presentations around the world on activating positive social change through creative interventions and systems thinking.