Dr. Leyla Acaroglu is a New York based Australian designer, social scientist, sustainability provocateur and entrepreneur. She is the founder of The Un-School of Disruptive Design, an experimental knowledge lab and two design agencies; New York based Disrupt Design and Melbourne based Eco Innovators. Both are multidisciplinary studios focused on pioneering social and environmental change through design. Her work spans a variety of locations, fields and mediums and is driven by an inherent desire to effect, create, and see positive pro-sustainability change in the world.

As a leading sustainability strategist and an expert in life cycle and systems thinking in design, production and consumption, Leyla has key noted major conferences around the world, is a visiting scholar at NYU and an Innovator is Residence at the Center for Social Innovation NYC. She is a passionate experimental educator and proponent of sustainability in and through design, art and innovation. Her award winning work challenges people to see the secret life of everyday things and to think differently about the ways in which we live in the world.

Leyla is a well-respected international speaker, her mainstage TED2013 Talk has had over 1 million views, she has spoken at TEDx Melbourne, key noted the AIGA Design Conference, Bonier Grid and a host of other keynotes. She is a highly skilled communicator with her writing being published in a host of design magazines and the New York Times.

Leyla is also the creative director of the award winning sustainability education project ‘The Secret Life of Things’, she created the ‘Design Play Cards‘ and the Game Changer Game, authored the Good Design Guide and Make Change: a Handbook for creative rebels and change agents. In 2012 she was an invited Artist in Residence with Autodesk and in 2014 completed her PhD. In the past Leyla was involved in the development of one of the first online life cycle assessment tools for designers, ‘Greenfly’. She lectures at Universities around the world and has a doctorate in change-centric disruptive design.

In 2010 Leyla was named one of Melbourne’s Top 100 People of Influence. She was a regular judge on the ABC TV show The New Inventors, presenter on radio, an op-ed writer for the New York Times, and has won several awards for her work. Her innovative and forward thinking approaches to communicating sustainability and social change has seen her creative work be featured in a permanent exhibition in the Leonardo di Vinci museum in Milan, and commissions from the National Gallery of Victoria.


“Leyla Acaroglu is an amazing speaker, and her concept of using environmental folklore to simplify and explain complex systems is brilliant. She engages even the most cynical to her thought-provoking conclusion that design and innovation can lead to a more sustainable future.”

– Brock Macdonald, CEO, Recycling Council of British Columbia

"Sustainability crusader Leyla Acaroglu challenged the audience to really think through their green choices."

– Bonnier GRID 2013

"Leyla Acaroglu has become one of Australia’s most vocal eco-design advocates"

– Dan Rule, The Age

“Leyla has an infectious ability and passion for seeing better ways of doing things and finding ways to do it. No challenge is too great for soultionary!"

– Jason Kimberley, Founder, Cool Australia

“Leyla is a formidable force, her passionate conviction and experience with both environmental science and product design and development give her a firm understanding of both the impact of product design on the environment and the solutions that can be applied to overcome them”

– Jenny Lyon, Green Magazine

“Sustainability is chock full of highly passionate experts in the field, but very few have the ability to distil and communicate highly complex subjects in the way Leyla can - stripping away that complexity and presenting the details in the way anyone can comprehend and act upon.”

– Al Dean, Editor Develop 3D

"Acaroglu is a dynamo and the students cannot fail but fall for her energy and enthusiasm"

– NGV Gallery Magazine