Beautiful Thinking.

Change Makers Series: DBA and Dr Leyla Acaroglu

Last week, I was fortunate to attend a DBA talk from Dr Leyla Acaroglu.

One hour and a half with the sustainability & circular economy provocateur, scientist, designer and UN Champion of the Earth is just not enough.

The amount of information and insight was truly eye and mind-opening. As a result, I feel equally inspired and empowered.

As designers, we certainly start by thinking that we can change the world but soon get swallowed up by reality, the reality dictated by the markets and linear economies.

But we cannot hide from the other reality any longer, the need for change.

Creatives have a lot to say and a lot to do. We have a key role in selling the circular economy as effectively as we sell the goodness of concentrated juice, the need to change our phone for the latest upgrade or the serum that is going to make us look 10 years younger. We have to make the circular economy sexy, appealing, necessary, beautiful, cool and engaging. 

Our current model sees the final destination of a product as landfill or being turned into money to produce waste and this is no longer acceptable if we want to survive as a species.

To illustrate Dr Acaroglu’s thinking, she shared some inspiring examples, the most awesome of all Notpla, an algae based pack solution. (Winner of the 2022 Earthshot Prize)

However, there were many more examples, some well-known like Olio or Vinted, some on the rise like Soho clothes repairers, the international Stellantis, or Mud jeans.

Many more companies were mentioned. It was refreshing and inspiring to know how eagerly many organisations are embracing the circular model.

Dr Acaroglu work expands across many levels, focusing on helping organisations make the transition from a linear business model to a circular one. She is able to give businesses the tools for change and transformation because she is not only an amazingly disruptive thinker, she is an unstoppable populariser. She has created three incredible platforms to empower organisations and individuals in the shift to sustainability: Unschool of Disruptive Design, Disruptive Design Method and Swivel Skills.


As creatives, we have a duty to follow, support and engage with her work.

We have to redesign the world.



Seila Serriman, Lead Creative @Free The Birds
With thanks to Dr Leyla Acaroglu and the DBA
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