Our mentors are experienced practitioners invited to share their knowledge and experiences in creating change during our fellowship programs that pop-up around the world.
Leyla Acaroglu is a designer, social change agent and sustainability provocateur who is internationally recognized as a leading expert in the field of disruptive design, sustainability and education. Her 2014 TED Talk has had over a million views, she is an author, award winning designer, and the founder of the Un-school of Disruptive Design. She is into disrupting the way we share and gain knowledge, food systems and the status quo. She founded Disrupt Design and Eco Innovators with which she won a host of awards for her projects (ie: The Design Play Cards, The Secret Life of Things, The Game Changer Game and the handbook Make Change). Leyla has a PhD in disruptive design for social and environmental change and is currently a visiting scholar at New York University. WEBSITE >
Kyle Wiens is the co-founder of iFixit, the repair community internationally renowned for open source repair manuals and product teardowns. iFixit empowers millions of people to repair their broken stuff every month. Kyle has testified on electronic exports before the International Trade Commission and is actively involved in developing global environmental standards.
Kyle regularly speaks on design for repair, service documentation, and sustainable electronics. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Harvard Business Review, Wired, Popular Mechanics and the Wall Street Journal.
Alexa is a leading expert on subculture and innovation from unlikely places. She is the co-author of The Misfit Economy (Simon & Schuster), a book that explores underground and informal innovation. Alexa works to create bridges and opportunities for misfit subcultures within the formal economy. She is the Founder of Wisdom Hackers, an incubator for philosophical inquiry. And the Co-Founder of the League of Intrapreneurs, a movement to create change from within incumbent systems and big organizations.
Alexa has written and appeared in Fast Company, Forbes, Wired, Dazed and Confused, VICE, Harvard Business Review, the New York Times and MTV. She is a regular commentator on topics related to economic transition, misfit subculture, social entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship and technology angst. She received her BA from Brown University and a MSc. from Oxford University. When not operating in the world as Alexa, you can find her playing the Amish Futurist, an alter ego bringing Socratic inquiry to the tech scene. WEBSITE >
Dr Stuart Candy is an experiential futurist on a mission to bring foresight to life, aiming to use immersive, participatory and guerrilla futures interventions to pattern a wiser and more vital culture of public imagination. His work has appeared at conferences and museums around the world, on the Discovery Channel, and in the pages of Wired magazine and The Economist. Often sought out for strategic input on unusual initiatives, he has worked with organisations including the United Nations Development Programme, the University of Oxford, the Sydney Opera House, UNESCO, IDEO, Arup, Interface, and the government of Singapore. He recently co-created the award-winning imagination game The Thing From The Future, and helped to design the 2016 Museum of the Future at the World Government Summit in Dubai. He is currently Director of the Situation Lab and a tenure-track professor in the world's first hybrid foresight/design program, at OCAD University in Toronto. Stuart is a two-time Graduate Degree Fellow of the East-West Center (Hawaii), and a Fellow of The Long Now Foundation (San Francisco), the INK Conference (India), and the Museum of Tomorrow (Rio de Janeiro).Website
Lee-Sean is a designer, community builder, and educator. He is cofounder and creative director of Foossa, a strategy and design consultancy with a focus on social innovation. Before Foossa, Lee-Sean started the design practice at Purpose, a consultancy and incubator for social movements, and served as creative director for Meu Rio (now Nossas Cidades), a Brazilian organization working to foster civic participation among young people. Lee-Sean is also faculty member at the School of Visual Arts MFA Design for Social Innovation. He regular writes and presents workshops on storytelling, community building, and the power of design in social innovation.He has worked on five continents and has collaborated with organizations including the United Nations, Human Rights Watch, the Service Employees International Union, the Dalai Lama Center, the Brazil Foundation, the Packard Foundation, the Grammy Foundation, the Kigali Genocide Memorial, and the Guggenheim Museum. WEBSITE >
Luisa is working to implement and lead the Circular Economy 100 Brazil Programme for the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, leveraging her expertise and network in the Brazilian market to expand the successful model of the first satellite location designed to unlock local opportunities for the circular economy in Brazil. Luisa consults in strategy and sustainability areas, working in collaboration with businesses, governments and the third-sector. She has worked on grass-root projects in the Amazon and in the Middle East on sustainability projects in mining. Luisa has conducted an extensive study into 'inclusive recycling' of waste (that is, waste recycling with economic participation of the informal waste-pickers) in 15 countries in Latin America, as well as a deep collaboration of over 1 year with the City of Rio de Janeiro in building its city resilience strategy. Luisa holds a Masters in sustainable development practices, having presented the first academic essay in circular economy in Brazil.
Adam Morris is one of Australia’s most respected Creative Directors and designers. Creative Director, co-founder of Studio Thick, Adam is a veteran Creative Director, having held some of the country’s most coveted senior creative posts; as Creative Director at DT, Digital Creative Director for the Ogilvy group in Melbourne and Digital Director at Cornwell.
Through his proficiency in information architecture, user experience design and digital marketing, Adam has led multiple award-winning projects for the world’s most successful brands across Europe and Australia.
Adam is a co-founder of Thick. He is passionate about the power of design to improve people's lives, and guides our clients through relevant and effective design processes to ensure their experiences, services and products deliver genuine and meaningful value.
Carol Shapiro, an innovator in the field of criminal and social justice for over 35 years, is known largely for her integration of asset and family network tools for community and correctional use. Carol is the Founder and served as President of Family Justice, a non-profit focused on tapping the strengths of families and their social networks to break cycles of victimization and justice system involvement. Among her many awards and honors for social entrepreneurship, Carol is an Ashoka fellow and her start-up, La Bodega de la Familia received an Innovation in American Government award under the auspices of the Vera Institute of Justice. Carol was an Associate Research Scholar at Columbia University’s Institute for Social and Economic Policy and Research. During her tenure at Columbia, Carol taught graduate seminars on Rethinking Justice as well as wrote on the topic of scaling innovation in this new technical and global economy. WEBSITE >
Recognized as one of the Most Innovative People in 2013, one of the most influential women in technology in 2011, one of the inaugural top young innovators for MIT Technology Review and one of the 40 most influential designers, Natalie Jeremijenko directs the Environmental Health Clinic at NYU. She is also an Associate Professor for NYU's Visual Art Department and is affiliated with the Computer Science Department and Environmental Studies program. Previously, she was a member of the Visual Arts faculty at UCSD, Faculty of Engineering at Yale University, a visiting professor at Royal College of Art in London, a Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Public Understanding of Science at Michigan State University, and a Visiting Global Distinguished Professor at they NYU College of Arts and Sciences. She holds degrees in biochemistry, engineering, neuroscience and the History and Philosophy of Science. WEBSITE >
Award winning designer Trent Jansen focuses on producing sustainable designs, with pieces that can connect with the user and bypass the disposable mentality of many of today’s modern designs. In addition to many awards and accolades he was the joint winner of the Bombay Sapphire Design Discovery Award in 2008 and the 2010 Edra Design Residency at Space Furniture – a residency established to cultivate local talent and bridge the manufacturing gap by connecting Australian designers with world-leading Italian manufacturers.
In late 2004 Trent Jansen opened his own studio in Sydney, Australia. Jansen’s practice is for the most part focused on creating honest and poetic sustainable design, developing pieces that aim to maintain a lasting relationship with their user. This work becomes a life long companion instead of a disposable thing, fostering meaningful relationships through the honesty and personality that this work possesses.
Trent Jansen’s work has been featured in such design publications as: I.D. - ‘The International Design Magazine - New + Notable 2008’, &Fork - ‘100 of the World’s Most Interesting Product Designers’ - Phaidon Press Limited, 2007 and Open Doors - ‘Fresh Thinking in Australian Architecture and Interiors’ - Ripe Off The Press, 2007. WEBSITE>
Chris's talents and skills are in the service of making our world a more vibrant, equitable, and interesting place. He and his partners are building a guild for slow entrepreneurship called Prime Produce. The 8,000 sq ft space in Hell's Kitchen is unequal parts cafe, living room, workshop, coworking space, roof top garden, and they have an upstate retreat space as well. Opening in the spring of 2015, it will be a place for unlike minds who share like hearts to make time for things that matter. Chris also has the pleasure of serving on the board of directors that guides the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of NYC and is the Co City Director of the NYC Chapter of House of Genius.WEBSITE >
Dagny brings a breadth and depth of experience as an ideator and actionist. Her various professional capacities range from strategist and adviser, conflict specialist and mediator to academic and speaker. She is currently a Professor at Parsons The New School For Design, was formerly the Managing Director of Strategic Global Affairs for New Hope Natural Media and is the Founder of the Obtainable Grapefruit. Drawing from extensive insider institutional work on big picture analysis and in-depth community based research, her work translates complex systems and processes. She creates and shares popularly understood narratives, actionable projects and everyday solutions that encourage a transformation to sustainable, equitable and peaceful societies. WEBSITE >
Social entrepreneur and a conscious business netweaver, Tomás co-founded Goma a co-owning space and collaborative ecosystem of social entrepreneurs and two Hubs of the World Economic Forum Global Shapers Community. Business administrator with a master in digital communication, Tomás is a specialist on collaborative and sustainable economies, is a co-leader of B Corps movement in Brazil, member of the board of Coca-Cola Brazil’s foundation and a teacher at Brazil’s leading social innovation schools. Invited in 2013 to the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, to discuss technologies for social innovation and crowdfunding, Tomás is based now in Rio de Janeiro focusing his work, studies and lectures on fostering the shift of old businesses paradigms that are based on competitive and EGOcentric culture to ECOcentric and collaborative economical life supporting systems.
Eli Malinsky has been a champion of collaboration and innovation in the social sector for the past eight years. A deep believer in the potential of "everyday people" to create social change, Eli’s work is centered on new models that unleash creativity and catalyze impact.
Eli has spoken and published works on networks, collaboration, social enterprise, shared space and social innovation. He is currently the executive director of the newCentre for Social Innovation in New York City. The Centre for Social Innovation is part co-working space, part community center and part incubator for people and projects that are changing the world.
Garance is a social entrepreneur, international system builder and innovation strategist. She is the founder of Coda, a global network of grassroots problem solvers exchanging how-tos across continents. Born and raised in Paris, France, she started her career as a concert pianist at the age of 3. Later, when she moved to the United States to continue her performance studies, she pursued her passion for political theory and design practices. She has designed organizational structures, national and local health care systems, educational programs, impact evaluations and poverty relief strategies for institutions, corporations and governments in Europe, the United States, the Caribbean and Latin America. She earned a Master of Public Administration from Cornell University. Garance's philosophy is rooted in challenging the notion of institutionalized expertise and its deriving power structures. She has used participatory design principles in her work with the US Congress, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Clinton Global Initiative, Purpose, The Lowline, Community Solutions, and Nesta. As a speaker and educator, she has taught her unique participatory design framework at the University of Pennsylvania, Cornell University, Parsons, Brown, and to high-level government officials. Twitter
As day job, Jess leads the 202020 Vision – a collective impact campaign that is increasing and improving urban green space by 20% by 2020. Jess is founded Grow it Local - campaign that seeks to improve urban and suburban food resilience by encouraging small-scale urban farming through bribery (amazing dinner) and cheap tricks (very good-looking people). Grow it Local is also the vehicle through which Jess realised her vision of doing 80s Garden Aerobics in full fluoro lycra alongside Costa Georgiadis during a busy lunchtime in Swanson Street. She is theTEDxSydney food curator. In 2012 she introduced the idea of crowd-farming, and in 2015 she based the day’s menu around the idea of ‘rebel food’ to discourage supermarket diets and broaden the food spectrum to include bugs, weeds, ugly food and wasted cuts of meat and seafood.
She co-created the Elizabeth Street Gallery, a ‘guerilla’ long-form photo essay gallery located (initially illegally) on an ugly wall on Elizabeth Street. She has worked with lots of interesting groups, businesses and agencies including Republic of Everyone, Right Angle Studio, AMPlify, Librarians, local council, State Government. She has won some awards. WEBSITE >
In all his professional endeavors Luis has embraced the power of combining creativity & a deep curiosity about the world. Finding the right elements with which to communicate projects and ideas are a ritual of discovery in his work as Creative Director of More Starch (A communication studio which he co-founded 4 years ago.) Their clients include NGOs such as I.M.C.O, Article 19, Arena Electoral, U.N.F.P.A, the Hewlett Foundation as well as large cultural events such as Televisa’s TagCDMX, The Fénix Film Awards, Campus Party Mexico and Catapulta Fest.
His background in Film (NYU) and Geekery (since birth) have given him an unusual insight which he passionately exploits as he works with his the talented team to find the best ways to communicate great ideas. This along side with his diverse cultural background, He was born in Mexico City but grew up in Houston, Tx followed by 8 years in NYC, has helped him understand and more importantly empathise with a the diverse audiences he comes across. WEBSITE >
Matt Stinchcomb is the Executive Director of Etsy.org, a 501(c)(3) dedicated to empowering under-represented entrepreneurial populations to build businesses and programs that regenerate the planet, the community, and the self. Previously, he was the VP, Values and Impact at Etsy.com. In that role he oversaw the stewardship of the company's mission, and worked to give all employees the means and the desire to maximize the benefit their work has on people and the planet. Matt is a graduate of Oberlin College, a reformed, professional musician, and was an employee of Etsy since its earliest days.
He also serves on the boards of the Schumacher Center for New Economics and the Center for a New American Dream. He lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife, Benedikta, and their young sons, Francis and Lewie. WEBSITE >
Megan Fath is an empathetic designer who practices research to understand users’ needs and identify design opportunities. A passionate, avid matchmaker for research and design, she leads innovation projects and facilitates workshops to help transform the ways organizations see and act on change. In addition to her consulting work, Megan is an adjunct faculty at SVA and IIT Institute of Design, teaching graduate courses on constructing disruptive insight, imagining alternatives to existing tools and methods, and advising thesis projects. As a former director at Conifer Research, she shaped the design vision and strategy, growing the firm’s design practice and leading the venture of opening a new office. Megan’s thoughts on intersections of research and design are the focus of her graduate courses as well as published topics in several industry publications.WEBSITE >
Pedro Reyes is a multidisciplinary contemporary artist who uses sculpture, architecture, video, performance and participation. His works aims to increase individual or collective agency in social, environmental or educational situations.He has challenged Mexico gun culture, by turning firearms into musical instruments, set up a people's UN and set up a temporary clinic with the mission of treating various kinds of urban malaise. At the Sanatorium, therapies such as trust-building games and hypnosis are offered to combat common problems such as loneliness and stress.WEBSITE >
In 2007, after turning down his dream job offer as a corporate high-flyer, Simon moved from Australia to South Africa to immerse himself in his true passion: development aid. There he discovered that the biggest problem faced by NGOs and social entrepreneurs is a lack of funding. Since then he has launched three social businesses of his own, all focused on revolutionising the way society thinks about and engages in philanthropy.
Simon’s latest venture is an ethical home products company. Its flagship product is Who Gives A Crap, an environmentally friendly toilet paper that uses 50% of its profits to build toilets in the developing world. He is also well known for his work as co-founder of Shebeen, Australia’s first non-profit bar. Shebeen sells exotic beer and wine from the developing world with the profit from each sale supporting a project in that particular drink’s country of origin.
Simon’s work has been written up by The Standford Social Innovation Review and The New York Times. In 2010 he became Australia’s first Fellow of The Unreasonable Institute, in 2011 he was recognised by The Age’s Melbourne Magazine as one of Melbourne’s Top 100 Most Influential People, and in 2013 he was shortlisted for Young Australian of the Year. WEBSITE >
Photo credit:Francesco Vicenzi
Melbourne-based electronic producer Monkey Marc writes sonically rugged, politically charged music in his solar-powered studio (that he build in a shipping container) by day, and plays it on his solar-powered soundsystem by night. For over 15 years, Monkey Marc has worked with indigenous youth and elders in more than 30 communities around Australia. He has run songwriting, music recording and video editing workshops, using hip hop, reggae and rock music and music videos as an outlet for creativity in these remote communities.
Marc has pioneered Transfer of Knowledge projects, which transform traditional Dreamtime stories into modern songs. This helps to strengthen, preserve and reinvigorate sacred indigenous knowledge. WEBSITE >
Bryan D'Alessandro is an avid life long learner and creative problem solver. He turns to natural systems for his greatest inspiration. He is the cofounder and CEO of United Purpose (UP) a member-based organization for high caliber individuals committed to improving the world around them. His previous creation The Humans, is a values-driven brand development agency. He helps thought leaders tell authentic stories and create deeper connections with their audience through a variety of brand development and creative marketing services. This experience was garnered across 15 years in Advertising: at Agent16 as Group Creative Director, McCann Erickson- receiving recognition for his Art Direction on accounts such as Unilever, MLB, Lowe’s, and Johnson & Johnson, and freelancing at 20+ agencies. Bryan has a BFA from Carnegie Mellon in Fine Arts & Photography, additional studies include Film & Directing at the New York Film Academy. In his free time he enjoys studying Aikido and Vinyasa Yoga, and traveling to far corners of the planet.WEBSITE >
Rebecca Mills is a strategist, innovator and ideator, who is internationally recognised as an expert in sustainability strategy. She has played central roles in ventures at the forefront of the impact space and has led thousands of hours of workshops and experiences around the world. Often sought out for strategic input, she has collaborated with organisations such as The University of London, The World Economic Forum, World Wildlife Fund, Unreasonable Institute, KiwiConnect, The Olympic Delivery Authority, The B Team, Arup, The Big Idea, and more.
She helped build and shape The B Team (founded by Sir Richard Branson and Jochen Zeitz) and led development criteria for the UK’s first ‘eco-region’, the Thames Gateway, Europe's largest regeneration project. She has designed impact evaluations, new ventures and strategies for entreprenuers, investors, institutions, companies and governments in Europe, the United States, China and New Zealand. Rebecca’s most notable areas of expertise include: Systems Thinking, Collective Impact, Business Model Innovation, Impact Investing, Impact Philanthropy, Energy and Climate Change, Environmental Science, Business Strategy, Sustainable Development and Regeneration.Website >
Jennifer Whitty is a sustainable design educator, researcher, designer, facilitator, writer and activist. Originally from Ireland, she teaches and practices at Massey University’s School of Design in New Zealand as Senior Lecturer of Fashion Design. She is the director and co-founder of Space Between a social enterprise for fashion. Her practice led research work is focused on developing new green business models and systems for alternative ecologies of fashion practice, which are connected to and have an impact on society. She strongly believes in the positive aspects that fashion can impart to both the individual and to our culture. Jennifer is involved in taking action to harness this power and to catalyse change in the current system by developing alternative roles for the fashion designer through activism and social innovation. She asks can we open up fashion to foster community, collaboration and innovation to provide a new vision and practice for fashion? Her work is informed by her industry experience in the fashion centres of Paris, New York and London. Her work has been exhibited in globally and in addition to her post in NZ she has been a visiting lecturer in Ireland, Denmark, Estonia, Sweden, UK, China and Australia.
Nick Gerritsen is a New Zealand based catalyst and impact entrepreneur. He loves BIG ideas – ones that are going to lead to global structural change – and is committed to the culture of innovation – unafraid of operating beyond existing boundaries. He specialises in developing technology propositions from the ground up, and has been one of the leaders promoting New Zealands contribution to emerging megatrends such as Clean Technology, and the Internet of Things. In addition, he is also involved in projects in online decision making, digital manufacturing, peer to peer energy, and next generation media and information platforms. As well as various directorships and advisory roles, he is a Principal of Tuia Innovation (specializing in innovation within the Iwi economy) and Chairman of The National Whale Centre Development Trust, and a Trustee of both the Akina Foundation, and The Land Trust. He operates within a global network across the innovation and capital markets. Nick graduated from the University of Canterbury, Christchurch with a Bachelor of Laws (LLB). During his legal career, he advised leading corporates on intellectual property and later enjoyed a string of successful business ventures, most notably in radio, and software sectors. He has been a consultant to New Zealand On Air, Radio New Zealand, Te Mangai Paho (the Maori Broadcasting Funding Agency), and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
Raf's main purpose in life is to help create a better world. His broad range of experience enables him to move easily between different sectors. Raf enjoys adding value wherever possible and relishes new challenges.
Raf is very passionate about developing a new generation of leaders and their disruptive technologies. He has spent many years examining the friction between the public and private space and is especially interested in the reform of our monetary, welfare and tax systems, as well as in the developing social investment and peer to peer sector. Raf is keen to develop a new social contract. His other areas of focus include: a universal basic income, overt monetary financing, participatory democracy, decentralization and a more strategic approach to policy development.
Raf is currently a Christchurch City Councillor and chair of the Strategy and Finance committee. His main focus has been the Council's financial position as well as its strategic direction and risk management.
After graduating from the University of Manchester in 1987 with a degree in Economics and Social Studies, Raf spent 11 years trading global markets for investment banks in London. In 2000, he left banking to help start up and develop Trucost, which helps companies measure their environmental footprint in monetary terms. In 2002, he moved to New Zealand with his young family and has since been actively involved as a volunteer and trustee with Christchurch Budget Services, Pillars, Volunteer Army Foundation, Christchurch Arts Festival, as well as investing in and helping out early stage companies. He has a Grad Dip Arts in Political science, and a Masters in International Law and Politics from the University of Canterbury.
Internationally awarded product designers and creators with experience working in Netherlands, Denmark, Berlin and Latvia. Educated in Design Academy Eindhoven (rated as top 5 university for conceptual design in the world). After winning New Talent Awards in Copenhagen- established a design studio “Chudy & Grase”. We developed interior products and in just a half year, we landed contracts with big manufacturers and produced our first series of furniture. In 2015 we moved to Berlin and founded MIITO with the aim to bring our first consumer electronic product to the mass market.
Janet is an American/British anthropologist and blogger, a self-described ex-“aid worker” and the co-founder of The Restart Project, a social enterprise aiming to reduce electronic waste and transform our relationship to electronics. Janet’s work focuses on transformational projects involving communication, technology and new economies. She has worked for Maputo @Verdade, Mozambique’s largest circulation newspaper and continued to collaborate with them from afar, and worked in the past with the International Land Coalition on a project designed to help decentralize collection of data on large-scale land acquisition. Janet will be sharing her experiences as an advocate for sustainable design and repair.
Julia is passionate about growing open communities. Since 2013, she has put her background in design and media studies to use as a project lead for the Open Knowledge Foundation Germany and as a consultant for The Engine Room.
Julia has been running multiple community projects that foster the reuse of open data, such as Germany’s first Civic Tech Incubator ‘Stadt Land Code’ and a series of hackathons on transport, energy and citizen science. Code for Germany, her latest project in collaboration with Code for America, is a civic tech community with 25 labs and more than 350 members all across Germany.
Julia leads open data projects in close collaboration with companies and governments alike. She also enjoys speaking at conferences. In 2015 she co-organized the international Code for All Summit in New York, a two-day conference that brought together leading experts and practitioners in civic tech. In 2016 she will be kicking off a prototype fund for civic tech projects in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Education and Research of Germany.