The Disruptive Design Method is a 3-part process for activating social change. It is underpinned by our 12 unit Design Methodology of high-level concepts and content for professionals interested in activating positive social change through their work.

Our methodology provides a detailed and in-depth exploration of critical thinking practices, empowering participants to understand and creatively intervene in complex and divergent real-world systems. It can be applied to any problem arena and is based on a combination of Systems Thinking, Sustainability Sciences and Design Thinking. 

Disruptive Design approach by the UnSchool


The Disruptive Design approach

Developed by Dr. Leyla Acaroglu, and based on the applied exploration of activated change making, our 3-part iterative method involves Mining, Landscaping and Building. Together, these three phases allow for the development of creative and divergent solutions to messy real-world problems.

The Disruptive Design Methodology by Leyla Acaroglu

The 12 unit Methodology 

The 12 units in the Disruptive Design Methodology synthesize a broad range of thinking and doing skills and tools, including systems thinking, gamification and game theory, ethics and empathy, life cycle thinking, research strategies, applied systems intervention, cognitive and behavioral sciences, ideation and creative problem solving, and sustainable production.

Each of these learning modules fit together to form the practice of Disruptive Design, which is the applied approach to designing creative interventions for positive social change.


the full disruptive design methodology 

The mental toolset

Through applying the Disruptive Design approach, one develops critical thinking and doing skills and tools for activating change through their own practice. 

Systems thinking

Systems thinking involves an ability to understand and explore the dynamic systems at play around us, seeing how they interconnect and influence the larger wholes.


Creative interventions

Creative interventions are personalized practices for dynamically designing and intervening in systems for positive social change. 


Reflexive thinking builds one's innate ability to think through the circular relationships between cause and effect. The practice of reflexivity helps to build creative autonomy.  

Critical analysis

Critical analysis uses clear and rational thinking to intellectually evaluate and synthesize information through observation, experience, reflection, and reasoning, all of which guide belief and action.