Learn the Disruptive Design Method


The Disruptive Design Method (DDM) offers creatives and non-creatives alike the practical skills and mental tools that support activating positive change. By learning the three key phases of Mining, Landscaping and Building in this 6-week sprint, you'll rapidly upskill with practical and immediate knowledge that you can put to use on your projects right away. Our method sets you up with design research, systems thinking, and creative development skills to create positive social and environmental disruptions for a circular and sustainable future.



    In this phase, we do deep participatory research, suspend the need to solve, avoid trying to impose order, and embrace the chaos of any complex system we are seeking to understand. The tools of this phase are: research, observation, exploration, curiosity, wonderment, participatory action, questioning, data collection, and insights. This can be described as diving under the iceberg and observing the divergent parts that enable us to understand a problem arena in more detail.


    This is where we take all the parts that we uncovered during the Mining phase and start to piece them together to form a landscaped view through systems mapping and exploration. Insights are gathered, and locations of where to intervene in the system to leverage change are identified. The tools for this phase are: systems mapping (cluster, interconnected circles, etc.), dynamic systems exploration, synthesis, emergence, identification, insight gathering, and intervention identification.


    This is the creative ideation phase that allows for the development of divergent design ideas that build on potential intervention points to leverage change within the system. The goal is not to solve but to evolve the problem arena you are working within so that the status quo is shifted. Here we use a diversity of ideation and prototyping tools to move through a design process to get to the best-fit outcome for your intervention.



The DDM is specifically interested in designing systems interventions that amplify positive social and environmental impact. The Disruptive Design Method is based off an in-depth 12-part methodology of well-established scientific arenas of inquiry from sustainability, change-making, creative and science-based disciplines, cognitive sciences, and sociology. They all fit together to form the foundations for the 3-part process you will learn in this 6-week sprint!
the disruptive design method


  • Multimedia Lessons

    With a blend of reading and engaging video content, you will be able to see , read and hear all the basics that you need to get you going from the first day. Join the community app to get peer feedback!

  • How-To Worksheets

    Take all the knowledge and background and put it into action with these clear, practical and quick how-to activity sheets that clearly apply what you just learned so you can take it into your next projects immediately.

  • Rapid Learning

    Short on time but want to rapidly upskill your creative change-making capacity? Take this 6-week sprint and do a quick 20min a day to get you leveled up to the Disruptive Design Method.

The 6 Week DDM Sprint Curriculum

Week by Week Content

  • 01

    Introduction to the Disruptive Design Sprint

  • 02

    Preparing for your sprint

    • Get Motivated

    • Do: Set your learning goals with our motivation & self-accountability quiz

    • About the Activities

    • Download: The Disruptive Design Method Handbook

    • Download the DDM Activity Workbook

  • 03

    Week 1: Overview of the DDM and Making Change

    • Week 1 Overview

    • The Disruptive Design Approach

    • Overview of Appying the DDM

    • Listen: Full Overview of the Disruptive Design Method Podcast

    • Activity Week 1A: Initial Reflection and Action Summary

    • Download: Initial DDM Refection and Summary Worksheets

    • Read: Making Change

    • Watch: Agnecy Activation

    • Read: Loving Problems

    • Activity Week 1B: Define a Problem Arena

    • Download: Define a Problem Worksheet

    • Activity Week 1C: Write a Research Question

  • 04

    Week 2: The Foundations Systems, Sustainability & the Circular Economy

    • Week 2 Overview

    • Watch: Overview of the Circular Economy, Systems and Sustainability

    • Read: Framing Sustainability?

    • Watch: Why Consider Sustainability in Organizations?

    • Read: Ecological Footprints

    • Activity Week 2A: Measure Your Ecological Footprint

    • Read: About the Circular Economy

    • Read: From the Linear to the Circular Economy

    • Watch: Adopting a Systems Perspective

    • Read: Developing a Systems Mindset

    • Read: The 3 Key Systems at Play

    • Activity Week 2B: 3 Systems at Play Activity

    • Download: 3 Systems at Play Worksheet

    • Watch: Life Cycle Thinking

    • Read: Life Cycle Thinking

    • Read: Life Cycles Stages

    • Activity Week 2C: Life Cycle Map

    • Download: Life Cycle Map Activity Sheet

  • 05

    Week 3: DDM Mining Stage

    • Week 3 Overview

    • Watch: Introduction to the Mining Phase

    • The Mining Phase

    • Read: Why Research Is so Important

    • Read: Participatory Action Research

    • Watch: Doing Good Research

    • Reflexive Thinking

    • Read: The Iceberg Model

    • Read: Reflexive & Critical Thinking

    • Activity Week 3A: Developing Reflexive Thinking

    • Download: Reflexive Thinking Activity Worksheet

    • Watch: X-Mapping

    • Activity 3B: X Mapping

    • Download: X Map Worksheet

    • Activity Week 3C: Develop a Research Plan

    • Download: Develop a Research Plan Worksheet Option 1

    • Download: Action Research Plan Worksheet

    • Download: Research Plan Worksheet Option 2

  • 06

    Week 4: DDM Landscaping Phase

    • Week 4 Overview

    • Watch: Introduction to the Landscaping Phase

    • Read: The Landscaping Phase

    • Read: Seeing Systems

    • Watch: Systems Thinking 101

    • Watch: Introduction to Systems Dynamics

    • Read: System Feedback Loops

    • Watch: Systems Mapping

    • Read: Systems Maps

    • Activity Week 2A: Do Cluster Map

    • Download: Cluster Map Instruction Sheet

    • Activity 4B: Interconnected Circles Maps

    • Activity Week 4b: Connected Circles Map Instruction Sheet

    • Activity Week 3C: Seeking Insights

    • Read: Leverage Points

  • 07

    Week 5: DDM Building Phase

    • Week 5 Overview

    • Read: The Building Phase

    • Watch: Introduction to the Building Phase

    • Read: Designing Systems Interventions

    • Watch: Ideation and Creativity

    • Read: Ideation and Creative Development

    • Read: The 10 Golden Rules of Ideation

    • Activity Week 5A: Rapid Ideation

    • Download: Ideation Worksheets

    • Read: Prototyping

    • Watch: Gamification

    • Read: Gamification?

    • Read: 4 M's of Gamifed Experience Design

    • Activity Week 5B: Gamification Design

    • Download: Gamification Worksheets

    • Activity Week 5C: Stakeholder Map

    • Download: Stakeholder Values Map Worksheet

    • Additional Download: Circular ReDesign and Post Disposable Worksheet

  • 08

    Week 6: Putting it all together and taking action

    • Week 6 Overview

    • Watch: Agency & Sphere of Influence

    • Read: Turning Ideas into Action

    • Read: Identifying & Overcoming Inaction

    • Activity Week 6A: Developing an Activation Plan

    • Download: Activation Plan Worksheet

    • Read: Theory of Change

    • Activity Week 6B: Theory of Change

    • Download: Theory of Change Worksheet

    • Watch: Ethics and Integrity

    • Activity Week 6C: Develop your Personal Ethics & Code of Conduct

    • Download: Personal Code of Conduct Worksheet

    • Read: Getting Projects off the Ground

    • Watch: Mastering Change

    • Read: Change Leadership

  • 09


    • Reflect on your motivation & self-accountability with our follow up quiz

  • 10

    Next Steps

    • Congratulations!

    • Congratulations and Get your Certificate of Completion

    • Access and share your Certificate of Completion

Dr. Leyla Acaroglu

Meet UnSchool Founder and Course Facilitator

Sustainability provocateur, award-winning designer, 2016 UNEP Champion of the Earth, and creative changemaker pioneer, Dr. Leyla Acaroglu challenges people to think differently about how the world works. As the founder of the UnSchool and creator of the Disruptive Design Method, Leyla weaves together her skills as a designer, sociologist, and social entrepreneur to create highly immersive educative experiences. She is a renowned international expert on systems thinking and sustainability, running workshops around the world and designing activating experiences, gamified toolkits, and unique educational experiences that help equip people with the tools to intervene and change systems to make the status quo obsolete. Sought after for her unique approach to activating positive social change by design, Leyla's main-stage TED talk on sustainability has been viewed over a million times, and she is the author of several handbooks, as well as an op ed contributor for major publications like the New York Times.

Dr. Leyla Acaroglu

UnSchool Founder + Global Change Maker

Dr. Leyla Acaroglu

Meet UnSchool Founder and Course Facilitator

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