The Un-School of Disruptive Design is an experimental knowledge lab for creative rebels and change agents. We work with designers, artists, innovators, social entrepreneurs and world-changing-types to curate programming that re-orients the way we see, react and participate in the world around us. We are all about activating positive social change through design. Our emerging leaders program pops up all over the world to tackle hyper-local sustainability issues.
WHAT IS THE UN-SCHOOL?
The Un-School of Disruptive Design is a value and agenda driven social enterprisethat seeks to inspire, engage and provoke positive change through creative interventions and unique educative experiences. Our mission is to activate creative leadership for social and environmental change. We develop programs for emerging leaders, established professionals and the wider creative community.
We were founded to help fill what we see as a 'knowledge/action gap' that exists between one knowing there are probelms and one having the mental models and skills to actively find and design solutions.
Our unique Disruptive Design Methodology is designed to offer fresh approaches to skill development and knowledge transfer in activated social change. Founded on the three knowledge pillars of systems, sustainability and design, we build fascinating classes that don't exist anywhere else and challenge the status quo.
THE UN-SCHOOL EMERGING LEADERS FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM
programs are designed to empower emerging leaders to expand their mental
toolsets, develop strong connections with likeminded people from around the
globe, and activate their leadership skills. This opportunity is perfect for
the misfits and mavericks of positive change, for the curious and for those who
are perhaps a little ‘stuck’ in their current positions. We invite people from
a wide variety of professional, educational, and experiential backgrounds, and
provide an immersive and highly engaging environment for activating
THE UN-SCHOOL KNOWLEDGE PILLARS
The Un-School is based on 3 critical knowledge pillars: Systems, Sustainability, and Design. We believe that these are the foundations of any strong changemaking practice. Our classes, content and curriculum are designed to facilitate deeper understanding of the systems that make up the world, and of ways in which we can integrate social, economic and environmental sustainability into the decision making and design of projects, products, services and interventions. As a whole, and with each individual bit, the Un-School learning experiences are designed to enable and activate participants to effectively create positive social change.
THE UN-SCHOOL EMERGING LEADERS FELLOWSHIP OBJECTIVES
The Un-school is an experimental knowledge lab focused on creating unique experiences that enable creative contributions to critical social and environmental issues.
Systems, Sustainability and Design are the three foundational theoretical pillars that the Un-School is based on. These are combined to provide a holistic approach to systemic intervention design, for active participation in creative cultural change.
For each fellowship program, we select an international cohort of 12-16 emerging leaders that are eager to sharpen their thinking and doing skillsets for creating positive social and environmental change.
We take a critical pedagogy approach, meaning that the educators are immersed in the active learning experience just as much as the fellows. Our mentors act as hosts on the learning journey as they curate knowledge sharing experiences based on what they have done, what they have learned, and what toolsets have helped them to achieve their goals.
Action research and active participation are the key methods through which the Un-School operates. Everyone involved participates in the creation of the experience. The framework we provide is fleshed out based on the skills and experiences of our fellows as well as the responsive design and curation by our organizing team, host and mentors.
We know change is constant and we embrace chaos as we curate experiences to evoke positive change outcomes.
THE OVERARCHING PRINCIPLES
The Un-School is based on several key principles that influence the design and curation of the experiences. These principles apply to the overarching concept and to each cohort of fellows:
The Un-School is a collaborative learning environment for adults. All fellows are responsible for their own personal learning experience within the larger experience, which is designed to meet the collective needs of the group.
Each fellow joins a cohort with the objective to share, learn and contribute with their group, and with the wider community through the work they do.
Fellows come from a diverse range of professional and cultural backgrounds but share the explicit desire to actively participate in the creative production of a more equitable and sustainable world.
Fellows join a cohort with the intention of being challenged, and are open to evolving their current practices in more creative and active ways.
Covering key content across Systems, Sustainability and Design, each Un-School fellowship is a designed experience that provides fellows with mental toolsets and creative intervention frameworks. The fellows are responsible for interpreting and applying these learnings in their own work.
The week is driven by four key mechanics: intensive mentor workshops, creative food experiences, peer-to-peer learning challenges, and immersive experiences. Each of these components are weaved together in the creation a week-long intensive experience that is designed to provoke, challenge, reward, excite and disrupt the status quos of thinking.
WHO ARE THE UN-SCHOOL FELLOWS AND HOW ARE THEY SELECTED?
The emerging leaders that apply for our fellowship programs are engaged creative rebels and change agents, usually between the ages of 23 and 38 years old. They are passionate about making a difference through their personal and professional lives and come from a diverse range of cultural, socio-economic and professional backgrounds. Our cohorts are comprised of a mix of designers, researchers, community organizers, artists, entrepreneurs, social workers, intrapreneurs, educators, innovation specialists, academics and authors. We welcome college dropouts and PhDs alike. There is no educational requirement for fellows; the only prerequisite is that fellows demonstrate their commitment to participating in positive change and a willingness to develop flexible thinking mindsets that will help them activate others in their community.
Our three-week open application process invites potential fellows complete an online application, in which they indicate why they want to be involved, what they feel they can contribute to the experience, and what they will do with the new knowledge and experience after the fellowship concludes. We are very much focused on creating empowered leaders for activated social change, so we want to see that are fellows have the tenacity and desire to be a sustainability leaders, in their companies or through their projects. We get between 60 - 120 applicants competing for 12 - 16 places in the program for each fellowship. We have received applications from 24 countries across 6 continents. Our alumni community is currently 48 fellows strong and continues to grow with each new program we offer.
THE EDUCATIVE / LEARNING EXPERIENCE
The Un-School is designed around the Disruptive Design Methodology,
which uses three core approaches, Systems, Sustainability and Design, to
address critical social and environmental issues. The Methodology applies three
critical stages of creative problem solving: Mining, Landscaping and
Building. The Un-School Fellowship Week covers elements of the full curriculum
and teaches fellows critical and flexible thinking skills along with social
innovation, systems thinking, sustainability strategies, research
methodologies, design and communication skills, as well as leadership and
project activation approaches.
The Curator / Lead Educator is responsible for making sure that every
experience is embedded with a learning objective, and that the entire week has
a full circle experience for each fellow. We don't shy away from challenge and
encourage critical reflection as we guide the fellows through their learning
journeys. The week, from an educative perspective, is designed to provoke
thought, empart new skill sets, enable critical systems thinking, and empower
leadership skills. We are specially not interested in telling them what
to do; rather, we want them to use the week-long experience as an opportunity
to discover what they can do.
HOW FELLOWS APPLY
The week is
intentionally intense. Three days of intensive knowledge acquisition and high
octane mental experiences keep our fellows’ senses hyper alert. To catalyze
that energy, we challenge the fellows to apply their new knowledge set
immediately through our 24 Hour Design Challenge, which takes place on the
fifth and sixth day of the fellowship.
THE DESIGN CHALLENGE
Developed with a
client, this is a real-world design challenge that requires fellows to apply
disruptive design approaches to a sticky social or environmental issue. The
fellows are given a design brief, are placed in teams, and are given exactly 24
hours to develop design solutions that address the problem stated in the brief.
Mentors and lead educators are on hand to help throughout the challenge and,
when the 24 hours are up, the teams are each given 15 minutes to pitch their
ideas to a panel of judges (preferably made up of mentors and client
representatives). The high pressure environment challenges the fellows to apply
what they have learned, while mixing in their own pre-existing skillset and
finding ways to collaborate in solving a common quest.
Un-school makes people meet in real location for an intensive projects and solving global problems. This opens up ideas for disruptive designs especially bringing social innovations.