Help Laura Get to UnSchool! By Laura Taylor

Pledgeme projects

About Help Laura Get to UnSchool!

Project 2016-12-23 01:37:50 +1300

Help Laura get to the UnSchool of Disruptive Design
Emerging Leaders Fellowship
, 22-29 Jan 2017


UnSchool Emerging Leaders Fellowship 
Kia ora! I'm Laura Taylor: 

Practical Idealist + Creative Change-Maker
Human Espresso + Working Mum.

Have you ever noticed something that really bugged you, that you *really* wanted to change, but never felt you could? We've all been there, but for an improveaholic like me, an opportunity to learn the skills to make meaningful change happen is just unmissable.

So I'm super excited to have been selected for this fellowship for emerging leaders, in which I'll be learning the art, and science, of creative and sustainable changemaking for social impact.

Having done my O.E. years ago, I know that Kolkata, Madrid and Dublin are amazing, but there is no city I love more than this one. Christchurch is caring, cool, creative and collaborative. However, we are a young city, rebuilding and still growing up. So I want to enable Christchurch to be the best version of itself it can possibly be - particularly for Millennials and the generations to come.

But our world is changing. Our future needs will be quite different. At times we'll have to move away from the status quo, and that requires a new skillset that ordinary schooling doesn't teach you.
With Disruptive Design we can effectively create purposeful change at the "Systems Level". That is a new skillset I believe Christchurch city (and the world) needs much more of. (I hope one day to teach it to others too. :)

Guided and challenged by mentors who've been recognised by the UN Environmental programme, and worked with Richard Branson, we'll develop learning and skills from different areas like critical thinking, design, sustainability, systems thinking, prototyping, gamification and creative interventions. We will delve deeply into these areas, learn how they link to the 'Disruptive Design' methodology, and will apply this skillset to real world situations. 

I'm super grateful to be selected for this fellowship because I will be equipped to create sustainable change and positive social impacts in Christchurch for years. But doing this wouldn't be possible without the support of others.

Can you support me in my journey?  The fellowship costs USD $2,500 (about NZD $3,600) so with my young family all support will make a difference.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. So what exactly is the Fellowship About?

It's for Emerging Leaders who have an unstoppable passion for improving our world by re-thinking how, or why, we do/make/use things. How can we get better outcomes for people, for cities, for the environment?

To find answers for this, we actually need to do this re-thinking at the "Systems-Level" - instead of just looking at the little pieces of the puzzle like we usually do! 

Taking this "Systems" approach is also a powerful way to address big challenges like sustainability and social equity.

You can check out the Disruptive Design Method here.

2. Who is running the fellowship?

The UnSchool of Disruptive Design (based in New York) - check them out here.

3. Is the founder credible?


  • For her work as an influencer, UnSchool Founder Leyla Acaroglu received the UN Environmental Program's highest honour for science and innovation: 2016 'Champion of the Earth'.

  • Leyla's approach is one of the most-watched TED talks on sustainability - and she'll be one of our international mentors for the week.

4. Has the fellowship been held before? 

Yes. I'm part of the 6th Fellowship. Previous Fellowships were held in New York (Jun 15), Mexico City (Nov 15), Melbourne (Jan 16), Sao Paolo (Jun 16) and Berlin (Oct 16). Now it's Christchurch's turn! 

5. Why am I a good fit for this?

I believe I'm going into this as well-prepared as I could possibly be. The learning will draw on my science background, my creative brain, and my 10+ years of career in events, and enabling community and popup' projects.
I will be building on the creative and innovative work I've been involved in for years, but particularly since our earthquakes in 2010 and 2011. So far, I've influenced for the better:

  • our city's events calendar,
  • the city's support for experimental, community-led temporary projects,
  • the way we fund new community-led ideas, to place value on alternative currencies such as the contribution of volunteers and donated services,
  • positively shifted what we're getting in the construction hoardings imposing on our city, and
  • led incentives for property owners to get on board and support new ideas that use their unused spaces for a little while.

But I really want to shift the way we do things. And that needs a new kind of skillset that ordinary schooling doesn't teach you.

In Disruptive Design, I recognise a way to upscale the impact I can make.

6. What will I do with this that will help Christchurch?

Far from being 'change for change's sake', this new skillset is purpose-driven. 
I believe we can make more efficient and sustainable use of our resources, support our wellbeing better, and improve social equity.
But we need to influence these issues holistically, i.e., at the systems level.

Areas I want to explore/impact include:

  • the way we develop in our city,
  • how we build communities at a small, hyper-local scale, and
  • how communities engage in the 'Public Realm' (that's like the "shared living room" of the city).

Areas I will explore include:

  • values-led development, and
  • how we can give neighbourhoods more opportunity to impact, care for, and take responsibility for, the public realm.

These are the areas I think are most fertile for increasing our resilience, improving business and creating a great story for Christchurch that will help us keep talent at home.

However, Disruptive Design can be applied to any area.

6. Why not just do online courses instead of a Fellowship? 

The UnSchool does offer online courses (check them out here). However, the fellowship will be an intensive seven days immersed in learning with sixteen other amazing human beings from around the world, supported by mentors guiding and challenging our thinking.

In this setting, I will not only be shaped by the course, but by the mentors and the other participants.

I also recognise that since this Fellowship is being held in Christchurch, it's truly a once-in-a-lifetime chance to do the Fellowship at this cost - since I won't have to cover flights or accommodation!


If you're keen to support me in my journey, thank you! Please check out my rewards.


Lastly, please don't hesitate to let me know your ideas for something else I could offer.

(I'll also consider musical dares and custom-making a pledge for you using my musical talents...Just message me! :)


Yours Sincerely, 

Laura Taylor
Practical Idealist.

 Laura Taylor 







The People Behind Help Laura Get to UnSchool!

Picture?type=square&width=50&height=50 Laura Taylor Project admin

Kia ora!

I'm from Christchurch, where I've loved my work of over a decade influencing support for community-led creative initiatives.

My roles have spanned events production and development, city planning and urban design. I currently work as a placemaking advisor.

Fortunately, my broad studies have informed all this work. Things I've delved deeply into include life sciences, our city's special relationship with the utterly fascinating Antarctic sphere (incl. the related science and geopolitics), and how we express our civic identity through technology, events, arts and creative placemaking.

The city-building that's following on from our city's earthquakes in 2010/2011 inspires me on a daily basis.

I'm grateful to be part of it, but I really want to influence the way we do things. That's the area of systems change.

For that reason, I'm super-excited to be selected for the UnSchool of Disruptive Design in January 2017.


This will support my goal to effectively create systems-level change in my city of Christchurch.

This is no ordinary skillset! And its something ordinary schooling doesn't teach you.
But the ability to understand, propose and create change at the systems level is a skillset the world needs more of.

This isn't change for change's sake - it's a purpose-driven approach that can make real impacts around modern challenges like sustainability and social equity.

In my home city of Christchurch, I will use these skills to explore change such as bringing values-based approaches into city building and development. I believe this could make better use of resources, improve social equity, influence architecture, catalyse business clusters, support neighbourhood-building, spark sustainable public realm management and enable destination marketing with flow-on economic impacts to the region.

And I would be able to apply the Disruptive Design skills to any area to improve outcomes for people - as well as for our environment and city.



    We did it!!

    01:01PM Wed 11/01/17 on Help Laura Get to UnSchool!

    Now that I'm back in cell coverage I can see we did it!! Wow! Goal met!!  THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart to all of you in my community of supporters.

    It is an absolutely awesome feeling, having people believe in and support your goals and want to follow how you get on with them.

    And it makes me feel even stronger in my mission to learn and share the art + science of changemaking. I'm so looking forward to taking you guys on this journey with me - let's do this!!! Xxx

    Comment on this update:

    Please share: Another New Reward: "Songs for Change" - Commission a song for the special tiny humans in your lives.

    07:27PM Sun 08/01/17 on Help Laura Get to UnSchool!

    J. R. R. Tolkien was bang-on when he said:  "Even the smallest person can change the course of the future."

    So I created this new Pledge Reward - for your own tiny humans and the people who love them!  For your pledge of support, I will write your special little human a bespoke song just for them.

    In fact, I wrote my little guy a song just this afternoon. I'm sharing the lyrics to "OSCAR" with you here, so you can see what your support for me could mean for the smallest person in your mind. We also made a *very* lo-fi video (our first ever), just for kicks! Hubby Ben is working the magic sticking the right bits together this evening. I'll pop that up on YouTube later so do come back tomorrow (THE LAST DAY OF MY CAMPAIGN!!) to check it out.

    With love,


    Hello little boy, you are our pride + joy,
    Your name is Oscar. We call you: "Oscar".
    You are a wobbler. They call that "toddler".
    You know just when to laugh - though you're just 1&1/2
    And you blow raspberries, when you are teasing me.

    Oscar, Oscar...
    Oscar, Oscar...

    You have a sister, you just kissed her,
    For keeping you so cool, 'cos she took you to Cheeky School.
    You love planes + cars, dancing and drumming hard,
    And blowing bubbles. And family cuddles.


    You like soccer balls...Splashing in swimming pools.
    Taking rides & drives, and giving high-fives.
    We love that you love books. We love your cheeky looks.
    Though you can't jump yet - we know you'll love it.

    The golden curls that frame your face,
    Like Mozart's locks all outta place,
    Say "Oscar, 'Life is Not A Race! 
    Chase your dreams at your pace'..."


    Written by: Laura Tomlin, Eilidh Taylor, Ben Taylor.
    Music by: Laura Tomlin.
    (c) L. Tomlin, E. Taylor & B. Taylor. 8 Jan 2017.

    Comment Hootlet

    Comment on this update:

    Please share: New Equitable Reward for Change Agents of all Ages! "Name Your Change" :)

    07:20PM Sun 08/01/17 on Help Laura Get to UnSchool!

    I was thinking that there really should be an EQUITABLE pledge, SCALABLE to whatever one can afford, that would give a high return for people who are really interested in the idea of changemaking.

    What is the one change that you always wanted to see, that you never felt you could make happen all by yourself? Add it via comments after your pledge (of any amount $5 or more) - you can do this anonymously if you wish.

    I will share with my fellowship colleagues every wish in the collated "bucket list" of changes posted here. Of course I cannot promise to make that particular change happen, but I can apply the techniques I learn to it, and share it back, enabling others to discuss it. Perhaps then, it will be possible for you or someone else to take action on the issue.

    Here's an example: "We are a caring lot. I'd love for that to be easier to perceive when you visit town."

    Comment on this update:


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      Anonymous pledger
      2017-01-10 21:54:52 +1300

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      Tony Hale
      2017-01-10 21:54:28 +1300

      Tony Hale has pledged on 1 campaign

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      2017-01-10 21:16:04 +1300

      Fiona has pledged on 1 campaign

      “Go Laura!”

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      2017-01-10 20:51:24 +1300

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      Ranui Calman
      2017-01-10 20:47:23 +1300

      Ranui Calman has pledged on 1 campaign

      “Kia kaha Laura. Tau ke!”

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      2017-01-10 19:28:42 +1300

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      Sarah Boux
      2017-01-10 18:58:08 +1300

      Sarah Boux has pledged on 1 campaign

      “Good Luck Laura! You can do it :)”

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      Rene Heyde
      2017-01-10 18:17:19 +1300

      Rene Heyde has pledged on 2 campaigns

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      2017-01-10 17:02:45 +1300

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      2017-01-10 13:51:28 +1300

      Carl Douglas has pledged on 1 campaign

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      2017-01-10 12:50:35 +1300

      Neysa Koizumi has pledged on 1 campaign

      “good luck :-)”

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      Anna Jakes
      2017-01-10 09:07:56 +1300

      Anna Jakes has pledged on 2 campaigns

      “All the best Laura, sounds great xx”

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      Leonardo Vazquez
      2017-01-10 01:00:25 +1300

      Leonardo Vazquez has pledged on 1 campaign

      “Good luck and stay in touch”

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      2017-01-09 23:52:43 +1300

      Jürgli Bürgli has pledged on 4 campaigns

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      2017-01-09 22:28:48 +1300

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      Terry T
      2017-01-09 20:16:50 +1300

      Terry T has pledged on 1 campaign

      “Paid forward ”

      Sergey Tarasenko
      2017-01-09 20:11:04 +1300

      Sergey Tarasenko has pledged on 1 campaign

      “Good luck Laura!”

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      2017-01-09 20:08:42 +1300

      Femacoustica has pledged on 11 campaigns

      “All the Best!”

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      2017-01-09 20:00:54 +1300

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      Michael Bell
      2017-01-09 18:02:28 +1300

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      2017-01-09 09:43:46 +1300

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      Argene Montgomery-Honger
      2017-01-08 11:37:55 +1300

      Argene Montgomery-Honger has pledged on 4 campaigns

      “Go Laura, you inspirational thing you :-)”

      Camia Young
      2016-12-31 21:04:26 +1300

      Camia Young has pledged on 46 campaigns

      “You go girl! ”

      Juliet Taylor
      2016-12-31 15:51:53 +1300

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      Finn Ogle
      2016-12-31 15:12:32 +1300

      Finn Ogle has pledged on 1 campaign

      “Good luck Laura!”

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      Jasmine Archbold
      2016-12-31 11:13:48 +1300

      Jasmine Archbold has pledged on 1 campaign

      “Well done Laura, I love our city too, and wish you all the best! Jasmine”

      Followers of Help Laura Get to UnSchool!

      This project was successful and got its funding on 10/01/2017 at 10:00 PM.