New intern – new banitsa (traditional Bulgarian pastry) ;))
This is turning into something like a tradition at the Factory – especially when it comes to making our international interns feel at home.
In September 2016, Asta from Lithuania, one very charming creature, contacted us for the first time. She was our first international intern.
In January this year, while she was doing her university research, Frederic from Quebec, Canada found us and here she is. That’s how she decided to introduce herself:
In time of crisis arises a special need of rethinking and reorganizing our environment in order to meet the social needs and deficits which are visible under the weakened system of governance. These social deficits can be filled and that is why the Ideas Factory started working on EMPATHEAST: Forum for Social Change and Open Education in Eastern Europe. The main objective of EMPATHEAST to firmly put Bulgaria and the Balkans on the world map of social innovation and social entrepreneurship. As a region which deals with a dysfunctional political, economic and social system on a daily basis, the Balkans are a unique ground where social innovation can solve old challenges in a new way.
For three days from November 14th until November 16th EMPATHEAST will gather together leading lectors and practitioners in the field of social change in order to create a space in which we will learn from each other, experiment with creating new models and celebrate the availability of approaches such as Design Thinking and Art of Hosting in a non-conference format. During the Forum, Plovdiv will become the setting in which seemingly foreign subjects will be transformed into pleasant and accessible starting points for reflection. EMPATHEAST will challenge your creativity for social change through lectures, installations, games, concerts and performances, stimulating collective intelligence and systems thinking. It will demonstrate the meaning of “public visioning” (creating a shared vision) and will reflect on intuitive and empathic leadership, self-organizing civil systems, ethical finance, energy independence, human centered design.
EMPATHEAST will be much more than an event. It’s a Place. Process. Game.
Ladies and gentlemen, we present you … EMPATHEAST!
From 14th till 16th of November in Plovdiv “Ideas Factory” Association organizes the first Forum for Social Change through empathy and open education in Eastern Europe.
In order to put Bulgaria on the map of social innovation and to stimulate the collective intelligence and systems thinking, Empatheast provokes creativity for social change with lectures, installations, games and performances by some of the most daring visionaries in the field.
We would like also to brag with our guest speakers: Miha Pogacnik (Vienna / Ljubljana), Patricia Munro (New York / Munich), Jason Nardi (NY / Bologna), Jeffrey Beeson (Panama / Munich), Ralph Böhlke (Brussels / Berlin), Agota Ruzsa (Budapest), Filka Sekulova (Barcelona / Sofia), Diana Dimitrova (Hamburg), Guus Geisen (Amsterdam) and the initiatives “Good bag” (Belgrade) and KartofelKombinat (Bavaria).
As a part of the preparation for EMPATHEAST we challenge you to show how art becomes a tool for change and communication of the meaning of the word Empathy with our Art Innovation Challenge! The challenge which will send you to an unexpected location in Plovdiv, to create a performance, installation, exhibition, action, game, intervention in urban area, that show how a maximum number of people can participate in the creation of a shared vision for the minimum time, stimulating collective intelligence in the city and their communities.
The access to the forum will be on a “Pay as you wish” principle where everybodywill be able to decide how much to pay compared to the feeling and the knowledge that he accumulated during the forum
While we are soaking wet and shivering thanks to the rain outside, our envoys visited the enchanting Portuguese town Amarante. No, they were not on vacation. “Ideas Factory” is a proud partner in the project “EUROMED CHALLENGE: be a change maker!“, which was held from 15th to 23rd of October. 24 players, 4 countries, young people between 18 and 25 years – how does it sound?
The project aims to promote the values of solidarity, mutual understanding and peace-building through informal educational methods related to human rights. Using music as an essential tool theteam stimulates the artistic spirit, imagination, improvisation and creativity through challenges in the young people.
Here is what the leader of the Bulgarian group Lina shared: “We are recording a song, shooting a video and preparing aflashmob. The rest of the time is for role plays and discussions, conducting surveys among the local population. The theme of all these are the Human rights. The pleasant surprise is that we all think the same way, regardless of colour, religion, etc. So the cultural clash is lacking so to say. We even understand each other very well and all are great!”
The two-day format of the Changemakers Academy–Academy S took over Vratsa. On 11th and 12th October the Youth House brought together participants from all over Bulgaria to show that mission “Change” is possible everywhere.
Our motley Vratsa class (consisting from students of Junior Achievement to a consultant from the “Strategies and Innovation” department) was involved in the Academy S by the methods used by “Ideas Factory”. Systems thinking, World caffe, Ideas Lab – ideynitsa, empathic leadership … and a night challenge are just some of the things which the academics experienced. We also had a guest speaker, of course –from the social enterprise “Bee”, that told us more about the subtleties of the craft.
We liked Vratsa a lot. And we decided to go back and organize a Social innovation challenge for the Northwest. When, how and why – will be heard! ;)
Now we are headed to Plovdiv for Empatheast – Forum for Social Change and open education in Eastern Europe!
More information about the Forum – HERE.
Our Changemakers academy in Burgas is now a history. Between the 4thand 7thSeptember “Ideas Factory” gathered at the seaside a colourful group of enthusiasts who are not indifferent to the needs of the world around us.
For a few days the new academicians entered the world of systems thinking, empathetic leadership, social entrepreneurship, and more and more … And this time we didn’t go through the night without challenge! We will only give you a hint – Sea,fisherman’s village, boat, bird fair … we will leave it to your imagination to guess what adventure they were involved in.
During our favourite World Cafe we mixed them in an open discussion with representatives of various institutions and organizations, and of course, the ideas were not late!
The participants surprised us with their personal projects: production of bio-fertilizer in Hadzhidimovo, Kazanlak; composting at a park in Studentski Grad, Sofia; extracurricular classes in Musicology; artistic intervention in the urban environment; reducing stress at the workplace; enhancing the visual culture and civic activism at a local level.
If you identify yourself as an agent for change, there is still time to sign up for the Changemakers Academy in Vratsa from 2nd to5th October! The three coolest ideas will receive a full scholarship!
From 21st to 24th of August on the shores of Golyam Beglik lake for the sixth time we will challenge the traditional views of our way of life, our culture of consumption, the system in which we operate and our musical tastes. Beglika Festival marks the big return with a message of participatory democracy and the power of collective intelligence to solve challenges.
A special beglika currency will mark the vision of the festival to rethink our economic system, which reflects the most in its latest initiative with the “Ideas Factory” – Forum Metamorphoses. The innovative forum will be a “fair” of all forms that stimulate collective creativity and general intelligence on the latest and current issues in the culture and education areas as well.
Betting on the forms that give space to the searching people to play and create together, this new concept of the festival is the main line in its sixth edition.
The audience will be in the role of creator of the unique festival and can not just “consume” the experience, but can create it, for example it can participate in interactive installations and create new Beglika charter in the highest state of togetherness in the temple of collective intelligence – Forum Metamorphoses, which will include the daring vanguard of the social change in Bulgaria and more than 50 speakers, reforming education, economy and culture in Bulgaria.
Forum Theatre is one of the love affairs of “Ideas Factory” and one of the greatest methods of empowerment in our humble opinion! So after we spent the last year using it on decreasing the aggression in school and dealing with problems such as “gentrification” (ask Google about it J), recently we devote our efforts on spreading this incredibly effective method outside of Sofia. From July 31st to August 3rd we were in Plovdiv, where we hope to start a new Forum Theatre group. We worked mainly on topics related to the educational system that our heart goes out to.
Led by marine excitement, Ideas Factory berthed in Bourgas.
And don’t try to picture us spending our time on the beach with a drink in hand…
Truth is we had an important mission – to present Changemakers Аcademy in front of our sea friends. On a breezy July evening the outside space of bar Barboss became filled with people we immediately recognized as changemakers. After we told them how well the Academy went in Plovdiv, the premiere of the video about the first edition from 2014 of this favorite project of ours took place. Coming soon on your screens also!
If you’re willing to make a change also, we remind you that the next Academy will happen in Bourgas (4-7th of September). More information at changemakersacademy.net
What’s next, you ask? We’ll sail away to Vratsa (2-5th of October)
Six of the teams that participated in the Social Innovation Challengewill receive a full scholarship for the upcoming Changemakers Academy.
The challenge is a project of Ideas Factory that brings together people, willing to help in solving a socially significant problem and people, who need such a decision and are willing to actively participate in it. The model is the basis of the so-called social entrepreneurship, particularly popular around the world in the recent years.
Over 100 people with about 30 ideas were involved in the first ever Social Innovation Challenge. On April 11that 00:00 pm the missions were handed out in Plovdiv, Burgas, Varna, Stara Zagora and Sofia. The teams had three days to face real challenges and find solutions to problems from various areas – citizens and administration, poverty, corruption, circumambience and urbanenvironment, youth employment, working with communities, access to culture.
Although completely different from one another, all missions met the general criteria – go at the heart of the problem, think, mobilize your unusual ideas, create innovative, realistic and applicable solution within 72 hours, presentyour idea to an audience, ready to help with its implementation.
On the 15th of April the solutions to the given problems according to the participants in the Social Innovation Challengewere presented in each of the mentioned cities. With the help of a jury Ideas Factory chose six teams who will receive full scholarships to the next initiative of Changeis.bg–the Changemakers Academy that will take place in June, September and October at various locations in Bulgaria with speakers from around the world.
Using the already formed IDEAS BANK, Ideas Factory will mediate between the participants and potential investors in the realisation of their good ideas – donor organizations and private companies willing to support the teams in the implementation of their decisions.