You can’t make a village with just one house or How to save the Bulgarian villages

You can’t make a village with just one country house, that’s what they told us in the Rhodope village Manastir. People there are full of bright thoughts and positive attitude, perhaps because they see everything from above – after all Manastir is the highest situated village in Bulgaria. We went there and also to a few more villages in the area, to meet the local people and their everyday life, talk about the crafts, which are still alive and what each village needs. Just a week later there was an emergency situation there due to the snow, which brought out even more questions and problems than we mentioned during our meetings with the local mayors.

This mobilized us to start thinking how to bring the most appropriate people to our new project “Baba Residence”. Our dream is to connect the potential of unemployed young people with the knowledge of the elderly in one innovative social- entrepreneurial model, in which we will use design thinking, competences in ethnological researches and… in the village…. In the Rhodope Mountains – with a granny – for four to six weeks during this summer!

If you are interested in finding out more about “Baba Residence”, on the 26th of March we will be in “Bibliotekata” club in Plovdiv at 19:30 o’clock. Find more about the event – here!

EEA_Grants_JPG_4642_1-150x150The project “Baba Residence” is financed through the “NGO Programme in Bulgaria under the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area 2009-2014”. Our partners are Association for Anthropology, Ethnology and Folklore studies “Ongal” and Foundation “Plovdiv 2019”.

Ideas Factory and “Make a school” challenged everyone with a national conference about education

We keep digging in the topic about the educational system in Bulgaria, because we think we know where the key to the door is. That is why as a part of the initiative “Make a school”, in which the Ideas Factory is a partner, on the 28th February we organized a National conference about the free development of education. More than 60 people attended, representing different social spheres and roles in the Bulgarian school – teachers, principals, parents, organizations, working in the sphere of informal education, reformation and liberalization of the education in Bulgaria.
We involved the participants in our favorite World Cafe and we all came up with the idea for the creation of a Human manifesto for Education.

Our Forum Theatre is looking for new additions!

The Ideas Factory is looking for people who want to be part of our forum theatre group! Yep, again this year we have in mind changing the world. From our establishment up to this day we have been working at urgent problems at the Women’s market, the Capital High school, Psychodrama fest and as a part from the “Metamorphosis” forum at Beglika fest. The group will gather together at least once a week and will sometimes travel around the country. We will be happy if you write to us, whether you have time for our evening meetings during the work days. Experience with Forum theatre is also a benefit. If you have only heard of this method, but you think it would suit you and you want to start important social discussions and changes through it, you can also write to us.

The application form is here.

The deadline for application is: until 5th of March 2015

Dance with Ideas factory!

“Dance with me” is one of the new inspirations for the Ideas factory! From 11th to 20th of June in Karlovo city, 29 young and active people from Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Israel, Greece, Georgia and the Netherlands, will experiment with techniques of the modern dance and will find out how to use them in their work with groups, where the student is in the center on the process. In this training there will be group rehearsals, discussions and open workshops, attracting local young people, and a few performances in the city, and why not outside it too?
If you want to participate, write to us at, so that we could send you more information.

Egyesek – Dance training from Egyesek on Vimeo.

The “Ideas Factory” project is financed by the Erasmus+ program of the European Union.


The PRICE space has filled the Ideas Factory

“PRICE space” is the newest initiative of the Ideas Factory, born from the desire to share what we have learned from our participation in the project PRICE (Promoting Responsible Investment and Commerce in Europe). Our first meeting gathered people of different professions, brought together by their interest in fair trade and ethical finance.
But what does “ethical finance” mean? In order not to be empty worded, Vyara Ivanova attended he meeting – a financier by profession and a “(ideas) factory worker” by heart, part of the team of Price project in Bulgaria, who explained what ethical financing is and we also discussed different global examples like the work of Banca Ethica, platforms for crowd funding, SIB (social impact bonds) and others. If all this sounds too abstract to, but you would like to see ethical banks in Bulgaria and production getting to you by fair trade, feel invited to come! The next meeting will be held on the 9th of February (awaiting confirmation), you can find more information and state your participation on the Facebook space of PRICE.

Play Away! Our new year has started with Basic Synergy Training in Croatia.

“New year – new adventures!” – That’s what we told ourselves and ended up in Croatia! From the 6th to the 15th of January in maritime Rijeka, a part of our team took part in the project “Play Away!”. And we were not disappointed! The organizers from Syncro – Synergy Croatia had prepared one unforgettable experience for all 27 participants from 6 countries – Croatia, Poland, The Czech Republic, Italy, Cyprus and Bulgaria.
We discussed topics, crafted, managed to unfold ourselves, created provocations, realized what we want and how to achieve it. We played with different theatre techniques and tried out new methods for self-expression. During the 10 intensive days we met colorful people from different cultures and most of all – we faced ourselves, with all fears and established stereotypes, which define our comfort zone. But what exactly happened – we can’ tell! We made a vow of silence : ) And we also don’t want to spoil the surprise, if you decide to try some Basic Synergy Training!

The world avant-garde of social innovation arrives for EMPATHEAST

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

The seats are limited, so hurry up, register and find us on Facebook!

Youth Exchange “EUROMED CHALLENGE: be a change maker!”

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!”

Ah, Amarante, Amarante …

Academy S took over the Northwest

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.

Maritime Changemakers academy

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!