Baba Residence

“Baba Residence” is one of the innermost dreams- come-true of Ideas Factory. We connect urban youth and elderly from different villages across Bulgaria in an innovative socially entreprenerial model which combines design thinking, ethnographic fieldwork skills and… the simple wisdom of a rural lifestyle – with a granny – for a period of 3 to 5 weeks!

We believe and proved in practice that, on one hand, those vibrant elderly, who we meet in the many-coloured Bulgarian villages, are able and want to bring forward traditions and cultural/ social practices that are about to become extinct. On the other hand, young urban people are open to learn from them and share knowledge and could contribute to reinstating the elderly from the villages as an active part of our society. In other words, you could have a granny/ a grandfather / a household with whom to share knowledge, skills and stories – one that could really find your daily help useful.

All the participants whose applications have been approved, firstly, go through an intense training on methods like human-centered design, social entrepreneurship and ethnographic fieldwork skills.

After their 1-month co-living with the elderly, the residents become a part of our Incubator for Baba-innovations. Then they can start working on individual or group social or cultural entrepreneurial ideas to help the villages and their dwellers – with the support of trust-worthy mentors!

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TANDEM Europe II – Social Innovation

Tandem Europe is an international cultural collaboration programme that strengthens civil society in Europe and neighbouring regions. The overall focus of the collaboration is the developing of social innovation through an international cultural perspective.

During their Tandem year, cultural-social initiators from all over Europe kick-start a long-term collaboration with a partner from abroad. Together, they design and test new ideas by realising a pilot project for their own local communities.
Tandem offers the space to develop real and meaningful visions by prototyping project ideas and building on new cross-border working relations. It establishes peer-to-peer contacts that are based on mutual societal concerns and cultural and artistic interests.

In 2017/ 2018 edition of the programme Ideas Factory is a part of the organisational team. In October 2017 in Sofia we hosted the first meeting of the future tandem couples – Partner Forum. We cooked the right conditions for a series of interactive activities thanks to which the teams were able to match each other. Our main parteners in this journey are 4iS (Portugal) and This Is Comm’on (Greece).


In 2016 Yanina from Ideas Factory was a Tandem participant together with Marina Makgou from Ohi Pezoume (Greece). After a year-long collaboration of them two with the help of their organisations and local artists they developed a design-thinking based methodology for exploration. Submerge to it HERE!

COMPETENDO – facilitators’ handbooks

How to inspire personal, professional and societal development?

Together with our strategic project partners from MitOst e.V. (Germany), Working Between Cultures (Germany), SKORO (Poland) and Sudwind (Austria) we developed a collection of well-tried innovative approaches and methods by trainers for trainers, teachers and facilitators.
The visible fruit of our interaction are the educational series of Competendo handbooks which combine theoretical and practical knowledge of diverse local contexts when it comes to facilitating needed social change.
All the editions explore different wider topics such as holistic learning, creativity and social change, facilitation by steps etc. Competendo is also a useful guide for activists and professionals in formal- and non-formal education and in civil society – for everyone, advocating for the ideas of empowerment and active citizenship.

The structure and content of the last Creativity & Social Change Handbook was mainly a responsibility of Ideas Factory.

All the handbooks and other educational materials are available for free at competendo.net



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 1st until November 3rd 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 is much more than an event. It’s a Place. Process. Game.

Youth Exchanges

Just within 2012, thanks to our extensive network of partner organizations, Ideas Factory prepared and sent 38 people for international participation in more than 12 training courses, youth exchanges and seminars in Europe and the Middle East.

Topics: Fair Trade, Poverty and Marginalization, Global Education, Alternative Economies, Human Rights and others, under the “Youth in Action” Programme of the European Commission.

In 2013 we intensify our partnerships with the Balkans and Romania on various topics related to non-formal education and youth participation in decision making. In 2013 we are sending Bulgarian participants in Africa for the first time. The topic is Community Arts & Forum Theater and as for the results – you will see them in Sofia and Burgas.

Follow the Ideas Factory’s FB page for new training opportunities and inclusion in our youth network!

Social Innovation Challenge

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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.

Find more information about the project: http://changeis.bg