(S)Election is the final project for the “academics” from the first Academy for Social Change at the „Ideas Factory” Association. The game is part of the events in the 10th International MitOst Festival and the first in the series of “Gamification for Social change”! (S)Election is your choice to live differently – not above the rules, but beyond them. In Elias Canetti’s native house in Ruse we prepared ourselves a Reality Check: How would you live your life if you could try alternatives to your current choices in the protected environment of a … game? How would you earn a living? How would you raise your children? How would you work, study, have fun? How would you live if reality does not put you in frames? And really, who can put you in a frame?

You can learn what we did in the first Changemakers Academy here:


LEAD International – the most well established network of leaders for sustainable development in the world – for the first time realized a “sustainability challenge” in Eastern Europe at the invitation of the Ideas Factory. The international event was a unique opportunity for a new way of interaction between people from different sectors with experience and interest in the complex topic “sustainable development”. The area that was chosen as sufficiently problematic was “Bulgarian Energetics” or an aspirationally more sustainable energy mix for our country, decentralization and elimination of monopolies and corruption. After a successful brain-storming of the interdisciplinary team that ended with World Cafe-event in British Council and exploration of the Sofia mysteries … here we are again with great news:
LEAD chose Bulgaria and Ideas Factory to host the Pan-European meeting “Leadership for Sustainability in Urban Development” in April 2013.

WHEN: 13 – 17.10.2012

WHERE: Sofia


Ideas Factory hosted a meeting of the South East European Youth Network (SEEYN). Apart from creating pleasant conditions for sharing Albanian Skanderbeg Cognac and Serbian “lozovaca”, the meeting made three things clear:

First – almost all of the participants in the Balkan Network have managed to establish volunteer or youth cultural center. Why hasn’t this happened in Bulgaria, as it has in Serbia, Albania, Montenegro and Croatia?

Second – European funding needs democratization for countries like ours, where youth organizations don’t have the administrative and financial capacity to comply with the current requirements such as “EUR 300 000 personal contribution” (Yeah, right!).

Oh, and third – Prici srbski da te bio celi svijat razumje!

Otherwise, our participation in the network is an extremely valuable resource for all those within the network of the Factory that have the opportunity to travel around the Balkans and receive training in various topics. We will gladly direct you towards awesome organizations for quality volunteering throughout the PeninsulA.

WHEN: 07 – 09.12.2012

WHERE: Plovdiv

Changemakers Academy

The Academy for Social Change or Changemakers Academy is probably the boldest venture of the Ideas Factory. It gathers everything that you have learned and want to share and all the people whose opinions we consider audacious and valuable. All challenges are collected in one methodology that teaches you to be … um … changemaker. We created it because we live in a society dominated above all by change, yet few people are prepared to defend their own group interests or those of another group of people in a beautiful way.

We noticed that the basic concepts of effectiveness and impact on the environment are not known to those who want to change our world for the better. We believe that the combination of the development of one’s personal potential, getting acquainted with the latest conceptual models for social change and the development of leadership skills is of great importance for our society today.

Training modules throughout 2012 were held in different parts of Bulgaria, where we were able in practice to see and work with the challenges facing local communities. Thus, participants had the opportunity to directly influence the processes taking place in our society. Those who have completed all 4 modules of the Changemakers Academy have access to a palette of techniques, concepts, lecturers, contacts and resources through which they can catalyze the realization of their innovative but also well-grounded bold ideas – ideas that have the potential to be systematic solutions to serious social problems.

You can find further information at:


In June, the 2011 in Sofia the spirit of Irakli settled at the place of

the Mausoleum through architect Silvia Aytova’s diploma project called UTOPIA BOX – an idea conceived together with Ideas Factory. The pavilion unfolded like a lifeguard’s tower for our utopias and a real space for the otherwise invisible fantasies about another possible world. The project was inspired by the possible alternatives to further constructions on our Black Sea coast and the specific plans for Irakli and Emona. It arranged for a utopian and at the same time very real journey into the world of eco-friendly architecture, ecological building and inspired art. UTOPIA BOX transferred one reality to a different place in order to provoke the public to be a participant. The pavilion opened and area for debates under the “roof” of the spirit of Irakli that had materialized at the place of the Mausoleum in a symbolic lifeguard tower and magical space where its function in the interaction with people was co-creation of new realities. The project is also part of the Factory’s efforts to create and participate in the creation of tools for “public visioning”.

TEAM : The creation of the space around the pavilion is a joint project of architect Silvia Aytova, civil group “Let’s Save Irakli” and the “Ideas Factory” Association.

WHEN: 5, 6 and 7 June 2011

WHERE: The location of the Mausoleum in Sofia

Creativity for Social Change

The training and the people from “Creativity for Social Change” were the beginning of the true mass fabrication of fabricators – quality, long-term committed and inspired people who work within a network to change the world around them for the better. This is also the historic predecessor of Changemakers Academy, more focused on spontaneity and creativity and in a more intensive and short format.

To create the format of „Creativity for Social Change” we started with a question – What would happen if people with enthusiasm for change and a strong value system have the opportunity get more systematical acquainted with the techniques for filtration of quality ideas, with the practical skills for leading social processes, with the methods for increasing the effectiveness of their work and most of all – with others like them?

So we started building a network of “fabricators” with genius ideas and great qualities, who support each other while making the world more colorful, adequate to the challenges it faces and more empathic. We found that human potential is the only infinite resource on this planet. The unique methodology developed for the series “Creativity for Social Change” has become a trademark and a face of “Ideas Factory”. The numerous subsequent projects, that directly resulted from the training, proved that the cocktail of promoting the personal development of the “agents of change”, facilitating the interaction between them and the mentoring program that aids the projects initiated as a result, is actually a combination – a catalyst and a process that leads to real change.

If the people, who are motivated to change the world, find tools to unleash their imagination, to call forth their spontaneity and to allow themselves to experiment through play with ideas and systems, this will inevitably lead to purebred social innovation.
Check our calendar for the next training!

WHEN: March 2010 – ongoing

TEAM: Yanina Taneva, Benita Primo, Sasha Vitanova, Alexandra Yotsova

WHERE: Sofia

David De Kock

David De Kock created a real furor in Sofia, showing us what it is like to use the well developed by the business tools for non-profit needs or social entrepreneurship.
Who is David? Why we invited him to Bulgaria? Why will invite him again?

His seminars reap success across the Netherlands and Mid-western Europe. They are described as invigorating “kick” towards personal and organizational development that unlocks the potential for what you actually want. David’s program “Success is a Personal Creation” is focused on: what is social entrepreneurship and can there be a business that satisfies our personal quests, our moral views and protects the environment? In his workshop we learned how three important words arrange every personal and organizational development strategy: talent, passion, need.

TEAM: David De Kock + Factory team

WHEN: 30.09 – 01.10.2011

WHERE: Sofia “Krasno Selo” Cultural Center

Women’s Market

At the initiative of Nikola Venkov (one of the first “fabricators” that came from the factory’s conveyor and who studies the market for his dissertation in cultural anthropology) dozens of us are already involved in various initiatives related to changing the market’s image and people’s stereotypes about it, and also aiming to “empower” those of its people that remain unheard. We believe this is a place that brings together “the various” and the challenges to the city and to our country, and that it is a great blank canvas ready to be filled with new solutions. We would like this painting to be painted with the participation of the people from the market.

We started working with 13th School situated near the market and with the children at the end of 2011 and our first initiative was held on 22.12.2011 when over 20 volunteers, 80 children, clowns, jugglers, a monocycle, face painting, old games like gunny sack race, relay races and movie screenings turned the school into something different from the institution that the children were familiar with. Before the closing of the school in the summer of 2012 by the Sofia’s Capital Inspectorate, more than 12 volunteers regularly attended the lessons with non-formal and fun education in order to attract children in class.

Now, after it has become clear that our favorite spot will be reconstructed without broad public discussion, the project continues with new strength through the regular meetings and work of interdisciplinary group of sociologists, cultural anthropologists, architects, urban planners, journalists and others. In this process they build on each other’s ideas and solutions to the market challenges.

We are recruiting more volunteers and funds for our future activities there. If you are willing to help through human or monetary resources, please contact us.

WHEN: From 12.2011 onwards

WHERE: Women’s Market, 13th School, Sofia

TEAM: Nikola Venkov and “Women’s Market” group


Through innovative approaches, including installations (Utopia box, Tree of Ideas ), tools and events (Meet for Change, Creative Drink), Ideas Factory is looking for new ways to create a shared vision on issues that are of importance to local communities.

Ideas Factory’s main motivation to do what it does comes from the persuasion that any challenge to our shared life and any decision-making has its answer among the people – all people, everywhere – they are the best experts on … the quality of their lives and the sole sovereign of governments. This way we support shared dreaming, and we also create opportunities for solutions in cross-sectoral environment and aid the steps towards their implementation. That’s how we encourage innovations and the facilitation of citizen participation in the processes of decision making (Crowd-sourced decision-making).

Volatile Mandritsa

People from the “Association for the Revival of the Village of Mandritsa” come up with great ideas to enliven their favorite native village. Willing to please and attract mostly youngsters – the potential future residents of the village and with the support of Ivaylovgrad Municipality, they had organized an Easter celebration for children. They invited us to create the festival’s program with factory’s charge together with our friends from Cumbo Circus. And this is what we came up with – a gunny sack race, “Mandritsa golf” (knocking down a matchbox with a potato on a thread) egg-and-spoon race, tug of war with a rope made from recycled materials and other games.

One of the major attractions was the “Treasure Hunt” – a real quest-game to explore Mandritsa. Children were walking around the village with different missions, interrogating the grandmothers and learning many things while trying to find the hidden treasure – a pot of gold coins … made from chocolate!

Most fanciful of all was the enchanting performance under the tent of Cumbo Circus. At sunset dozens of DIY kites flew in the sky. And finally there was a real mask carnival in which the participants’ fantasy made the Cumbo-jury’s decision maximally difficult.

The good thing is that the festival had a second edition in 2012 and will probably become a permanent event. We wish them the same excitement in the village all year round!

TEAM: “Association For the Revival of the Village of Mandritsa” in partnership with the municipality of Ivaylovgrad, a team from the Factory and friends, Cumbo Circus

WHEN: 01.05.2011

WHERE: the village of Mandritsa