Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the National Agency. Neither the European Union nor National Agency can be held responsible for them.

About Our Design for Change Project

Governments, scholars, educators, and communities are all interested in understanding why things go wrong. According to one point of view, community participation, or involving impacted groups in the development of solutions, is crucial. This enables the project to be tailored to the needs of the community, better guiding the intervention. Why Some Well-Planned and Community-Based ICTD Interventions Fail, research by Brown and Mickelson, extends on this by examining how simply involving the community in the design of an intervention isn't enough to ensure success. It suggests that simply interacting with people in a community does not necessarily allow us to understand all their needs.

Communities are complex and tough to grasp. Individuals in positions of authority, who frequently do not have the same interests as those on the ground, are insufficiently consulted. You can't expect contacting a portion of a community to provide you enough knowledge to understand the full population. To obtain a deeper awareness of the community, more rigorous participation is required, yet it is necessary for successful solutions.

The issue is that top-down solutions aren't tailored to the communities and concerns that exist inside those communities. The solution design process reveals a disconnect between designers, project initiators, and project managers and the real state of need and capability on the field, where the problem resides. Adult educators, non-governmental organisations, and activists must be equally involved in problem-solving processes to adopt a new method of thinking and building solutions – Design Thinking for Social Change. The EU is evolving, altering, and reinventing itself in the face of new difficulties, both institutional (e.g., the democratic divide) and situational (e.g., pandemics, poverty, financial crises, and security threats), always investing in new solutions and development to advance social transformation.

Since World War II, $2.3 trillion has been invested in development projects to improve health, alleviate poverty, educate, and offer other services that were previously unavailable. While progress has been made, the number of absolute poor people remains unchanged at 2 billion. The emergence of social enterprises as drivers of inclusive communities will be accelerated by Design for Change. It will develop a digital, participatory, sustainable, and comprehensive paradigm for issue solving that will bring together adult educators, community members, and problem solvers to approach social change from the perspectives of:

  • empathising with the people and communities
  • understanding the priority problems while defining them
  • ideating – by challenging assumptions and creating ideas for innovative solutions that are culturally, socially, and economically inclusive
  • prototyping – creating solutions that tackle and overcome barriers and discrimination
  • testing the solutions
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