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 Design for Change


The designer does not begin with some preconceived idea. Rather, the idea is the result of careful study and observation, and the design a product of that idea.

- Paul Rand

Governments, academics, educators, and communities all want to know why things go wrong. According to one view, it is critical to include impacted communities in the creation of solutions, a process known as community engagement. This allows the project to be adjusted to the community's needs, better guiding the intervention. Brown and Mickelson's study, Why Some Well-Planned and Community-Based ICTD Interventions Fail, expands on this by looking at how simply incorporating the community in the design of an intervention isn't enough to ensure success. It claims that mere community interaction does not always allow us to comprehend all the community's demands.

Communities are diverse and difficult to comprehend. It is insufficient to consult individuals in positions of power, who frequently do not have the same interests as those on the ground. You can't expect that contacting a subset of a community will provide you with enough information to comprehend the entire group. More rigorous participation is required to gain a deeper understanding of the community, yet it is essential for successful solutions.

The problem is that top-down solutions are not tailor made and fitting the communities and actual issues within those communities. The process of the solution design shows a gap between the designers, project initiators, project managers and what`s the actual state of need and possibility on field, where the problem exists. There is a need for adult educators, NGOs and activists to be involved in the problem-solving processes on an equitable basis to adopt a new way of thinking and designing solutions – Design Thinking for Social Change. The EU is moving, changing, reinventing itself in the face of new challenges that can be both institutional (e.g. democratic gap) and circumstantial (e.g. pandemic, poverty, financial crisis and security challenges), always investing in new solutions and progress to elevate the social change.

Since World War II the world has invested $2.3 trillion in development projects to improve health, alleviate poverty, educate, and provide other services unavailable before that. While there has been progress, the number of absolute poor remains the same: 2 billion. Design for Change will fast forward the development of social enterprises as drivers of inclusive communities. It will create an innovative, easy to use model for problem solving, which is digital, participatory, sustainable and holistic bringing together adult educators, community members and problem solvers to approach the social change from the aspects 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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