The POLISHOPA international conference on Design Thinking method, consisting in creation of innovative solutions based on understanding recipients’ needs and problems, was held in Bydgoszcz on June 22-25. The conference was organized by SHOPA, UTP University of Science and Technology in Bydgoszcz and the Ministry of Science and Higher Education
The “PAFF Local Partnerships” and the “PAFF Leaders” Programs were partners of the conference, while the Common Good Lab of the “PAFF Local Partnerships” animators were among speakers and participants.
Over 200 representatives of scientific institutions, business, NGOs and public administration came to the Conference Center at Opera Nova. The conference was opened by Radosław Ratajczak and Piotr Szewczykowski, the originators and authors of Design Thinking concept in Poland. The Design Thinking method applies to business but many of its elements can be used in the process of designing social actions. Also, it has many common features with method of local community animation which is based on common good and is applied by the “PAFF Local Partnerships” Program.
Two of keynote speakers were guests from Norway. The first was Federico Lozano, representing Science and Technology University in Oslo who spoke about significance of empathy in Design Thinking process. The second of them was Matt Lynch of University of Tromsø who explained when the method can be applied and when it is most useful and effective.
Over two days, the participants had an opportunity to get acquainted with the many-stage Design Thinking process. They learned how to make the empathy map, what innovation is and how to start “thinking outside the box”. The lectures were supplemented by workshops, where everybody could try their skills in project designing.
One of important items on the conference agenda was the lecture given by Anna Jafernik of Żywiecka Fundacja Rozwoju (the Development Foundation of Żywiec), the leader of Żywiec without carbon monoxide PAFF Local Partnership and Aleksandra Daszkowska-Kamińska of the School for Leaders Foundation. The speakers presented their experience of using the Design Thinking method in non-profit projects. Their presentation was focused on “Bread Roll with Passion” project that allows to sponsor scholarships for apt students thanks to such simple action as buying fresh bread every day. The idea turned out to be successful and bread was joined by other “products with passion”, such as pizza or coffee.
The purpose of the “PAFF Local Partnerships” Program is to initiate and develop cooperation among the beneficiaries of various PAFF programs promoting the creation of partnerships around the implementation of social projects important to local communities. The program uses the method of animating local communities and bringing them together around the idea of the common good, which is defined on the basis of a previously conducted social diagnosis. Under the four editions of the program, 30 partnerships operating in over 70 communes and involving almost 450 partners have been established.
The objective of the “PAFF Leaders” Program, implemented by the School for Leaders Foundation, is to support the development of skills and qualifications of individuals working for the benefit of their communities. This is achieved mainly through the use of the tutorial method which involves the regular cooperation of an experienced tutor with a local leader. As a result of ten editions of the program, 501 local leaders from all over Poland have improved their qualifications, the national network of local leaders was established, and 60 experts were trained in application of the tutoring method.