Social Design Crash Course

This course is only available in portuguese.

Conceptual Note

A crash course is a rapid and intense course of training or research usually undertaken in case of emergency. The social crisis accompanying the economic crisis urges that professionals and volunteers in various organisations of the social economy, to use energetic tools to respond to emerging challenges: ageing, unemployment, exclusion, alienation,... However, limits of time and resources do not allow a moratorium to learn and to adapt to this scenario of urgency.
The experience of working with different organisations in the third sector has enabled us to design a program that respects these limits and promotes the innovation capacity in the working methods of these organisations. In addition, we also dedicate this course to students and unemployed, in order to increase their soft skills and to empower them towards creative and collaborative problem solving.

...the course has the duration of 4 hours
...the entire program includes practical results, achieved in cooperation
...ends with a celebration and with a transition to a new way of working the social

Social Design

Creative method applied to solving social problems, based on observations of the reality and immersed in collaborative synthesis of ideas. Some of the techniques used in social design are visualisation, prototyping and brainstorming of ideas and concepts. During training, we resort to many different materials, being the basics post-its, markers and Lego.
Social design methods promote social change in three ways:

  • Gives visibility to the causes and consequences of phenomena.
  • Reassesses common solving processes.
  • Discovers ways to motivate and transform human behaviour.

Target groups

The privileged participants are agents of the third sector, technicians and managers from all areas where it generates social value:

  • social action;
  • culture;
  • education;
  • ageing and family support;
  • inclusion of minorities, disadvantaged, at risk;
  • poverty,
  • environment and ecology;
  • health;
  • (…)

Also includes students in the area of humanities and social sciences and all of those interested in issues of social entrepreneurship and management of innovation applied to social change.
For the proper functioning of the workshop enrollment is limited to 20 people per edition.

Programme Aims

It is intended that the participants in this course developed technical abilities for the production of ideas and solutions directed to a concrete social problem, seen in the reality around them.
In specific terms, the participants:

  • collaborate with others in the identification and definition of the social problem, discussing the reality from elements of observation and data collected.
  • answer the question "how can we solve this problem?", using the synthesis of ideas;
  • produce, "in situ", from a set of visual materials, a prototype of the product or project found as an answer;
  • present and defend your product or project through critical validation between groups;
  • have the opportunity to connect with other professionals and create local synergies, towards the implementation of the project.



Ice breaker. Dynamic perception of the other and unlock communications.

Emergency of the Social Problem

Analysis and interpretation of videos, photos, charts and other graphic materials that reflect social problems. Each participant should identify their problem and set it to the group. In the end the group should decide by the common problem - the most relevant for the context of action. This process is monitored by questioning and reflection.

Formation of the Creative Groups

Formation groups of 4 people, starting from a dynamic interdisciplinary, self-knowledge and professional profile - brief cohesive group activity.


Brainstorming on board: collecting ideas for the question: "How can we ...?".
Grouping ideas, composition and definition of the work idea.

Deepening sharing the idea

Development of idea details. Filling of the project design templates, conceptual basics for the practical application.


Physical representation work of the project, in the form of stories pictures, video or construction (legos, cards, ...).

Critical validation of the productions

Each group presents and defends their product, showing the capacity of this for the resolution of the proposed problem, the practicability and sustainability. The remaining groups assume a critical perspective and put themselves in the role of financiers, auditors or users.

Celebration of the results
Final selection of the winning proposal. Visualisation of the working process through the samples made by the mentors. "Party of blasting balloons"

End of activities

Required materials

  • a large room and chairs for all participants (at most 20 per session);
  • a working table for each team and a table for the dynamizers (6 tables);
  • an image projector;
  • a laptop;
  • a “toolkit” and materials per table (6 boxes). Each box contains cardstock, markers, post-its, legos, matchboxes, photographs, glue, tapes …;
  • balloons;
  • documentation about the course – information and communication.

The first two items must be provided by the host organization, all the remaining material is provided by Future Balloons.


Fees: 20 euros for professionals and 10 euros for students.
The fee includes all the working material.


The host organisation is responsible for the recruitment of subscribers, with a maximum of 20 participants per session. Case the number of interested people exceed 30 persons, will hold up two or more sessions.
The payment of registrations is done directly to the Future Balloons, through bank transfer or cash. Of the total amount received from subscriptions, it is up to the host organisation 20% to cover associated costs, charged to the Future Balloons under the form of invoice.