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Projects are an experiential self-learning field for civic engagement. They are facilitating the idea of initiative, helping the involved people to acquire skills and knowledge in a very direct way. Furthermore, they are connecting volunteer activity with the direct of the project in the society. Under this perspective, projects are a civic learning space for civic engagement. In this section we offer methods to explore the visions and needs, and how to come from these explorations to a concept.

Articles, Checklists and Methods

Collaboration Canvas

This tool is based on the well-known Business Model Canvas: a non-linear approach to brainstorming, strategizing and developing new projects. It allows you to describe, design, challenge and (re-)invent your project in a very visual manner.

Who Can Change Things?

Participants reflect, how the main sectors within the society interact. The method gives an idea, to what extent the impact of a social initiative may depend from cooperation across sectoral borders.

Task: Start with "Why"

Help your participants to describe their initiative starting with the impact (instead of the image or the activities).

Change Your World with 50 Euro

Inspire people how to start initiatives and thinking about social impact on a grassroot level.

Bridge to the Future

In order to understand better what changes your own ideas can bring about, it can help to picture a bridge. On one side of the bridge is the present or the past, on the other side is the future. The two sides are connected by a bridge, which represents the initiative.

Map your neighborhood

Let your participants take a look at their neighborhood. They may draw, sketch, or paint a map and put in all relevant information.

Empathy Map

Have your participants to find out more about their target group. The method will help them listen, empathize, and make careful observations.

Designing a persona

A persona may represent a typical person affected by an initiative, or the initiative's target audience or group. Imagine a concrete person, with a name, habits, and clothing. Try to understand them as deeply as possible. Try to think like them, take a "walk in their shoes'". Developing these personas are the first step in helping real people and reflecting critically on our assumptions.

Checklist: Crucial Questions

The first step into a civil initiative. In form of checklist work participants begin to answer questions regarding their personal perspective on civil involvement.

Checklist: Why do I get involved?

A checklist for you and your team for finding out more about each one's motivation

My Further Civic Involvement: Meditation on the Future

This method creates impulses for strong imagination of future by meditation and visioning the future plans in the meditation process.

Project Inspiration

Projects are a good framework for gaining experience, making a societal impact, building networks, and putting democratic or idealistic principles into practice. Therefore it is a good idea to encourage participants to seek out volunteer project work.

Word Cloud

This is a tool for collecting associations in small groups or teams. It consists from the steps collecting associations and prioritizing these.

Logic of the project

This structure helps participants to assemble a logical and concise project concept from the different inspirations and content snippets and to present it.

Impact Chain

An impact chain shows the logical connection between 1. your observation of society, 2. your idea how and with what kind of resources you will try to change something and 3. the intended impact.

Silent Journey

Participants find out what is a social issue they are burning for. The method can be used during a project idea development phase within a training.

Ideas that match

The more possibilities for development you consider, the more likely it is for your idea to loose clarity. This method introduces the need for focus and for concentrating on a few aspects. We use wooden matchsticks.

Checklist: Project Concept

This checklist helps teams or individuals to describe their initiative in form of a concept.

Checklist: Quick Project Check

Criteria for the quality check of your project description.

A Shared Ideaspace

A proposal for an idea development workshop with larger groups of people who want to implement a civil initiative.

Concept Map

A concept map is a graphical tool for organizing and presenting knowledge and showing links among different concepts. The idea is to create a map throughout the duration of the meeting. As participants add aspects to it every day, it will document the group’s shared knowledge.

Planning Stakeholder Communication

Grounding on a mapping of stakeholders, you identify the most relevant stakeholders by following two criteria: their power and their interest in your activity.


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  • Project Development


Handbook Cover-cookbook.jpg

H. Fahrun, E. Skowron,
N. Zimmermann

Initiative Cookbook

Homemade Engagement. An Introduction to Project Management.

MitOst Editionen 2015: Read

A joint project of the Competendo Community. Implemented with financial assistance of the European Union