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Who we are

A social design studio pioneering the use of co-creation and design thinking for social solutions

We're here to create a world in which people have a say in the future they want. Building on almost 20 years of experience in over 25 countries on 50+ projects and 100+ partners, we create education and communication solutions for social impact. We act as the innovation, research, technical and human-centred design partner for social organisations worldwide. By co-creating with stakeholders, every solution is based on shared values and people's needs. It means that all our work is tailor-made; never copy-paste, always human-centred.

In 1999 Emer Beamer, Hester Ezra and Ineke Aquarius foresaw the potential of digital developments for social change. They founded Butterfly Works and started a digital design training with 20 young people from the slums of Nairobi. Youth who had never seen a computer or touched a mouse before, were now creating logos and websites from scratch. The works were exhibited in the National Museum of Kenya and the project resulted in the Bits Academy – training thousands of youth across Africa and South Asia. Over the years Butterfly Works developed into a full-fledged social design studio, creating education and communication solutions with social impact across the world.

Our approach to social solutions

Design thinking methods encourage fresh ideas and allow thinking through making. Co-creation relies on the idea that problems are best solved with those who experience it. Combining design thinking and co-creation results in ownership over new solutions that shape the future.

Amsterdam Team

We are co-creators and thinkers connected by curiosity, dedication and endless imagination.Working locally and as wee as from the Butterfly studio in Amsterdam, we have the skills to work on any social topic in any country.

A butterfly's world is one without boundaries. Spreading seeds across long distances they connect the places they visit. It shows that a small action by anyone can make a big difference everywhere. Some call this the Chaos Theory, others the Butterfly Effect, we call it Butterfly Works. The world might not be perfect, but look around and you will be overwhelmed by people's imagination, beauty and courage. It's these small treasures that are the seeds of change, and it is the thrill of their discovery that keeps us flying.

Dorieke Looije

Project Management

René van der Velden

Methodologist

Merel van der Woude

Creative Strategy

Lewis Just

Concept Creator

Hanja Holm

New Business & Partnering

Thais Costa

Education Design

Raymond Kos

Finance

Lia Schalkwijk

Administration and Office

Merel Sas

Art Direction

Willem Timmers

Communication Design

Eve Aronson

Project Navigation

Cédric Ceulemans

Education Design

Tessa de Boer

Visual Design

Meet us, be inspired

We regularly host inspiration sessions bringing people together from different disciplines around a specific topic. Come join, inspire us and learn something new and someone new.

International Network

From our Amsterdam studio we connect to partners worldwide. We work with them, train them on our approach and together evolve the method. It means we have local feet on the ground, relevant expertise when needed and we can promise high quality results with smooth collaborations.

Creative Network
Project Partners

Partners

We are the design thinking and co-creation partner for social organisations worldwide. We enjoy collaborating with organisations in the business, development, humanitarian and public sector to create social impact. 

"Butterfly Works is a strong partner you can count on. We worked together on a difficult project to support the peace process in Yemen. Through a participatory approach, we integrated the target group to design innovative, tailored solutions for this very sensitive context. Butterfly tackles problems from a different point of view and keeps the overview about what is important and what is not. The people I know working there are creative minds that are honestly addicted to the project, seems to have a strong intrinsic motivation to get the best output. Apart from their professional work, it is the friendly and collaborative atmosphere in the partnership that makes me strongly recommend Butterfly Works."

Philipp Busch

GIZ

Create a positive chain of events

We like to talk about your projects and think along. We are always looking to explore social solutions, new themes and exciting work. Get in touch for a friendly chat, an afternoon brainstorm or a full collaboration.