Build-A-Role by Lolis

Kornelia Błoch

October 25, 2023


In Hungary, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) play a vital role in addressing social issues and providing essential services to marginalized communities. However, securing governmental support in Hungary's social sector is a slow process. As a result, NGOs increasingly rely on alternative sources of support and adopt innovative approaches.

In this complex environment stands NoBadKid, a Hungarian NGO that operates with a clear mission – to empower troubled children and their families by promoting the belief that each child possesses unique strengths that can be harnessed for positive transformation. Since its establishment in 2003, NoBadKid has been dedicated to the ecology of children and families, providing essential training for teachers and counselors, therapeutic support for children, and vocational programs designed to instill entrepreneurial skills in the youth. This work primarily reaches Roma communities in Hungary, where approximately 60% of Roma children drop out of school, compared to 9% of the general population [1].

In 2015, separation from its parent company thrust NoBadKid into independence. This transition resulted in financial instability, a weakened brand identity, and disruptions to the operational model of the organization. Additionally, they had to downsize their staff and refocus efforts toward projects that could generate funds. To navigate these changes, the organization shifted towards a centralized decision-making structure. This model, while effective in the short-term, can lead to operational inefficiency and burnout in the long-term. With limited resources available in the Hungarian social sector, these risks could converge and stifle the resilience that NoBadKid wants to nurture.


To evaluate the pulls and pressures affecting NoBadKid, we conducted research and collected a wide range of insights from interviews, surveys, and market analysis. We clustered findings into thematic issues, forecasted future scenarios, and generated how-might-we statements for ideation. Our research charted a journey from understanding to action. Guided by root-cause analysis, our solutions danced on an axes between internal and external challenges.

Organizing Solutions Along an Internal-External Axis

We realized that internal challenges, particularly issues with organizational structure and operational methods, were the biggest hurdles to building resilience. We decided it was crucial to tackle these problems before any external challenges could be meaningfully addressed. Rather than looking for a single solution, we designed several smaller, easy-to-implement ideas to confront challenges in a step-wise approach, starting with the most crucial. For the purposes of this article, we will focus on the first.

Team Lolis: Gathering Data and Discussing Insights. Credits: Luc Kordas

Through our research, themes of imbalance emerged around internal business operations. Interviews and surveys with employees revealed a sense of ambiguity about roles and expectations. Many employees felt overextended across too many tasks and stymied by an absence of established procedures. Meanwhile, the organization's boss takes on multiple job roles and handles an unsustainable workload. This situation has made it challenging to delegate tasks, and resulted in uneven workloads and perceptions across the organization. The director of NoBadKid openly acknowledged a common concern within the group, sharing:

“I hear from my employees that there are undescribed expectations.”

The director's acknowledgment of undescribed expectations emphasizes the need for clear communication and hints at the difficulties that might come with a centralized leadership structure. At its beginning, NoBadKid sought to embrace a distributed leadership model, emphasizing individual strengths and contributions. However, over time, contextual pressures forged a gap between the intended model and current operational dynamics. We propose a model that seeks to redistribute responsibilities within the organization, foster a more cohesive and motivated team, and recalibrate the organization’s ethos with its practice.


Our proposal, Build-A-Role, is an organizational model that empowers employees to shape their roles by selecting and testing specific responsibilities and tasks. Drawing inspiration from the creative spirit of Build-A-Bear Workshops, but rather than stuffed animals, this model builds a flexible workforce capable of adapting to needs within the team, promoting a more equitable distribution of tasks and enriching a culture of shared responsibility and engagement.

At the heart of the Build-A-Role model are “Task Tokens”. Each token represents a specific task or responsibility within the organization, classified according to the level of complexity, importance, or skill needed to complete it. These tokens are the currency of this operational shift, offering clarity, structure, and a tangible means of delegating tasks. A central "Token Board" acts as the customization hub for this system. It displays tasks available for delegation in a “Task Gallery” and provides a space for each team member to adorn their roles with the task tokens they choose.

Simplified Visual of Build-A-Role: Employees Transferring Tasks from the Task Gallery

For smooth integration, Build-A-Role's implementation unfolds in three distinct phases:

  1. Workload Assessment: The first step involves creating a comprehensive list of tasks, identifying areas where delegation is possible and beneficial. This step offers clear insight into workloads across the organization and is the first step toward balancing tasks.
  1. Test Trial: Team members have the opportunity to test-drive specific tasks before full implementation. This trial period allows them to assess their comfort and capability in handling new responsibilities, providing a controlled space for adjustment.
  1. Implementation: Once tasks have been tested and team members' performance evaluated, team members can proactively choose tasks from the Task Gallery, signaling their commitment to absorbing these responsibilities into a long-term workflow.

Potential Impact

The Build-A-Role concept aims to rejuvenate NoBadKid’s organizational resilience and reshape team dynamics. Through Task Tokens, we envision an adaptive workplace where responsibilities are shared and individual burdens can become collective breakthroughs. By enabling team members to choose tasks that align with their strengths and interests, the model is designed to promote increased engagement, communicate expectations, and drive task completion. Distributing responsibilities based on importance would encourage collaboration, flexibility, and compromise. And the model's phased implementation approach allows the team to steer this transformation gradually, ensuring that everyone is comfortable with shifting roles and responsibilities. 

We hope that Build-A-Role can be a roadmap toward a more resilient and empowered organization. We envision an organization capable of reconstituting itself to overcome its challenges, and operating as a team that is greater than the sum of its individual roles


The Build-A-Role model proposes a novel approach to leadership and task delegation in NGOs, echoing the belief that there are “no bad kids, only bad situations”. It provides a solution for navigating challenges by decentralizing responsibilities, easing pressure on leaders, and empowering team members to cultivate a resilient environment. In an environment where NGOs must adapt to unpredictable landscapes, models like Build-A-Role offer an opportunity to do so with a flexible approach to organizational norms and structures.

Team Lolis Meeting with NoBadKid and Presenting Ideas

Team Lolis


Piotr Stanisławski, Marvin Davis, Kornelia Błoch, Agata Gancarczyk, Izaskun Pérez and Enikő Barbarics.

Facilitator and Junior Facilitators

Facilitator: Henryk Stawicki

Junior Facilitator: Lilla Török

Article credits: Marvin Davis & Kornelia Błoch


[1] The Christian Science Monitor. (2023, September 6). How a Buddhist-inspired high school is boosting Hungary’s roma. The Christian Science Monitor.

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