The Netherlands is undergoing a ++TransitionWe define a transition as a structural change in society resulting from interdependent ecological, social/cultural, economic and technological developments.. There are major challenges in healthcare, education, the labour market, housing, public space and, perhaps most urgently, climate change. To tackle these challenges, national, regional and local governments must transform themselves from centrally managed authorities focused on efficiency and enforcement into authorities with a greater focus on ++TrustThe child benefits scandal, the approach to the corona crisis and gas extraction in the province of Groningen have shown that authorities can easily lose sight of the human element. Digitalisation, an efficiency-driven mindset and neoliberalism have exerted a major influence on government policy and actions in recent years. In its 2020 annual report, the Dutch Council of State concluded that trust between citizens and government has eroded and is in need of attention., a people-centred approach, co-creation, bottom-up initiative and collaboration. We support authorities as they undergo the following three transitions:
1. Transition in the social domain
The decentralisation of youth care, work and income, care for chronically ill people and elderly people initiated in 2015 has imposed more tasks and responsibilities on municipalities. During the past few years, Kennisland has worked hard to support municipalities during this crucial transition. Kennisland helps government organisations develop and test new ways of working, partnerships and policy together with all stakeholders (patients, residents, families, professionals, informal carers, policy makers, legislators), with the objective of making systematic improvements to the support for vulnerable people.
This began with the ++Kafka BrigadeCitizens struggling with unnecessary bureaucracy: unfortunately we are aware of many examples, and they are not simply incidents. The Kafka Brigade began as a Kennisland project in 2006 and became an independent limited company in 2010.
in 2006, which tackled excessiveKennisland helps government organisations develop and test new ways of working, partnerships and policy together with all stakeholders. bureaucracy. Kennisland later established a ++Smarter NetworkIn Slimmernetwerk (Smarter Network), innovative government officials could work together towards solutions for problems faced in daily practice. These professionals from the sector searched for better and smarter ways of working in partnership with TNO and the Kafka Brigade. within central, provincial and local governments to promote smarter working. Since 2015, we have organised social labs with municipalities across the country, where we work with diverse groups (young people, elderly people, social workers, professionals, police, local businesses) on issues such as youth unemployment, safety and security, social cohesion, loneliness and care in the community. With the Schouders Eronder (Shoulders to the Wheel)! programme, we help municipalities develop more effective debt counselling. This focuses on the perspective of people with debt problems.
2. The energy transition
One of the greatest challenges of our time is the transition towards sustainable energy generation. Government and business have a leading role, but rely heavily on many other stakeholders: housing corporations, agencies with responsibility for implementing policy, residents, energy co-operatives and SMEs. Kennisland helps government organisations see the energy transition from a more social perspectiveKennisland helps government organisations see the energy transition from a more social perspective. and deploy strategies that go beyond organisational boundaries: strategies that harness people’s creativity and motivation to develop new solutions based on co-creation and collaboration between all levels of society. In short, strategies based on social innovation.
Kennisland’s involvement in the energy transition has included support for five municipalities during the transition towards natural gas free neighbourhoods. We also investigated how and where climate adaptation and the energy transition affect and can enhance one another by collecting stories. And in 2020, we investigated the experiences of residents while transitioning towards living without natural gas. What are their reasons for wanting to do this – or not – and which problems do they encounter?
3. From participation to co-creation
Since the transformation of the Netherlands into a “participation society”, many municipalities and agencies with responsibility for implementing policy have done their best to involve residents and citizens in solving social problems. However, the usual toolbox of questionnaires, consultation evenings and letters of objection is outdated, and has proved difficult to replace. While there are often good intentions, little is known about alternative approaches. Municipalities that can establish a process of co-creation based on shared ownership and control, designed in partnership with residents and other stakeholders, produce ++Citizen participationThere are many good examples of successful citizen participation. However, little research has so far been carried out into why some citizens’ initiatives fail, claims Marlies Meijer (University of Utrecht) and ++Neighbourhood budgetsThe municipality of Amsterdam is experimenting with instruments designed to give a greater voice to the city’s residents, such as neighbourhood budgets. Kennisland has investigated what is necessary to make this bottom-up partnership between residents and the municipality a success..
Since 2006, Kennisland has strived to approach complex social problems from the perspective of the world people live in, with the objective of investigating and resolving bottlenecks in the system world of (government) agencies.Since 2006, Kennisland has strived to approach complex social problems from the perspective of the world people live in, with the objective of investigating and resolving bottlenecks in the system world of (government) agencies. The stories and knowledge gained through experience of the people closest to the problem are the foundation for working together on solutions that command broad support. For example, with “Amsterdammers, Maak je Stad!” (People of Amsterdam, Make your City!), we gave residents a greater say in and greater ownership of their living environment. We also investigated how a partnership of equals could be created between residents and local government officials. A learning local government turned out to be the key.
Kennisland helps authorities innovate
In the coming years, Kennisland wishes to contribute to these three urgent social transitions while supporting authorities at all levels as they work to implement the changes required within the system. We do so by:
- Setting up learning networks of residents, professionals, policy makers and administrators and helping them learn from – and with – one another about how to tackle urgent problems.
- Setting up experimental spaces for social innovation and supporting these with social labs etc.
- Deploying new forms of (action) research, challenges and pioneer programmes to mobilise the knowledge in society to make co-creation possible for professionals in the public sector and citizens.
We would be happy to discuss how we can help your organisation tackle a transition-related problem. If you would like to know more, please contact Nora van der Linden via firstname.lastname@example.org or 020-5756720.