• A
  • A
  • Social impact of knowledge-sharing

    - Nederland Kennisland organized a Social Safari bringing together designers, entrepreneurs and other specialists. Their goal: tackling five social challenges with the help of design thinking and rapid prototyping.


    The think tank Nederland Kennisland aims at making the Netherlands a better place to work, participate, study and live. Recently, it invited a number of innovators on a one week Social Safari in order to solve five problems put forward by organizations in Amsterdam.

    27 participants from 12 different countries and professional backgrounds gathered. In their diversity they had one thing in common: the desire to share their knowledge and expertise in order to come up with real solutions.

    Design thinking meets rapid prototyping

    Two methodologies were key when the participants formed groups and encountered their clients.

    First of all, they employed design thinking to gain a good understanding of the context of the challenge: what stakeholders are involved? What are their motives? Being aware of this, creative solutions would be designed around these insights.

    Secondly, the social innovators from the Kennisland Safari used rapid prototyping. This meant that after having worked out a first draft to tackle their challenge, each group had to encounter its client and act out a first couple of interventions.

    Five challenges , interventions and outcomes

    Among the five challenges was the Stedelijk Museum who aims at attracting a greater, more international audience after its upcoming reopening.  For them, an open model was put forward. This meant for instance using social media to build brand recognition and engaging visitors by having them curate their own expositions.

    The City of Amsterdam itself joined as well looking for a solution to foster courtesy, communication and interaction in nightlife. This group suggested letting the square engage in conversations with people via Twitter (@talkingsquare), Facebook, and small events organized on the squares themselves.

    Another client was Doen Foundation which asked for a way to scale up its programs to reintegrate outsiders to society via entrepreneurship, labor and education. Here, the Safari innovators created a strategy to have different initiatives learn from one another and help sustaining their success with longer lasting support.

    Moreover, Network Democracy took part in the Social Safari with the goal to create an online platform that encourages and helps initiate democratic participation. The concept which was presented after one week involved an interactive crowd-funding website.

    Finally, education advisors from ABC brought up the question of how to design primary schooling in a way that children with different intellectual capacities can learn together. Regarding this project, the innovators from the Social Safari put forward the creation of teacher networks together with new concept schools for true tailored education.

    In that sense, even though the groups were all working on different assignments, all shared one component in their interventions: tapping into what is already there (unused resources, enthusiastic communities) to solve a complex situation.