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
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
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
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
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