Accelerating sustainability with Neerlands diep Sustainability Challenge

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Feb 12, 2021

The Neerlands diep (Nd) Sustainability Challenge challenges professionals in the construction and infrastructure sector to accelerate the sustainability of their projects. Participants work at Rijkswaterstaat, ProRail, Rijksvastgoedbedrijf and the Waterschappen. During the six-month challenge, the project teams take on the challenge of making their project (even) more sustainable. For example, they make a stakeholder analysis, talk to policy makers, line managers, residents and other relevant players and make a physical picture of the desired future. They periodically reflect on each other’s preliminary results, enrich their insights with the knowledge and expertise of external inspirations and are provided with tools and methodologies that they apply to their task.

The Nd Sustainability Challenge has emerged from a manifesto calling for speeding up by connecting and creating a broad movement of colleagues who are aware of the need to accelerate the sustainability of projects in the construction and infrastructure sector.

After two editions, in 2019 and 2020, Neerlands diep was curious about which lessons from the participant’s experiences could be recorded. They asked Perspectivity to perform a Sprockler inquiry. As LEF facilitator, Elien Rogaar had already led one of the Sustainability Challenges together with Neerlands diep.


The research process consisted of several steps:

  1. First, together with a number of alumni, we designed and tested the questionnaire.
  2. Subsequently, alumni of the Sustainability Challenge completed the questionnaires in an online meeting by questioning each other about their experiences, insights and recommendations. It was also possible to complete the questionnaire individually online.
  3. The results are incorporated into an online visual interactive Sprockler report.
  4. In an online sense-making meeting, the results were discussed with the participating alumni. The summary of this can be found here.


The report serves as an inspiration for people working on sustainability challenges and their managers. It offers a glimpse into how the participants experienced the Nd Sustainability Challenge and what it has brought them.

The report shows patterns of factors that contribute to achieving the ambition to accelerate sustainability in projects. For example, it appears that working on accelerating sustainability in construction and infrastructure projects is not so much a technical task as an organisational task. The crux of accelerating is to involve and get the senior management involved. And patterns also show that the Nd Sustainability Challenge has ensured more visibility of sustainability in the organisation and that is has succeeded in getting a lot of movement in the field of sustainability. The Sprockler report also provides clues for follow-up initiatives for the further development of the sustainability movement. Such as continuing with the challenge and continuing to stimulate and facilitate the enthusiastic alumni in exchanging their experiences and spreading their success stories and disappointments more broadly.

The programme managers of Neerlands diep where enthusiastic about the Sprockler method and included a Sprockler inquiry in their development project Nd Programmaleren in 2021.

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