Facilitate implementation plan for undocumented Amsterdam

The shelter and guidance of people who are undocumented in Amsterdam has been a wicked problem for years. The municipal council wanted to create an implementation plan for better shelter and guidance in 2018. It asked Perspectivity to design and facilitate sessions with all the involved parties. Goal of these sessions: to arrive at a widely supported implementation plan through co-creation.
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Municipality of Amsterdam


We want to create an implementation plan for shelter and guidance for people who are undocumented in Amsterdam. The interests are great and conflicting. Can you design and facilitate the process?


Facilitation of a four-day session inspired by Future Search in 2018, three work sessions in 2019 and an online World Café in 2020.


Collectively supported implementation plan for shelter and guidance of people who are undocumented.

Culture change: from strife to collaboration

A large number of organizations is involved in arranging the shelter and guidance for people who are undocumented: action groups, national and municipal institutions, health institutions and return organizations. They all have varying interests. It was a polarized group of about 60 participants, who were used to defending and attacking position through the media. They now started talking directly to each other for the first time. The process started with suspicion, caution, indignation and critical questions. But gradually the willingness to shape the implementation plan together grew. Throughout the facilitation, the participants realized that instead of airing points of view and wanting to be in the right, there was space to build and tackle the issue together. During three sessions in a process that was inspired by the Future Search methodology, the participants got to work.

Implementation plan

After three sessions, there was an implementation plan. Several conditions contributed to this. There was a clear framework for the implementation plan: 500 shelter places and guidance for a year and a half. The work sessions were prepared by a planning group with people from the different stakeholder groups who could test whether the work sessions would fit with their interests. Municipal civil servants actively participated as a stakeholder group. There was time pressure: there was a deadline to deliver the plan to the city council. There was transparency about the process, and it was clear that the municipality would not come up with their own plan at a later stage: it was a full-fledged co-creative process of addressing this wicked problem.

facilitating Collaboration between parties

After the plan was approved by the city council, local parties started with the implementation of the plan. Perspectivity was asked to facilitate some more sessions to prepare the collaboration between the different parties and fine-tune the plan. During the work sessions, the implementing partners worked on, among other things, the facilities for cooperation, the set-up for information exchange and the monitoring and evaluation process of the plan.

A year after kick-off

A year later we facilitated an online session with all implementing parties and the wider field of stakeholders to reflect on the progress. In the form of a World Café session, participants reflected on the past year: what is going well in the present and what should be done in the future?

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