Scoop: Public Health Challenge live in the Netherlands


A first: at the end of 2019 we were asked to facilitate Perspectivity’s Public Health Challenge twice in Nijmegen! This challenge deals with the complexity of the health sector and the necessary decision-making involved. Players are responsible for the wellbeing of their inhabitants and to improve that they can invest in prevention, cure and/or research. Money is limited, so they have to make choices and this has consequences. A complex challenge with many different facets!

Han Verhoeven, Nick van Apeldoorn and Mara Blankestijn facilitated the Public Health Challenge for the first time at the end of October. This was a pilot with two tablets at the Radboud University Medical Centre (RadboudUMC) with students, lecturers, researchers, health care professionals, staff and a few local partners of “Wij zijn groen gezond en in beweging Nijmegen” (translation: “We are green, healthy and move around Nijmegen”).

The second time, Han Verhoeven, Mara Blankestijn and three lecturers of the Radboud UMC lead the Public Health Challenge at the start of the Health Innovation School. This time they hosted 50 participants at four tables. Prior to this session, the three lecturers received a short training to be able to facilitate the game. The goal of the Health Innovation School (since this year active in various regions) is to promote collaboration in the area of (system)innovation for health and wellbeing. A beautiful audience for a simulation of the complex challenges in health and wellbeing in a game form!

During the reflection of the pilot, interesting insights and ideas emerged that we have brought to the Health Innovation School. The reflection after the session yielded a lot: the almost unnoticeable development of a tunnel vision where you lose sight of important issues. In good consultation with each other and unanimous opinions, but still. The importance of a person who dares to share a contradictory opinions, a critic to stay out of tunnel vision and groupthink. Focus on global health level or on quality life years?

During playtime at the four tables, the energy and the fun participants were having was very visible: a nice kick-off for the Health Innovation School. Some of the insights that emerged: it is a challenge to direct your attention to a healthy global health level as well as the Quality Life Years of your inhabitants. How do you weigh what you spend your money on, what the importance of cure, prevention and research is and at which time you use them. How do you work together with other parties on these challenges. How difficult is it to decide what you have to do if you do not have all the necessary knowledge.

We heard that the participants all considered it a fun and educational experience. This asks for more!

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