Social Lab Debt Relief Amsterdam

“Can you facilitate a lab for improving debt relief services in Amsterdam? We already have a framework with ambitions and themes. Now we want to bring policy makers and practitioners together to design a development program including concrete first steps.”

This was the question we received early November from the Delivery Unit of the Municipality of Amsterdam commissioned by the Department for Work and Income (DWI). Vision and focus had already been established; during this work conference stakeholders from municipal services and executing agencies needed to enrich each other with their knowledde and experiences from the field to design concrete experiments to improve debt relief services in the city.

Four-day Future Search Lab
Perspectivity designed a four-day lab based on the Future Search philosophy. The central question: “How can we work together to reduce debt in Amsterdam?” was approached from all angles. The road ran from focus on the past to the present and the future. The group first looked at customer stories, data analyses, personal experiences, and mapped current trends and developments before generating solution and actions.

Different methods alternated: exchange in small groups, group dialogue, a World Café with external experts, moments of inspiration with creative exercises and external speakers, a project gallery and a prototype wall. At the end of the week, the most promising projects were pitched to Alderman Arjan Vliegenthart.

Great that people from very different backgrounds sit together and come to very concrete and feasible projects. I never expected that.

The lab was held at Edel in Amsterdam West. The group of about 40 professionals worked with lots of energy for four days in a row on six crucial themes. Interim insights of the subgroups were shared with the whole group via short presentations and enabled everyone to keep track of the issue at large.

The result: A broad-based action-oriented development program with concrete first steps.

The lab was designed and facilitated by Elien Rogaar, Michiel Damoiseaux and Petra de Boer.

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