Stichting de Nationale DenkTank organiseert elk jaar een Nationale DenkTank met twintig jonge academici vanuit verschillende studieachtergronden om een maatschappelijk probleem te lijf te gaan. Naast de organisatie van de jaarlijkse DenkTank faciliteren het bureau en bestuur ook MiniDenkTanks en verbinden ze het groeiende netwerk van alumni en partners om de impact van de stichting te vergroten.
Op 9 januari 2005 zag Stichting de Nationale DenkTank het licht. Zes wetenschappers-in-de-dop zonden het concept ‘de Nationale DenkTank’ in voor de competitie ‘Boven het Maaiveld’ van de Avond van de Wetenschap & Maatschappij. Deze wedstrijd was uitgeschreven om de verzuiling tussen wetenschap, overheid en bedrijfsleven te doorbreken. Hoewel het idee niet de eerste prijs won, waren de bedenkers vastberaden om hun idee tot uitvoering te brengen. In 2006 brachten zij voor het eerst twintig promovendi, jonge professionals en academici voor vier maanden samen. Deze groep liet hun hersens, creativiteit en bevlogenheid los op een ‘vastgeroest’ sociaal maatschappelijk probleem. Inmiddels zijn we meer dan tien Nationale DenkTanks verder en het gedachtegoed van deze zes pioniers is behouden. Het idee om op onafhankelijke en inspirerende wijze maatschappelijke vernieuwing aan te snijden is nog steeds uniek en ongeëvenaard.
Stichting de Nationale DenkTank is een netwerkorganisatie, onze structuur ziet er als volgt uit:
The National ThinkTank Foundation (‘Stichting de Nationale DenkTank DenkTank’) was founded in 2005 aiming to influence a critical mass in order to make decisions that will result in progress for Dutch society, by presenting them with an independent vision, thorough analyses and innovative ideas. To achieve this goal the foundation facilitates an annual National ThinkTank consisting of a multidisciplinary team of about twenty highly talented PhD or Master students and graduates.
During a period of four months the ThinkTank works on visionary and practical solutions for a topical societal issue such as education, healthcare or sustainability sustainability. The project is facilitated by project leaders from our partner McKinsey & Company and (financially and/or with services) supported by a large number of Dutch universities, private companies and public institutions. At the end of the four months, all participants become members of the foundation’s alumni-network, known for new initiatives and future leaders. Together with our growing number of partners and alumni, the foundation continues to seek social innovation and impact.
The annual ThinkTank opens with an intensive summer school, allowing the participants to freshen up their analytical skills and acquire knowledge on the topic, while engaging with experts and the ThinkTank’s partners. During the ensuing month, the participants map the main bottlenecks regarding the topic, working closely together with experts within the field, who have earned their stripes in business, government or the academic world. In week 8, two intensive weeks follow, called ‘Autumn week and Brainstorm week’. The participants are prepared for the next phase: idea generation, creating solutions and workable advice. Two months later in December, the final results are presented to partners of the foundation and representatives from the public, private and academic world. Subsequently, if feasible, the ideas are implemented either by the participants themselves, partners or other interested parties.
National ThinkTank 2019
In 2019, the ThinkTank focused on the following theme: a healthy, resilient, inclusive and fair digital society.
Digitalisation has brought our society many comforts. Online banking, Whatsapp and dating websites have made the lives of many easier and perhaps, a little more enjoyable too. Additionally, multiple e-health innovations exist with the promise of making our societies healthier. However, these changes also create challenges. Digital developments are implemented at an exceedingly quick rate and some groups in society have trouble keeping up with that pace. Is it a responsibility of or an obligation for citizens to learn digital skills? Or should offline options for essential societal institutions remain in place, to ensure citizens’ free choice in adopting digital skills? Furthermore, privacy scandals, such as data leaks at healthcare insurance companies and mass (illegal) data transactions by data brokers or even by social media platforms are the order of the day. Nowadays, it seems no one’s data is safe. What does this mean for our trust in digital applications? Are we still in charge of our own data? And who owns data? Finally, what about digital resilience? Figures show burnouts have occurred significantly more in the past decade, not to mention the large amount of time children spend in front of a screen on a daily basis.
The National Think Tank 2018 formulated ten solutions to accelerate the circular economy. These solutions range from small and practical to major revisions for the long term. They focus on different target groups and sectors to include society as widely as possible in the proposals: governments, businesses, consumers, education, the construction sector and the food industry. The final report (in English) can be downloaded through this link.
National ThinkTank 2015
The National ThinkTank 2015 has focused on the following main research question: “How can we organize and facilitate education and learning in the Netherlands, in such a way that individual talent flourishes, and that learning better reflects the constantly changing environment?” While researching this question, the National ThinkTank 2015 identified four main aspects: the societal objectives of learning, the development of young children, innovations in education, and the role of the educational system in the Netherlands. The ten solutions presented by the National ThinkTank 2015 cover five main themes, corresponding to the bottlenecks identified in the analyses. The final report (in English) can be downloaded through this link.