A broad online platform
CollectieveKracht is an online platform for citizen collectives throughout the Netherlands. A broad range of bottom-up movements are organised for initiatives such as energy co-ops, food collectives, care co-operatives and collectives aimed at advancing the liveability of a village or neighbourhood. The common thread among these sectors is the range of problems they face on a regular basis. Think about issues with member engagement and scaling, to uncovering needed financial means, to communication with (local) governments. The Collectievenlab is the space where the citizen collectives meet, and it’s the beating heart of the CollectieveKracht platform.
The first platform to bring together collectives on a cross-sectoral and scientific knowledge basis, CollectieveKracht can draw on both scientific knowledge and enable its members to learn from each other’s knowledge and experiences. This reinforces them as a whole.
Next to the Collectievenlab, four more labs are included on the platform, each composed of a specific group of stakeholders. These so-called Partnerlabs are the Netwerklab, Finance lab, Overheidslab and Science lab.
- The Netwerklab (Network lab) consists of stakeholder organisations, such as the Nationale Coöperatieve Raad (NCR), Nederland Zorgt voor Elkaar (NLZVE), Energie Samen, Social Enterprise NL and many others. They get together to discuss how to assist their members, the citizen collectives, on overarching themes that concern them all.
- The Finance lab hosts financiers who are willing to develop financial products that fit the specific needs of the citizen collectives. One of the practical tools they’re currently building is a road map towards funding.
- The Overheidslab (Governance lab) is made up of civil servants from both local and national administrations. In this lab, best practices are collected, with the aim to improve the connection between the needs of citizen collectives and actual government services.
- The science lab is staffed by scientists from universities and universities of applied sciences throughout the Netherlands. They come from a variety of disciplines, including:
- psychology (Dr Lise Jans, RUG)
- public administration (Dr Carola van Eijk, UL; Wouter Spekkink, EUR)
- environmental studies (Dr Arjen Buijs, WUR)
- architecture & the built environment (Dr Darinka Czischke, TU Delft; Reinout Kleinhans, TU Delft)
Science lab members from RSM include, among others, Prof. Lucas Meijs, Dr Fijnanda van Klingeren, Dr Marianne Groep, Damion Bunders, Max de Vriend and, of course, Prof. Tine De Moor.
Why this event is important
As of approximately 2005 there has been a remarkable wave of new citizen collectives, which are active in many areas: from health care and energy to food, landscaping, social security and housing. Mainly at a local level, these collectives perform vital functions for citizens, which governments usually don’t have access to and which the market tends to ignore. After establishing themselves successfully, collectives tend to seek more specialised advice to transform into a permanent, pro-active organisation. Similarly, many start-up citizen collectives could benefit substantially from more experienced citizen collectives. However, information exchange from one to the other can be limited by time and capacity of participants, and often information stays within one sector. Given the similarities in managerial questions, cross-sectorial exchange among collectives could further their viability. Currently, there are no organisations directed towards supporting the functioning of citizen collectives across sectors.
What the programme looks like
During this programme, a variety of topics will be discussed. Are you able to attend? You can look forward to a keynote address from Herman Wijffels about what citizen collectives need from policy makers, and what governments – local, regional and national – can do for citizen collectives. Watch video messages from Jan Smelik (Nederland Zorgt voor Elkaar), Trevor James (Cooplink), Siward Zomer (Energie Samen) and at least one citizen collective.
In ‘meet the scientists’, Natasja van den Berg will interview three scientists about what science has to offer citizen collectives; how scientists convert their knowledge into practical, accessible tools.
There is also a deep dive consisting of 2x5 parallel sessions of 30 minutes. Here, members of CollectieveKracht’s Sciencelab and Netwerklab give an insight in how citizen collectives can benefit from the newly launched platform. Citizen collectives who have registered for the Pitch je project sessions get one-on-one meetings with financiers.
This programme takes place via an online livecast on Friday, 11 February 2022 from 13:00 to 16:00. A selection of guests who have a role in the plenary sessions will participate from a pop-up studio at the RSM on-campus Pavilion. Go to http://www.collectievekracht.eu/ and click on the link to sign up to learn how collective strength can make a difference.