News and events Tilburg University

Retrospect: '(Be)sturen op Brede Welvaart'

Published: 08th November 2023 Last updated: 09th November 2023

On Monday, November 6, more than 200 visitors attended a day program on ‘(Be)sturen op Brede Welvaart’ (‘Governance and Management for Broad Prosperity’) at Tilburg University. This day is part of ‘Broad Prosperity Week, the Next Step’, a Week that is all about converting the thinking about Broad Prosperity into action on Broad Prosperity in North Brabant.

Wim van de Donk (Rector Magnificus of Tilburg University) opened the day by underlining the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration and of multiple perspectives of complex social issues. With Ina Adema (the King’s Commissioner of North Brabant) and Saskia Boelema (member of the North Brabant Provincial Executive on Broad Prosperity), Van de Donk discussed, among other things, the need to make the concept more concrete, to make choices, and to address the issues of these times in an integral way. In this context, Adema emphasized the importance of collaboration with the university. “A university can provide knowledge and context. We desperately need both to ultimately make well-founded, informed choices.”

Tilburg University’s Program for Broad Prosperity

Tilburg University’ focus on Broad Prosperity is embedded in a strategic program, as part of which Tilburg University has recently published a position paper on the subject: ‘Werk maken van brede welvaart’ (‘Making Broad Prosperity Work’, in Dutch only). Read more information here on the Program for Broad Prosperity and the position paper.

Besturen op Brede Welvaart 1 - foto: Ilse Wolf

One example of how the university makes this knowledge available is the academic collaborative centers. “Tilburg University’s academic collaborative centers are places to work together not only within the university, but also beyond, with organizations, the government, citizens, and students,” Van de Donk said.

These academic collaborative centers focus on Broad Prosperity based on practice-oriented research, by means of co-creation and each with their own themes, including climate and energy, the labor market and pensions, health and (mental) wellbeing, and poverty and hunger.

In his lecture, Kim Putters (University Professor of Broad Prosperity at Tilburg University and President of the Dutch Social and Economic Council, SER) followed up on the second part of the day’s theme, namely the next step’, that is required for our thinking and actions based on Broad Prosperity.

“The challenge is to convert the idea of Broad Prosperity into concrete policy and in practical strategies and actions that stimulate Broad Prosperity and foster it in the future. This not only requires operationalization of the concept of Broad Prosperity, but also organizations, management, institutions, and politics set up for integrated governance from this broader perspective.”

Besturen op Brede Welvaart 2 - foto: Ilse Wolf

Corien Prins (Professor of Law and Information Technology at Tilburg University and Chair of the Netherlands Scientific Council for Government Policy, WRR) showed what role technology plays or can play in relationship to Broad Prosperity. Prins advocated an integral approach to the role and impact of digitalization on Broad Prosperity since technology is more than an instrument in realizing it. If digitalization is used as an instrument, her advice is to take the quality, shelf life, and relevance of data into account. Her motto was: “Let digitalization work for us and not the other way around, so that data do not take on a life of their own.” 

In the afternoon, the visitors were invited to participate in sessions with Tilburg University’s various academic collaborative centers. They discussed themes like governance and management for broad prosperity, climate and energy, hunger and poverty, the labor market, the pension system, online technology, and mental health and the application of co-creation.

Broad Prosperity Week

Broad Prosperity Week is an initiative of the Province of North Brabant, Tilburg University, Avans University of Applied Sciences, the VBG (Association of Brabant Municipalities), VNO-NCW Brabant Zeeland (Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers in Brabant and Zeeland), and the national branch of VNO-NCW. Together with the Province of North Brabant, Tilburg University is organizing a day on ‘(Be)sturen op Brede Welvaart’ (‘Governance and Management for Broad Prosperity’), especially aimed at administrators, senior civil servants, and policymakers. On Tuesday, there are activities for young people on a so-called ‘Boost-yourself-square’ at Avans University of Applied Sciences in Breda and, on Wednesday, entrepreneurs are welcome at the offices of the Province of North Brabant to look at entrepreneurship from a Broad Prosperity angle. The Week will be concluded on Thursday with an online surprise.

Photographs: Ilse Wolf