by Tom Bosschaert

Nov. 27, 2011

Tom Bosschaert

Under the name of Excellent Areas ("Excellente Gebieden"), several Dutch home construction companies and municipalities are engaged in an experiment to use the building standards of 2015 and 2020 today. There is much to learn from the nature of these building standards before they can be applied profitably. AgentschapNL is the Exemplary Neighborhoods project facilitator, and they asked us to evaluate the instruments they have set up for the learning trajectory.

Transition learning

The most significant program of this experiment centers around learning. What are the issues that homeowners, construction companies, municipalities, energy companies, and advisors run into? How does everyone deal with them?

We used the three steps of transition learning to structure this research:

  • deepening
  • broadening
  • scaling up

Deep understanding is about applying a specific new solution to a particular problem. Broad learning involves using that new solution to other cases of the same or a similar situation. Finally, learning to scale up means that these new solutions can become more standardized and applied by many more actors. 

Evaluating a transition experiment

Our evaluation process of Excellent Areas started with establishing what we could hope to learn about the program. In which areas could its functioning be assessed? And how? Based on the trichotomy of deepening, broadening, and learning, we organized a series of semi-open questions on the one hand and a series of interviews on the other. The outcome of the 18 discussions was structured and then analyzed for patterns. 

We concluded that the developed instruments deal very well with deepening and broadening learning, but there is still underdeveloped attention for scaling up learning. Since the program started in 2010, it is not too late to develop this further. 

Please see the project document attached to this page - only available in Dutch.

Nov. 27, 2011

Client & Partners

Project team

  • Tim Horsten

    CSR Consultant / Engineer

  • Bob Geldermans

    Industrial Ecologist
    Except Integrated Sustainability

  • Gerard Vink

    Communication Strategist
    Except Integrated Sustainability

  • Marten J. Witkamp

    Strategy & Communication
    Except Integrated Sustainability

  • Daniël van Rijn

    NL Agency


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