Digital Policy: Data-driven and future-proof policy development

Society is becoming digital. This has an effect an government, including consequences for policy. With its knowledge of digital policy, TNO is helping government to explore strategies and research the impact of the digitalisation of society on policy. In addition, in the Policy Lab, TNO is experimenting with the application of new development methods.

In recent years digitalisation has changed our daily life, employment, science, security and democracy. The government must participate in this development, and it recognises and acknowledges this. For example, big data has an impact on the effectiveness of the policy models used to tackle social issues such as unemployment and migration. Within the Digital Policy roadmap, TNO assists government in translating its ambitions into practical terms and in designing the transition to new future-proof policy models.

We are doing this by exploring strategies and developing tools that enable organisations to look beyond their current horizon. As well as this strategic exploration, we assist with policy studies designed to discover the impact of the digitalisation of society on policy and we have set up the Policy Lab in which we can experiment with new policy development.

Policy Lab

The Policy Lab is an experimental environment for data-driven policy development and co-creation. In an environment with few regulations, multidisciplinary experts cooperate and use new sources (big data, sensor data and social media) to produce policy and set up policy models and methodologies for producing policy. The aim is to develop innovative methods for spotting new technological developments and clarifying their relevance for policymakers, prototyping and rapid implementation.

“In a real-time environment we experiment with how new technology performs within existing regulations. This shows us what we can expect if we apply the new technology. Moreover, citizens are involved in policy development in order to increase its legitimacy,” explains Jean-Louis Roso, senior business developer at TNO.

Use case

An example of an experiment at the Policy Lab is the big data use case ‘Social emotional skills’. In this use case, we are experimenting with the municipality of Rotterdam, the Trimbos Institute, the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations (BZK) and Statistics Netherlands (CBS) on the application of big data methodologies for developing a hybrid policy model for fostering the social emotional development of young people in Rotterdam. The aim is to put greater emphasis on the prevention of psychological problems, thereby reducing social problems such as school drop-out, criminality and the overuse of health care resources.


The multidisciplinary approach taken by the Policy Lab is unique. The combination of our expertise in fields including policy studies, statistical analysis, big data and deep learning-methodologies as well as our legal and ethical expertise and specific domain knowledge enables us to capably advise government agencies and businesses and assist them at the interface of policy and digitalisation.

Would you like to know more about what we are doing in the field of Digital Policy or do you have a use case you would like to work on with us? Please do get in touch with us to hear about the possibilities.

Fast open infrastructures

Jean-Louis Roso

  • Big Data
  • Privacy & e-Identity
  • Information Enabled Empowerment
  • Government