Policy Lab: developing data-driven policies

The use of new data sources and technological developments such as Artificial Intelligence offers opportunities for policy makers to gain new insights and respond better to societal developments. TNO has developed a methodology that can be used to experiment with this way of making policy: the Policy Lab.

Experiments are central

The Policy Lab is a methodology for conducting controlled experiments with new data sources and new technologies for creating data-driven policies. Policy makers experiment with new policies in a safe environment and then scale up successes. The Policy Lab approach has a few starting points:

  • Use of new data sources as sensor data and technological developments for policy development
  • Multidisciplinary approach: including data science, legal, domain-oriented, etc.
  • Involving citizens and other stakeholders ('co-creation') and carefully weighing different values

Phased approach

Different stages are followed in conjunction with each other or separately

The Policy Lab approach has three phases:
(1) Explore new data sources and technologies and their impact on policy,
(2) Joint setting up of experiments and involving different stakeholders, and
(3) Implementation, expansion and monitoring of data-driven policy.
This approach can be applied to issues by going through all three phases or by exploring one of these phases in depth.

Pilot Youth Policy Rotterdam

A pilot is currently being carried out in collaboration with the Municipality of Rotterdam and the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations. The goal of the experiment is to arrive at a better policy model aimed at developing socio-emotional skills and preventing young people from ending up without education or work. To this end, various data sources (from the Centre for Youth and Family, CBS - the Dutch and the Municipality of Rotterdam) are linked and a combination of statistical methods and Machine Learning is used to explore which factors are decisive for the socio-emotional development of young people. The Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations supports the experiment with the aim of developing a new methodology for data-driven policy.


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Dr. ir. Anne Fleur van Veenstra

  • Policy Lab
  • Data-driven policy
  • Digital governance
  • Public sector innovation