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AAN! Accelerator: transforming the future of the Northern Netherlands

Reos Partners
December, 2020

Discover how AAN! Accelerator uses transformative scenarios to shape the future of the Northern Netherlands.


The Northern Netherlands is an area with incredible opportunities and possibilities, but there are persistent challenges such as poverty, livelihood problems, energy transition, nature and agriculture and a high dependence on subsidies. 

In 2019, 45 stakeholders from diverse backgrounds embarked upon a transformative scenarios process (TSP) through which four possible futures were constructed for the northern region of the Netherlands. This process led to the successful launch of AAN! Noord Nederland and the follow up AAN! Accelerator process at the start of 2021.

My key take-away from this process is the importance of bringing different perspectives together and the way we are building something collectively. This is a wonderful journey that is only just beginning.

AAN! Accelerator participant

Five teams gathered in online workshops to accelerate their initiatives. The Accelerator is an action-oriented process designed to support the participants‘ aim of creating long-term positive impact for the North Netherlands. The process was funded by Shell and designed and facilitated by Reos Partners.


At Reos, we believe that complex challenges cannot be resolved by any single individual, organization, or sector working in isolation. Systemic challenges demand immediate, novel and accelerated collaboration from a wide range of stakeholders.

The AAN! Accelerator was a transformative process where teams were supported to accelerate the impact of their initiative by:

  • strengthening their capacity to collaborate;
  • enhancing their systemic understanding of the challenge at hand; and
  • developing their action-confidence to act in complex realities.

A Reos Partners Accelerator differs from other accelerator processes in that:

  • the teams consist of actors from across the system in which the initiative is embedded;
  • the team members build their initiative in parallel to building their collaboration capacities; and
  • the teams have access to the power of the collective for reflections, learnings and prototyping.


The teams comprised of five to seven diverse, strong influencers and change makers from various organizations or sectors. Each team brought in a new or existing initiative for positive impact in the North Netherlands:

  • Food Alliance North-Netherlands: connecting change-makers in the region and stimulating the food debate to accelerate the transformation of the food system in the North Netherlands.
  • Innovative Hub for the Eems Dollard Region in Transition: enhancing cross-pollination between education, research institutes and SMEs to keep regional talent in the region and improve the labour market in the cross-border region of North Netherlands and North Germany.
  • Makeport Mercurius: enhancing collaboration between education, entrepreneurs, the government and the community of ‘Stadskanaal’ (a specific area in the province of Groningen with a range of issues) to create an innovative and sustainable manufacturing industry in the region.
  • LocalNews: seeking to establish a different type of local journalism, by and for the people in the North to underpin independent reporting and combat mis- and disinformation leading to the erosion of social cohesion.
  • Housing Cooperative 2.0: driving a more balanced and just housing market by connecting collective ownership and collective responsibility for the entire community.


As a result of the guided transformative scenarios process, the teams developed several successful prototypes and proposals to better their communities. The process also led to the launch of the ongoing initiative: AAN! Noord Nederland

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