Keeping It (A)live

How can we keep the debate (a)live?

Tegenlicht – a well established future-affairs program by national broadcaster VPRO – is redesigning its format. From a broadcast centered format with a 2-weekly television program followed by several meet-ups around the country where the broadcast is discussed, to a new hybrid/mixed media format that revolves around monthly themes that are discussed through a mix of monthly broadcasts, physical meet-ups, and online content and discussion.

The aim of our project is to facilitate the ongoing debate in Tegenlicht meet-ups to re-vitalise the engagement of the communities. This is because the meet-up communities are important to keep the debates about societal issues alive. These debates also serve as an instrument of connecting different target groups i.e., professionals, students, teachers and policy makers that Tegenlicht aims to involve, as their aim is not only to address future affairs, but also inspire action to shape the future in a positive manner.


CONTEXT Tegenlicht, VPRO‘s weekly, future affairs-program, balances on the edge of storytelling and journalism.
It focuses on the questions that arise from our globalized world in which societies, economies and cultures seek a new equilibrium. Backlight aims to grasp the quintessence of prominent trends and developments.

The series shifts between two modes of communication: while it provides an in-depth analysis of new developments by leading intellectuals, visionaries and mavericks (the architects of change), it also applies daring cinematic techniques, capturing the effects these changes have on the daily lives of the real world‘s citizens.

MEANINGFUL INSIGHTS The meet-ups are what keeps the programme alive, bringing to light topics for discussion directly from society. Furthermore, these events are organised by the organising users, autonomously and freely by referring to VPRO.


METHOD USED Systemic design is the method we used during these weeks for the project, it’s a discipline that involves the study of a system, i.e. a specific context characterised by its actors (the stakeholders) and the relationships and flows between them and the context, or characteristics of it.
It is like saying the structure of every process that takes place, speaking of Tegenlicht the system has as its context the Dutch territory, its stakeholders are the public, the organising users, the programme partners, VPRO, Beeld & Geluid.

The study of a system leads to the observation of opportunities and challenges that can be worked on for a complete design.
This is how we decided which direction to take, together with the partners.

Tools used to find directions for transformation
• user research, user journey map, personas, surveys,
• context research, stakeholder map, a day in a life (meet-ups events), case study research, challenges and opportunities, best practises
• translate sessions with experts, meet-up organisers, user experience consultants, service designers
• sprint reviews with partners
• meetings with meet-up organisers, at meet-ups and at a warm-up session for organisers hosted by VPRO

CONCEPT OF SOLUTIONS From the research we realised that in order to keep the debate alive, it is important to implement several actions, small solutions that in the long run, will lead to the desired result.

The important observation we obtained during this process is related to the importance of organisers, which we consider to be a very important resource for VPRO Tegenlicht because the organisers are a direct link to the audience, the new targets.
Furthermore, we know that their energy in organising the meet-ups is important for obtaining feedback from the users, who in this way bring to light important observations about society

SOLUTIONS To succeed in these aims, we observed the system, the actors and all the elements that characterise it. In doing so, we noted that two types of implementation were possible:

1) proposing new formats for meet-ups, new dynamics and guidelines for organising users, who will thus have more help in organising and above all new possibilities for organising their own event. Empowering users and making them participate in more collaborative experiences

2) Implementing online tools: we created two digital prototypes. The first one refers to the step-by-step toolkit that will help the organisation of meet-ups and will enable VPRO Tegenlicht to obtain useful information.
The second prototype relates to the creation of a personal area for the organiser who will have access to several tools that will allow him/her to access the network of organisers, choose a location, see the list of guidelines, ask for help, and so on.

What’s waiting for you at showcase?

You will experience being a Tegenlicht meetup organiser!

This experience will immerse you in the digital prototypes we have designed. Using this prototype, you will get an idea of your contribution to the debate. What are you waiting for? Sign up for the showcase, we are waiting for you!