What can we learn from the Norwegians?
We are humble in Norway and actually follow the Rathenau Instituut’s work closely for inspiration. However, what I think we are good at is formulating actionable advice. There is a lot of general advice out there, that can apply to just about every study on technology. We like to stay away from this and be specific: who needs to do what, who should be in the lead, what will the impact be? Our role is to think out loud and my slogan is “don’t be boring!” We are not case handlers; we have the privilege of independently coming up with new ideas. In that sense we present a gift that the receiver didn’t know they wanted. It is our duty to not only create this gift, but also wrap it, present it, and explain its relevance and urgency to a broad community. Therefore, we may be subtle and academic in our work, but can also afford to be bold, original and outspoken in its presentation.
Now we are curious, how do you learn from the Rathenau Instituut?
We learn a lot in fact. Actually, when we were established, we looked at the Dutch and the Danish. The Danish Board of Technology was doing inspiring things involving citizens in research and public debate. The Rathenau Instituut does this too, and has a real edge in technology assessment. You continue to carry out sophisticated analyses and do great conceptual work. Our countries are quite comparable, I believe, in our attitudes towards government, and adoption of technology. Therefore, it is very relevant for us to keep reading up on Dutch insights on science and technology and to work together, where possible.