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The Zorg Innovatie Forum: a network that drives innovation

18 February 2021

The Zorg Innovatie Forum (ZIF) is a network and project organization with more than 40 stakeholders in the four northern provinces, that strives for an inclusive society. ZIF also has a broad network with different end-users: elderly people, varied disabled people, and people with a long intergenerational experience with poverty. Cooperating with them in the initiating phase as well as in execution,  monitoring and evaluation of projects, becomes more and more important in many proposals. ZIF is a place for meeting people, sharing knowledge and providing collaboration for concrete projects. When they started in 2007 their mission was to improve the quality of healthcare in the Northern Netherlands. Currently, they have grown so much that they are involved in various projects in the social and healthcare domain. We interviewed Lisa Zwiers, communication professional at ZIF.

“As a network organization we have a connecting and innovative role for formulating solutions for problems. We try to bring partners together in a new context”, says Zwiers. “For example, we organize digital meetings about the impact of corona on children’s mental behaviour, or we cooperate with elderly people. Our goal is to commit to societal developments and create an inclusive society where every individual counts, with a special focus on vulnerable people.” Their collaborators vary from municipalities,  citizens to medical centers. The ZIF organizes meetings with them to connect them with people within their network. Zwiers explains: “When we encounter a new initiative we are always considering whether we have relevant stakeholders that we can connect.”

Next to being a networking organization, the ZIF also operates as a project coordinator. Kans voor de Veenkoloniën and Platform Pouwer are two of their main projects. Kans voor de Veenkoloniën is an 8-year project which focusses on improving the health of inhabitants of the Veenkoloniën, a region in eastern Groningen and eastern Drenthe. Zwiers elaborates, “We operate as project coordinator, which means that we are responsible for the financing and communication regarding the project.”  ZIF is also quite interested in elderly participation in society, therefore they created Platform Pouwer, a platform that gives elderly a voice. Next to that, they cooperate in large projects related to dementia with several healthcare providers on a national level. Besides, they also coordinate smaller projects such as Baanbrekend Perspectief, which focusses on encouraging development of employees who are close to retirement, and E-health.

ZIF is always open for new collaborations. Zwiers adds: “If people want to work with us on a project, or are looking for partnerships,  they can always contact us. We can try to connect them to another party in our network. Some projects in which we participate can be interesting in relation to co-financing. We appreciate to come in contact to discover the opportunities for cooperation in an early stage.” 

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This post was written by Larissa van der Wal, MSc Science Communication intern for the Impact Team at UMCG

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