Disoriented behaviour

Runtime: September 2019 – September 2021
Client: ZonMw

Project description

Since the introduction of the E33-notification in 2011 by the Dutch police, the societal unrest in relation to people with disoriented behavior increased. Based on the advice of a national advisory team, regions were given the task to create a comprehensive strategy for this heterogeneous misfit group. To implement this strategy, an action program of ZonMw subsidized around 800 regional and local initiatives. The aim of this project was to evaluate the role of the action program in developing and sustaining best practices.

The evaluation showed that the action program created space for the development of a wide range of best practices. These practices provided person-centered transport, triage, and care by deploying experts-by-experience and pursuing a neighborhood-oriented approach. The perspectives on these best practices, however, differed. The evaluation illustrated the need for a more preventive and collective approach with more consideration for the human and relational side of misunderstood behaviour. The fact that best practices were contested, showed the wickedness of the issue. Wicked problems are complex, multi-layered problems characterized by great uncertainty. Unambiguous solutions for wicked problems are not possible. Yet, efforts should be focused on managing wicked problems. The evaluation depicted that playful learning at both an individual, organizational, and regional level could help in making wicked problems manageable. Playful learning requires space to connect different layers, domains, and structures by continuously reflecting on and creatively adapting to changing or new circumstances.

Animation results (in Dutch)


Project leader: dr. Violet Petit-Steeghs                     
Contact: vpetit@eshpm.eur.nl

Project members: dr. Hans Vollaard; dr. Hester van de Bovenkamp; Marcello Aspria, MSc; prof.dr. Roland Bal and Teyler van Muijden, MSc.


  • EASST/4S 2020 Conference. 
    Petit-Steeghs, V., van de Bovenkamp, H.M., Bal, R.A. (2020) Doing wickedness. Disoriented behaviour in the Netherlands.
  • On 28 January 2021 prof. Roland Bal and assistant professor Violet-Petit-Steeghs took part in the ZonMw talk show. They shared knowledge and insights about the regional developments about disoriented behaviour. The talk show can be watched via https://lnkd.in/gT7wCYp.

  • On 21 September 2021 assistant professor Violet Petit-Steeghs gave a short lecture at Studio Erasmus. The lecture can be watched via https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1Yt16nfVA4

  • EASST/4S 2022 van Muijden, T. and Petit-Steeghs, V., (2022) The illusion of a comprehensive future narrative: moving from manufacturability to modesty

  • EGOS 2022 Conference Petit-Steeghs, V., van Muijden, T., Vollaard, H., Aspria, M., Bal, R.A., van de Bovenkamp, H.M. (2022) Taming wicked societal problems: creating conditions for playfulness to enhance system resilience. (nominated for most interesting paper)


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