From form to forest

RVO, the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland) asked STBY to help improve their services for organisations that want to request dispensation for building in the natural environment.

Due to changes in legislation the current application procedure no longer seems suitable. In the near future, RVO will be assessing fewer, but more complex projects. At present, organisations must submit their request via a strict procedure and rigid forms that do not allow for further explanation ‘outside of the boxes’. Often this leads to misunderstandings for both applicants and assessors.

In three User Labs, STBY facilitated conversations with a total of 22 recent applicants. In three sessions we learned all about the hiccups and successes in the current procedure by making visuals of their recent experiences. The stories of the participants were visualised in an aggregated customer journey of the most important issues in the current procedure, accompanied by more detailed stories in a report.


Following up on the User Labs, the insights from the conversations were shared with employees of the department. Immersing themselves in the experiences of the applicants, they quickly came up with simple actions to smooth the process. These involved issues that can’t be solved immediately, but can be communicated differently to enable organisations to comply with the procedure.

The most important realisation for the participants was that in the end all stakeholders have the same goal: to effectively protect the natural environment. Having this shared mission top of mind allowed participants to move away from details that are not working in the current procedure, and come up with further-reaching improvements that will benefit both parties.