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Public Leadership Challenge: Autonomy in the digital society

  • Bernard Steunenberg
  • Anja Lelieveld (Ministry of Interior affairs)
  • Reinier van Zutphen (National Ombudsman)
Thursday 31 May 2018
Schouwburgstraat 2
2511 VA The Hague
Living Lab

Public Leadership Challenge

During a Public Leadership Challenge (PLC) we focus upon current challenges we are facing today. How can we best address the challenges for our society and what are their implications for the Public Leadership Agenda? What kind of Public Leadership is called for? And what are preconditions for successful leadership? How can new approaches to Public Leadership make a difference? This challenge, organized by the Leiden Leadership Centre, the Public Leadership Foundation  and BECIS , is going to be EPIC! Check our previous PLC’s that also were organized in cooperation with the Leiden Leadership Centre/ Leiden University: publicleadership.foundation/public-leadership-challenge

Theme and background

In 2018, we are in the middle of a new “Industrial Revolution”: Digital developments like deep learning, artificial intelligence and robotization have a disruptive effect on our society. Are we as citizens still free and autonomous in making our own choices when we are increasingly influenced by the digital world? The question of autonomy becomes more and more pressing as technology filters information or even takes over in decision making. At the same time, we seem to be less critical about the information that comes to us. In the digital domain, private and public organisations are steering our behaviour through nudging. To what extent are we still able to make our own choices if we know that algorithms control the information exposed to us and record our behavior?


Prof. dr. Bernard Steunenberg  will provide the keynote. Bernard Steunenberg has been Professor of Public Administration at Leiden University since 1 September 1999. He conducts research on European politics and policymaking, including the relationship between the Union and its Member States on the transposition and implementation of European policy. Steunenberg is also chairman of the Governance and Data Science Group that discusses and conducts research on current challenges of ‘big data’ for society and the public sector.

Four relevant stakeholders in the digital revolution will formulate the key questions they are dealing with. Two of them are Anja Lelieveld from the Dutch Ministry of Interior affairs, who is preparing the Dutch government’s digital agenda and Reinier van Zutphen (the National Ombudsman), who defends the interest of citizens and the corporate tech sector, fuelling the digital transformation.


During this afternoon we will cooperate and co-create in a dynamic and interactive way, exploring new perspectives and building on our various expertise and approaches to formulate answers to the questions of the four stakeholders. We get exposed to and inspired by key people in the field from both government and private sector. In small groups we will work on concrete issues and develop an agenda to tackle the challenges and take initiative. By the end of the day we will present these to the stakeholders and press.


Participation to the challenge is limited to a maximum of 42 people. Invited are (senior/young) professionals involved, academics with a research focus on leadership, digitalisation, ethics and related fields, and Master students at Campus The Hague.

The event starts with a lunch at 12.30. The programme starts at 13.00 and ends with presentations and drinks. Closure at around 18.30.

Participation, lunch and drinks are all free. Registration is required by filling out this form.

For more information see also our partner website: publicleadership.foundation/event/public-leadership-challenge

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