TomorrowLab and Zorgnet-Icuro have gone through an intensive strategic innovation program that will help the organisation to meet the upcoming challenges of the elderly care sector. TomorrowLab helped Zorgnet-Icuro to develop future scenarios and a strategic toolkit that will guide Zorgnet-Icuro member organisations in discussions about their future direction.

New challenges for elderly care

Zorgnet-Icuro vzw is an established branch organisation in the Flemish healthcare community, representing Flemish hospitals, mental health and elderly care organisations, other social profit stakeholders. For more than 775 member organisations, Zorgnet-Icuro offers information, training and a strong voice in the public debate and decision-making process.

The current prospects of the Flemish elderly care sector, and of Zorgnet-Icuro’s member organisations specifically, are highly uncertain. Care centers today are dealing with an acute shortage of skilled labor on the one hand, and an increasing demand for quality care on the other hand, due to an ageing population. On top of that, a two-year COVID pandemic has shaken the elderly care community to its foundations. As the sector is looking for more cost sharing efficiencies and consolidation of expertise, the need for more professionalized management is rising.

Tackling uncertainty

Zorgnet-Icuro wanted to help its member organisations to face these uncertainties and anticipate possible future developments. Although it’s impossible to predict the future, Zorgnet-Icuro realized that it is useful to underpin a good future strategy with clear, shared insight into the present and into possible future scenarios. To do this exercise as efficiently as possible, Zorgnet-Icuro called in the support of TomorrowLab.

TomorrowLab offered Zorgnet-Icuro a tailor-made program based on its unique methodology, including the following pillars:

  • An exploration of the sector’s current uncertainties and challenges
  • A definition of four possible future scenarios in which the elderly care sector could develop
  • The development of a toolkit for the member organisations, to stress-test their organisations in the future scenarios and to support their long-term strategy discussions

Practical strategy toolkit

Together with TomorrowLab, Zorgnet-Icuro embarked on an intensive co-creative process. Driven by a series of interactive workshops and contributions of a dedicated Future Team of mixed experts, Zorgnet-Icuro and TomorrowLab defined two main uncertainties. The first one deals with the question whether the healthcare sector will develop towards more fragmentation or more integration. The second uncertainty has to do with the role of the government: will it either reinforce or loosen its grip on legislation and regulation?

Based on these uncertainties, four possible future scenarios were defined:

  • Scenario 1: less governmental involvement and an evolution towards more privatisation
  • Scenario 2: more governmental participation and more centralized elderly care
  • Scenario 3: decentralized elderly care with an important role for local authorities
  • Scenario 4: elderly care that is mainly supported by citizens’ initiative

“These four scenarios provide us with a clear frame of reference that we can use in strategic discussions with our members,” says Margot Cloet, managing director. “It will help our members to view their organisation in the light of these possible future developments and to stress-test their operations against these scenarios.”

More than imposing their own view on things, Zorgnet-Icuro wanted first and foremost to drive the debate and to provide a practical guide for its members to steer discussions. TomorrowLab therefore developed a strategic toolkit to help participants reflect and develop ideas in a structured way by means of discussion templates.

A strategic Tour of Flanders

In the fall of 2022, Zorgnet-Icuro will be presenting its strategy toolkit to member organisations across Flanders. “The toolkit will be an ideal way to create a sense of urgency with our members and with sector stakeholders,” says Bernadette Van Den Heuvel, Director Elderly Care. “By using this toolkit in their discussions, participants will be invited to leave their comfort zone and start thinking seriously about their strategic direction.” Zorgnet-Icuro is aiming at a minimum of 50 developed strategic plans in the course of 2023 as a result of strategic discussions with the toolkit.

“The toolkit will help care centers to look beyond the direct future and focus more on a durable, long-term strategy,” says Margot Cloet. “TomorrowLab’s unique methodology, broad expert ecosystem and ability to quickly get up to speed with this complex matter have greatly contributed to the success of this trajectory up to now.”

Co-creation Zorgnet-Icuro @ TomorrowLab
Co-creation Zorgnet-Icuro & TomorrowLab

Is a toolkit interesting for your organisation?

A toolkit is interesting for larger companies with several business units or large organisations with members or several regional “hubs”. In this way, the strategic exercise can be translated and implemented by the entire organisation. This is an indispensable condition to make your strategy a success.
Additionally, elderly care organisations that want to get started with this toolkit, but are not comfortable with facilitating this process themselves, can contact us for guidance.

Our experts in this domain

Karen Sprengers
Karen Sprengers Domain Lead
Dorothy Mingneau
Dorothy Mingneau Innovation & Strategy Consultant
Willem-Jan Jacobs
Willem-Jan Jacobs Sales Director

TomorrowLab’s unique methodology, broad expert ecosystem and ability to quickly get up to speed with this complex matter have greatly contributed to the success of this trajectory up to now.

Margot Cloet, Zorgnet-Icuro