top of page



City of Rotterdam


The service of The Youth Desk was under pressure to better our services. We had big challenges and high dissatisfaction among our young persons, staff, internal and external partners. The ‘system world’ (procedures, processes en IT systems) was leading instead of supporting. There was a need for change and adaption.
To meet this need, a vision emerged to look at our services starting from the outside to the inside. From ‘let me show you how we do it’ to ‘Show me how to do it’. But the change could only be made if we could involve young persons and youth professionals to talk about there experiences.

The need to make a visual impression of your service, system and processes and making them understandable for our young persons, partners en employees. Also a tool for making the conversation with young people easier, supporting a faster connection and dialogue. The ‘broadcast’ time shortens and the young persons feel more often invited to share their stories more proactively. One of the benefits of the placemat is that it lightens up the conversation.


Further development Youth Desk started with hearing the young persons, external partners and the colleagues from the Youth Desk.
The Young persons and de Youth coaches (professionals) are the target group.

The Chat-plates (placemats) started in 2015 as a result of so called ‘Consultation rounds’ and ‘Mirror (reflection) Sessions’ at the Youth Desk Rotterdam. This was based on the book named ‘De Verdraaide Organisatie’ (The Twisted Organization), which tells about working with the good intentions.

We started with ‘Consultation rounds’ with external partners such as youth workers, city officials and young persons to discuss the desired level of service.
The same was done in the ‘Mirror Sessions’ with employees/colleagues of the organization.
Question for the both sessions: when supporting young persons is our main goal, tell us how to provide them the best service.

The outcome of a few of the sessions were gathered together. Instead of making a whole bookwork, which is mostly not understandable for most of the young persons and colleagues, an illustrator was hired to make placemats. After that, the illustrator made an impression of every sessions of the conversations and meetings.
This was discussed in the groups again and the feedback was very positive; these placemats made conversations visual and understandable for partners, staff, but most importantly, for all our young persons. These placemats can even show the emotions of young persons and professionals in a conversation. For young persons, they have recognition and feel heard.


• Organize consultation meetings
• Hire an expert illustrator
• Select partners and young persons from your organization network
• Inform each participant about the purpose of the meeting
• Provide a moderator who is well acquainted with the goal
• Provide an open atmosphere
• Introduce the draftsman if the drawing of the meeting is ready
• Show the placemat and discuss it with the group
• Let the collection placemat tell the story of the desired changes




These placemats are now used to visualize our processes and our meeting with young persons and is embraced by the organization, young persons and professionals. They give a view of how the system is organized and how the service is arranged. For people not willingly to read long memos or bookwork this is a perfect solution to show what you mean and how you do it. We use these placemats for the intake process, Social Support Act (WMO) trajectory, absenteeism process and application for welfare payments.



High degree / regularly

Gender sensitivity:

High degree / regularly

Culture sensitivity:

High degree / regularly

Doable (practical):

High degree / regularly


High degree / regularly

Replicable and adaptable:

High degree / regularly


High degree / regularly

Type of good practice

Practical tool, Organisational structure or tool


Democratic dialogue, Social inclusion, Youth civic participation


One day or less

Type of activity

Mixed (individual and/or group sessions)


Illustrations (placemats) (appendix 1), Process, Website (intranet), Meetings


Soerish Chattarpal


bottom of page