Get in touch! ton@tonzijlstra.eu

Meet Ton

I assist organisations, communities, and governments to better leverage the digital technologies and networked methods needed in our complex world.

What I do

Networked agency, distributed digital transformation, ethics by design.

Digital transformation is not just about smart nations, cities or organisations, but very much about the networked agency of individuals, you and your groups, around your own issues in your context. I empower people by bringing down thresholds for using new digital technologies and by introducing methods suitable for an intensely networked society. Distributed digital transformation. My focus on the agency of people makes taking openness, equality, inclusion and power balances necessary, not just as an afterthought but right from the start of every project. Ethics by design.

I work(ed) with a variety of clients, international public and private organisations, national and local governments, from government ministers to primary school children. I contribute(d) to national open data infrastructures, quality of public governance, the development of university teachers, and the future of libraries.

5 Reasons to hire me

I have over 20 years of experience creating change for clients, helping them thrive in a connected world. Part of my toolkit are complexity management, open data, participatory narrative inquiry, change management, community stewarding, data governance, digital technology, and philosophy of science. I am an independent consultant, founding partner of the European open data consultancy The Green Land, and a senior expert for the World Bank on open government.

I know what digital technology does for how we learn, organise, connect, work and live together. As a kid I felt everything and everyone was connected. I could see all the connections and networks in my mind. In the early ’80s home computers and amateur radio, and then from 1989 daily internet access made that very tangible to me. Since then I’ve been actively following the steps towards our digitally connected world of today: posting on usenet, building websites and my employer’s first intranet, blogging on knowledge management in the ’00s, building my global professional peer network through online interaction, the explosion of social media platforms, and now the deeply human dilemmas and challenges that rise from all these digital connections between people, information and objects. We are all still at the start of making this our natural environment. My background in philosophy of technology helps me and you to make sense of it all, and act effectively.

I build new connections for you, to people and to ideas. I often function as an interpretor between decision makers and technologists. My diplomatic sensitivity allows me to work across groups and cultures, and I work in Europe, Central and South-East Asia. I am part of a wide variety of networks spanning the world and different languages. I’m connected to start-ups and activists (chair of the NGO Open State Foundation), makers (former chair of the FabLab Foundation in the BeNeLux) and artisans (treasurer of the Dutch Creative Commons chapter), to thinkers and academia (my work has been the subject matter of PhDs in different disciplines).

I have ample experience organising events and workshops. I run numerous participatory workshops for clients. I organised international conferences for the European open data community. I was the initiator of a workshop series called BlogWalk (2004-2008) that brought together several hundred professionals in 11 cities across three continents on social media topics. With my wife I organise ‘unconferences’ in our own home, by way of birthday party. Active participation is a key ingredient in all these, there’s no such thing as an audience. Open space principles are therefore part of all my group work.

I’m an experienced speaker, and I always adapt my talks to the context of the audience. For over fifteen years I’ve given presentations at numerous occasions for clients, at international business, technology and academic conferences. In front of audiences of a dozen to thousands. Such as Online Educa, Big Data Week Malaysia, European Ministerial conferences, Reboot, Lift, SHiFT, TEDx’s, and State of the Net.

How to connect with me

I am available for consulting, speaking and research globally, and for project leadership and work in Europe. I’m based in the Netherlands, and work in English, Dutch and German.

Contact me at ton@tonzijlstra.eu for inquiries.

For more info on my work on open data and open government see my company’s website The Green Land

For postings about my activities and interests read and follow my blog Interdependent Thoughts

Home 6 November 2018