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A confession can have surprising consequences. In my last blog, I admitted to being an idealist, enthusiastic and easily inspired by things that hold the promise of a better world no matter how small.

Partly because of this, I was invited for a meeting with an organisation that I had never heard of before: the Perikles Foundation (in Dutch: Stichting Perikles). Perikles was founded in 2011 and acts as a think tank for the implementation of new policy in social security. Perikles, a citizens’ initiative, initiates and facilitates this new policy. It includes not only citizens, but also politicians, scientists and government officials. The idea is to offer input ‘in a personal capacity’ on the question of what social security will look like in 20 years and what needs to be set in motion today to achieve this. Perikles’ mission is to inspire innovation and I have been asked to supervise their think tanks, called ‘salons’. Also, I joined the foundation’s executive board.

The foundation was named after the Greek statesman and general Perikles who radicalised democratic institutions. In doing so, he granted state benefits to citizens who held public positions. As a result, these positions were also open to people from lower income brackets. This Perikles was an innovator in the purest sense of the word.

I am honoured to be part of an organisation that follows in his footsteps and is committed to making the world of social security a better place. I especially value the fact that this innovation serves a social purpose. To me, the card-carrying idealist, this is the most appealing ambition of all.

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