Brilliant Failures Award AI Coalition Public Services

Artificial Intelligence (TO THE) offers many opportunities for optimizing public services. Taking advantage of these opportunities often involves trial and error. When innovating in AI in the complex government domain, it is often (almost-)failures that drive progress. A Brilliant Failure is a well-prepared attempt to achieve something with a different outcome than planned. Failures are brilliant when they are learned from and the experiences are shared with others. We find the opportunities to learn when things go wrong or (upon success) could have gone wrong, but where that didn't happen. You can because you were lucky, but also because you consciously made the right decision, based on thinking, knowledge use, to collaborate, etc.

On 13 april 2022 we awarded the Brilliant Failures Award AI Public Services for the first time. The Working Group Public Services of the AI ​​Coalition, together with the IvBM, was able to award six prizes for every aspect of the VIRAL formula and for the winner with the highest VIRAL score.. There were three nominees for the first edition of the Award, namely Bureau Dupin, Chatbot Tax and Preventive Maintenance.

  • Initiator Kees Kerstens(Preventive maintenance) making the municipality of Breda a smarter and better city with the help of artificial intelligence. The project focused on detecting damage in the road surface using AI. 300 kilometers of road surface were scanned and large numbers of photos were taken of cracks. Technically, the project was successful, but not all major parties have been involved enough.
  • Ramon Ankersmit(Chatbot Tax authorities) started in the Excellence Center at the Tax Authorities with a team on a project that wanted to develop a chatbot. They wanted to find out what conversational intelligence could bring to the organization. After a while it turned out that in addition to technical skills within the team, other knowledge was also required, namely a good business analysis. The complexity of the organization also made it difficult to use the knowledge gained effectively.
  • Bureau Dupin investigates the added value of the “Wisdom of the Crowd” in investigating unsolved crimes. This is done on the basis of the cold case: “The New Year's Murder”. An innovative aspect of this investigation is that Bureau Dupin is allowed to ask questions to the police/OM. The answers are then made available to the Bureau Dupin community, a group of citizen researchers.

This year the prize was won by Bureau Dupin. At the moment they have built a community of 1400 involved citizens who help with the cold case, "The New Year's Murder", the unexplained death of Marja Nijholt in 2013. Bureau Dupin's motto is 'Everyone is an expert in their own street’ and there is room for everyone. If you want to know more about this or the other cases, you can do that via our database:

After a successful debut of the Brilliant Failures Award AI Public Services, we aim to present the second edition of this Award next year. For this we need your case. You can do this by filling in the form below. Optionally, we would like to encourage you to record a short video (max 2min) in which you explain: 1) why you are participating, 2) what you are planning, 3) what was the outcome, 4) what has been learned and 5) what are the next steps?. You can also cut this video up and record and upload it in separate parts (jointly no longer than 2 min). Send the video via Wetransfer to

Share case:

  • Describe your Brilliant Failure in Public Domain AI

  • Briefly describe what your project was about.
  • Briefly describe your role in relation to the case
  • Give (If possible) roughly the period in which the project ran.
  • MM slash DD slash YYYY
  • MM slash DD slash YYYY
  • What was the aim of the initiative?
  • What steps have been taken to achieve the goal. Who is involved?
  • What went well or maybe even better than expected?
  • What has gone differently than planned? Why was the original goal not achieved?
  • What do you take with you to this or a next project? What are possible next steps?
  • What lessons can be drawn from this effort? What can others learn from this??
  • Don't you know what a brilliant failure is, look here (opens in new window).
  • If so, what needs to be done to move forward. If not, why not
  • You can do that below.
    Drop files here or
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    The jury awards prizes in each of the five categories of the VIRAL formula. We have VIRAL prizes for five brilliant failures:

    V (= Vision)
    I (= Bet)
    R (= Risk)
    A (= approach)
    L (= Learning)

    To determine how brilliant a failure is, each case receives figures for the Vision, Effort, Risk, Approach and Learning. With the term VIRAL we also refer to the distribution of, in this case, knowledge.
    When this one actually goes viral, is there a learning and evolving system.
    In addition, the main prize – from Brilliant Failure AI Public Services – awarded on the basis of a 50/50 combination of jury and (online) public.

    Procedural criteria

    • Entry was sent to the NL AI Coalition prior to the competition stating 'competition brilliant failure AI in public services
    • Transparent and compact information about your own position and specific role in the process
    • Email address and telephone number of sender known
    • The entrant has checked with his/her organization whether the case description may be made public in the run-up to the assessment of the entries, and announcing the winners.
    • Submitter's motivation why this failure matters, why does it have so much added value to share (e.g. as a closing word)
    • The project was carried out by party(and) in the public sector. Those are ministries, implementing organizations, municipalities, provinces, regional water authorities, collaborative organizations and not for profit organizations that perform public tasks.

    The assessment criteria
    The jury will select winners based on the following criteria:

    • The extent to which the failed project is related to an elaborated vision on AI (vision).
    • The beauty of the story of the failure (inspiration)
    • The extent to which it was known in advance that a (great) there was a chance that the project would fail (risk and guts).
    • The extent to which the approach to the failed project is distinctive, which, among other things, looks at the way in which risks are dealt with (approach).
    • The extent to which others (within one outside the own organization) can learn from failure (to learn).

    Composition of the jury

    • Prof.dr. Paul Louis Iske, professor of Open Innovation & Business Venturing, University of Maastricht (chair)
    • Drs. Robert van Doesburg, Senior Scientist, TNO-Leibniz Institute, TNO
    • Ir. Marieke van der Putten,
      Senior Innovation Manager NL AI Coalition
    • Barbara Visser MA, advisor Strategy & Innovation at DUO (Education Implementation Department)


    Ambassador of this Brilliant Failures Award AI in the Public Sector 2021 is:

    • Jim Proud, writer and entrepreneur.
      With his company Aigency, he delivers solutions in the field of artificial intelligence (TO THE) to large companies. In addition, he is often used as a 'pep-talk' at events about innovation, technology or entrepreneurship. Jim Stolze is the initiator of the National AI Course, partly supported by the Dutch AI Coalition.
    Award uitreiking zorg 2020