The whole basis of the concept of Positive Health is developed by Machteld Huber and her team and she founded the Institute of Positive Health (iPH) in the Netherlands (2015). The research and elaboration of the concept and application in policy, practice, research and education in the Netherlands took place over the last decade. Positive Health is an innovative concept that creates a transition from disease-oriented care to health-oriented and resilience care, with the focus on the whole person. It started in health care and is expanding into other domains, youth, schools, healthy workplaces, healthy living environments, and much more. Since 2022 the Institute of Positive Health collaborates with “Alles is Gezondheid” on the way to a healthier Netherlands.
By first filling in the spiderweb itself, you can explore what the core of the philosophy is. If you skip this step, you will easily miss the point, because without experiencing the effect, you will remain on the outside, just watching patients. Clients will quickly realize if you yourself have lived through what it is all about.
The lessons learned and the national developments in Positive Health of recent years are based on the theory of 'transformative social innovation'. The process and methods by which new ways of thinking, working and organising spread and gradually became institutionalised can be inspiring for other countries in developing activities to strengthen Positive Health as a movement.
Transition management distinguishes various spheres of influence (strategic, tactical and operational). ‘It is the actors’ abilities that drive the development mechanisms of growing, replicating, partnering, instrumentalising and embedding.’ These development mechanisms support the dissemination of Positive Health in the Netherlands.
The main result to date, in the Netherlands, has been the inclusion of Positive Health as part of the Dutch Government’s vision of health in its National Policy on Public Health 2020–2024. The incorporation of Positive Health in national public health policy is an important step towards the concept becoming mainstream or even the norm. In an ongoing process, the Institute for Positive Health (iPH) and its partners actively look for ways to embed Positive Health in regulation and regular funding schemes in the Netherlands.
What made stakeholders in a variety of countries wanting to start with Positive Health? As written in the 'Handbook Positive Health in primary care - The Dutch Example' a similar path appears to be followed whenever the concept is implemented in a new niche, new practice, community or region or country. The authors of the handbook use Sinek's ‘why, how and what’ (Sinek, 2009) as a leitmotiv to describe the experiences in the various countries where Positive Health has been introduced.
Each time we start with the questions:
Several versions of the spider web have been developed in the Netherlands (eg children’s, youth, adults and simple version) to apply Positive Health for various target groups.