arjan postma

mr. unconventional

the netherlands

21 april 2021

Arjan shares his journey which is driven by his unconventional approaches.  He explains the planned regeneration of the FreedomLab company, which literally rebooted every five years. We have a really nice discussion about the difference between ‘future-proof’ and ‘future ready’, which brings up the extreme importance of language during times of change.  We share different patterns we see, such as Amor Mundi, which means: Love the world around you before you love yourself. He shares his latest initiative, which may be considered impossible to do…


Arjan his entrepreneurial journey started as an employee at Hewlett Packard being responsible for many products that arrived straight from the famous HP Labs to a non-existing market. In that time-varying from the first portable pc’s upto the emergence of handheld computing. After this amazing training in the Kaizen way of doing business, Arjan started one of the first Dutch start-up Incubators, UR/JAMBY, in The Netherlands. This first dotcom boom ánd bust was rollercoaster and one of the most amazing learning experiences in his life. His quest soon became to see What might be possible… if the global lean six sigma format of HP would be combined with the agile and a more human-centric structure of these upcoming scale-ups. 

To study that question in real life he Founded in 2000 the social enterprise FreedomLab which grew out to be one of the largest Campus grounds in Amsterdam facilitating a wildly diverse group of anthropologists, hackers, designers and many more. All geared around that question; How much freedom is required to create fundamental change? Their methodology? Action research. They decided to 15 years long implement and experiment with every new notion of ‘working togetherThere were plenty of failures and some beautiful successes to celebrate. The open, social and explorative nature of his journey brought him to many places in the world where he could learn from other pioneers varying from the founder of Microsoft Paul Allen to Secretary Albright, sportsman Johan Cruyff and many more. All these unique projects and encounters helped him to shape a very transdisciplinary, comprehensive view on change, purpose, transformation etc. 

Having sold his company now almost five years ago, Arjan continued on the same quest, yet with even more will to extend his horizon further… not just solving problems but trying to prevent those problems from arising by coaching senior teams in becoming more Future Ready, through a wiser decision making process, using unconventional approaches and the power of pattern recognition. Sounds like a mount full but Arjan is more than anybody equipped to make extremely complex matters easy to understand and to translate them into pragmatic work. Arjan his entrepreneurial motto? ‘Learn by doing, understand by sharing’

Organizations often say they want to be more Future Proof. Something I can only advise nót to do. Being prone to whatever the future beholds is like a dead tree in an autumn storm. Its robustness will mean the end of the tree. Trying to become (it’s a process, not a state) to be more Future Ready requires more sensitivity and agility towards What Might Be.

In my role I guide, advise and train senior teams in these 21st-century skills. An important part of ‘becoming more Future Ready’ is not so much how many trends you know but more how you respond to change aka the design of your decision-making process. To shift from a modus of ’survive’ towards ’to thrive’ we need less smart and more wise-decision making. Wiser decisions have in common that more alternatives have been taken into sincere consideration. Especially when those alternatives are more multi-dimensional or even off the beaten track.

As it is my speciality for over two decades to facilitate these teams and process to look beyond the curve, to embrace complexity, and solve challenges using Unconventional thinking. Hence the nickname I received as Mr. unconventional. ‘How do you so that?’ Is a question I always get. I can reveal my secret superpower, it is Pattern Recognition. I developed a methodology to rapidly see superstructure and patterns in practice. These patterns help you to grasp the essence faster, to increase understanding by connecting hidden dots and be more creative in finding the What Might Be resolutions!


Check out Arjan’s new initiative, What Would X Do?: http://wwxd.com/

If you are curious to hear more about Arjan’s perspective, check out his podcast (in Dutch), Wicked Sessions – for people who are more curious: https://open.spotify.com/show/6r9qdWjG0oYnbgMx00qBsf

Read more about the Japanese tradition of Jingū, where they rebuild shrines in order to maintain the knowledge of the techniques: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ise_Grand_Shrine#Rebuilding_the_Shrine

We spoke about two books titled, “Finite and Infinate Games,” both of which are highlight recommended:

The ‘Jiro Dreams of Sushi’ movie mentioned by Arjan: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1772925/

The conversations on The Business Simplicity Podcast are inspired by the Simplicity Scan, which is described in detail in the Simplicity Toolkit.  Get it below for free!

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