Where are they now? Alumnus Oscar Westra van Holthe Part 2
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Where are they now? Alumnus Oscar Westra van Holthe Part 2

See Part 1 for the background information on Oscar and his businesses!

5. What do you aspire to do in the future?

My hope is to do 10-day processes within the large multinational corporations and grow our pool up to 3000 systemic coaches and consultants. Then we can serve the biggest corporations wordwide. Why 10 days? Because this way we avoid to become part the culture, yet make sure to mirror the dynamics as they really are playing themselves out. In some companies people got so used to not being heard consistently, it’s really a shame. We can do much better than that. We need interventions by a neutral party. We need to learn to do this balancing act – between providing what we need for ourselves and what the earth can keep up providing us with.

The Kate Raworth Doughnut Economics model.


For now, we will start small. We combine adult learning expertise with social technology (social work formats and software). We are currently working with partners on creating specific software to merge all the social maps we make. The computational models are very hard, yet I like a good challenge, with the right people.

6. What Knowmads tools/learnings did you use when developing the concept and materials for your businesses? How much of a role do they play in your operation?

Knowmads was a good introduction towards a lot of different ways of looking at the world. Its biggest legacy for me was that there is not one way to go about things; you need to find a way that fits you. Weird workshops: Some worked for me, some didn’t at all. And the same is with people, getting to know different weirdos and understanding that there’s not one ‘right’ way, and that there is a way that works for you, so find it. This is for me the beauty and essence of what Knowmads can bring you. You take from it what works for you. And you leave behind, what doesn’t work for you. It’s up to you, really.

Knowmads represented experimentation; room to start. My company ModelMinds was born at Knowmads. I began by utilizing graphic facilitation; drawing speeches for money, and collaborated with another first-triber, Manuel, and together we grew a very successful business with over 180 clients a year.

The essence of Knowmads I find back in whatever I do. Take for example the discussions we used to have about who does the dishes: if, when, how, who, and why? Now I know there is a dishwasher; however, these types of discussions we had back then are still happening within a lot of organizations. What exists within small schools like Knowmads, also exist within the bigger organizations with a huge footprint. Thus, I see how Knowmads helped me open up to see the need for simplicity in the bigger business complexities. The time it took then helped me train to stay present, even when it takes time.

Knowmads is also about meeting people for who they are, beyond stereotypes and labels.

TOOLS from Knowmads I used:

Deep democracy: all courses with Myrna Lewis from the Lewis Deep Democracy method; NVC (all my interns used to be trained in NVC, now in constellations work); visual tools to simplify and re-model difficult social structures/dynamics.

7. Oftentimes it takes a ‘landing period’ of several months after the program ends to fully integrate the skills. How long did it take you to find you are using them on a regular basis?

Knowmads is a rollercoaster, with new views, inputs, characters, etc. We founded the first company ModelMinds within a few months into the program of Knowmads, starting a business that is meaningful, not for the money. Good to know, by the way, it is the biggest illusion of entrepreneurs that they think they will focus on one thing, the thing that they’re good at. In reality, however 80% of their time is spent on landing clients, at least in the first year. So, once you’re good at one thing, it is my impression that you will end up doing more of that thing as an employee in an existing organization than as an entrepreneur. However, once you get to the point of clients, you’ll probably do more of what you love. You can do the cherry-picking then.

You can find out more about Oscar and his work here!

Corporate Culture Strategy – systemic culture scans and maps

Blockbusters – systemic change making blueprint programs

Declaration of Human Business – on the future role of business

Systemic Leadership Training – systemic constellations training – systemic coaching and constellations

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