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Oscar Venhuis, CEO of EQ Lab

Oscar Venhuis is the CEO of EQ Lab, an organisation that helps people develop core skills for thinking better, faster and stronger. Oscar talks to The Industry Leaders about why dealing with rejection is an important daily challenge and gives his favourite book, podcast, and video tips for other leaders to learn from.

How did you end up sitting where you are today?

"From consumerism of goods to consumerism of knowledge."

I went from a product-centric industry (supply chain/manufacturing) to my recent role in the cultivation of collaborative practices between people, ideas and knowledge (human-centric).

What kind of work does your role involve?

I'm a contextual thinker doing deep-dives. On a daily basis, I combine my creativity and entrepreneurship in a discipline called Business Design (BD). This operates at the intersection of three critical domains:

  1. Organisational design,

  2. Business strategies, and

  3. Innovation methods.

It's a human-centred and emergent approach to maximise value for profit, product, people (the "three P's").

My latest challenge is to address a $9 trillion annual workplace crisis. As the EQ Lab CEO, I work with neuroscientists and educational practitioners to develop emergent practices that will help people think better, faster, and smarter. These are lifelong cognitive capabilities needed to tackle organisational drag at our workplace.

What gets you excited about your industry?

One area that keeps me going is to use my capacities to solve the world's most challenging problems through design.

This requires me to explore new domains and look for insights in unexpected areas. It's an ongoing and continuous journey of learning that keeps me on my toes.

What's the best advice anyone ever gave you?

I'm not sure where I got this advice from, but it is along the lines of "embrace your enemy". This piece of advice has broadened my horizon, extended my understanding of the world, and has allowed me to be more compassionate. It's easy to meet those who agree with me and yet it is critical to proactively embrace adversaries and those who have contrarian opinions and viewpoints.

What, or who inspires you?

Nature and nurture. The environment I live in and the friends, friends, colleagues, family, and adversaries around me.

How do you keep up to speed with what's happening in your industry?

Today's world challenges are too complex to tackle alone. That's why I keep up to speed by tapping into my network of extended intelligence like peers, friends, colleagues, and strangers.

What was the most challenging project or situation you've overcome?

As an entrepreneur and emergent thinker, I face a daily barrage of rejections. Thriving in an environment of hostility and indifference is a fascinating mental challenge to overcome.

You finish work today and step outside the office to find a lottery ticket that ends up winning $10 million. What would you do?

Start a crowdfunding project to raise $10m to purchase and protect a piece of rainforest. For every $1 that is donated I would double this with the $10m prize money, totalling a $20m piece of rainforest.

How do you switch off after a day at work?

Serendipity is a crucial part of what I do. To 'switch off' I'll toggle between numerous projects to cultivate and foster cross-pollination of ideas, ranging from creating art to watching movies, writing, and socialising. If I really want to switch off, I simply go to bed and sleep.

If you had one wish for the future of your industry, what would it be?

Do what's right, not what's easy.

What book or podcast should everyone know about?

Read: "Collaborating with the Enemy: How to Work With People You Don't Agree With or Like or Trust" book by Adam Kahane. It's a must-read to understand the difference between consensus and agreement during times of conflict.

Watch: "The Weekend University" videos. My go-to place for high-quality knowledge

Listen: "" podcast. Amazing source for new and emergent ideas

Talk: "Drinking Dialogues" My weekly fix for meaningful dialogues with people from all around the world

How should people connect with you?

The easiest way to connect with me is on my email or

*Looking to level-up your leadership skills? Check out our article on the best self-help books for business leaders and entrepreneurs. participates in Amazon's Affiliate Links programme. So, if you click through the highlighted links and buy a book, we may earn Amazon commission (we hope that's a win-win!).


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