Seven years of innovations for the unknown

Seven years ago, 21 August 2014, Future Life Research BV (FLR) was registered with the notary. That’s seven years of social innovations for the unknown. Resulting in, and more. But there was a lot to it! Dr. Nicolet looks back in this blog.

The reason for FLR

Dr. Nicolet tells: Why did I found Future Life Research (FLR) in 2014? Our changing society demands that people are able to adapt easily and continue to learn and develop.
Standard training and education do not prepare you sufficiently for this, because it takes more than adapting to all the technological and social changes. Society needs people who can help shape this changing world. People who can contribute to a balanced, positive future. This requires social innovations for the unknown future and that is what we are doing with FLR.

Together with my team, I have since developed a number of innovations for the unknown by finding solutions to as yet unknown problems through self-direction and behavioural change. Using scientific research, psychology and education science, we developed several web apps for Interactive Micro Learning (IML), such as and But that didn’t happen by itself, it was quite a process to get here.

Falling and getting up and falling and getting up and…


The very beginning

The past seven years have been years of trial and error. I started 21 August 2014 with nothing but my savings, my experience and my optimism. In the beginning, I took on research and consultancy assignments, because the chimney had to smoke too. In addition, I was incubating a platform for self-development. After reading the book Intellectual Virtues van Roberts & Wood, I decided that Deugden (Virtues) should become the core theme. In 2015 I started (together with Michael, Robbie, Sandra and Pauline) the project ‘’ (

In between, I did a year and a half of research, starting with a scholarly literature study on virtues and ending with the development of the self-assessment questionnaire Virtue Mirror and the MooiMens Model containing the Virtue Roles (which is now known as Human Roles bekend staat). In mid-2016, I decided to stop doing new research and consulting assignments and focus 100% on the development of FLR. On 1 August 2016, the first version of My went on air containing mainly the Virtues Mirror (now questionnaire Positief gedrag). Positive Behaviour). Several versions later and with the expansion of the team (Emma, Esther, Kelvin, Leroy and Mees) and with the help of many testing pioneers, the big launch followed in May 2017.

And then it went quiet…

No matter how hard we tried with SEO web optimisation, social media ads, blogs, acquisition at large organisations, word-of-mouth advertising, promotions and so on, would not fly. So what next?

At the end of 2017, International University of Applied Sciences Wittenborg i in Apeldoorn was looking for a new Head of Research. In that role, I started working as a quartermaster for Wittenborg’s research and doctoral program in March 2018. That could have been the end of Future Life Research, but I refused to give up and clung to Edison’s quote (book Innovate like Edison), freely translated: “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The surest way to succeed is to try again.” So I did. In order to motivate myself and the again shrunken team, I formulated a fierce and ambitious mission: Global development of positive behavior achieved by 2030. That felt a lot better than looking at the too low number of likes, hits and sales. Our mission was also well received in the media, and even resulted in a enormous article in the Stentor.

Another of Edison’s fine sayings also helped: “I have not failed. I only found 10,000 ways that didn’t work.” Whether there were 10,000 of them I don’t know, but after thorough analysis it became clear which challenges had to be overcome. The most striking was that in the Netherlands the concept of ‘virtues’ really did not catch on. I had expected a trend that just didn’t materialize. In mid-2018, I cut the knot and the whole site went on the reboot. The (MyVirtues) got a new name ( What exactly changed I described earlier in the blog Goodby, hello! The rebuilding was extensive and took six months.

“The surest way to succeed is to try again.” (Edison)

And onward again!

June 2019 ( went online and was well received. I was given hope again. September 2019 saw the release of Rutger Bregman’s high-profile book De meeste mensen deugen. Virtues, two years later than I thought, became a trend after all, but by then I was very pleased with the new approach and new name.
Around that time I was approached by the director of Velco Fire Safety who wondered whether the platform could also be used for other content. He was looking for something to give the FAFS officers who train at Velco once a year something to hold on to throughout the year. Not boring e-learning but something with a lot of practice in it, exactly how is built. I named the underlying platform IML, which stands for Interactive Micro Learning, with brand registration and all, and we got to work. Velco provided the knowledge of BHV training and FLR the IML approach full of psychology and education science. Gradually, the assignment grew, the team expanded again (with Jolanda and Dorien) and I found myself at the limits of my schedule. February 2020, I decided to take my leave as Head of Research bij Wittenborg and started to work 100% for FLR again.

Corona, corona…

Just when sales for was starting up again (with the addition of Job to the team), Corona entered our country. The world had other priorities for a while.
It did not really calm down:

  • The media increasingly appealed to my knowledge as a psychologist and I started giving tips under the motto: you can’t change the coronavirus, but you can change the way you deal with it. Pro bono of course, my way of doing something for society in these difficult times. The tips have been recorded in a series of corona-blogs.
  • When the acquisition had to be put on hold, I started psychological research (with Paulina) into the relationship between the Sustainable Development Goals and Positive Behavior. I had loosely defined this relationship in our mission and we used research to see whether this was correct. The research was a success both scientifically and practically: the insights from the research were immediately implemented in the and disseminated via conferences and symposia.
  • The Velco training centre was forced to close due to corona and then had to continue with reduced capacity due to the 1.5 meter measures. Velco and FLR have worked very hard together to create a platform that really helps FAFS officers to be ready for 365 hours: Velco Online Academy
  • In October 2020 we started (with Sverre) the development of, the translation of for an international target group to bring the mission “Global doubling of positive behaviour achieved by 2030” closer.
  • At the end of 2020 TNO was looking for a technical successor for the i-SELF (internettool for Self Evaluation and Learner Feedback), the platform that I myself stood at the cradle of during my time at TNO. With a few technical adjustments, IML turned out to be very suitable for incorporating the questionnaires from the i-SELF. Schools use the tool to measure 21st century skills such as self-directed learning and creative ability. Especially for them, FLR has launched the new website ( gelanceerd in early 2021 (and Sushilla joined the team).

Lifelong developing?

What started with a disbanded platform,, has developed into a completely innovative online learning concept: Interactive Micro learning. In the meantime, we have built a number of websites with it:

All IML web apps focus on skills practice, competency-based learning, knowledge development through experiential learning and personal development. With each of the FLR web apps, you learn to change your own behavior and thus carry out your promises. Suitable for lifelong learning and development.
And that is what we do, we learn and develop. We learn from every website, from ever-changing goals and target groups, each with their own challenges. Hugely inspiring. Of course, we immediately apply each new insight to all platforms.

Seven good years

So it comes down to seven years of development and investment. As far as innovation goes, these were seven good years. High time for seven years of economic success. We are completely ready for it! The vacancy that we have just posted for an employee ‘Telephone lead generation and acquisition’ fits in with that. I am very much looking forward to working together with the rest of the FLR-team in the coming years to achieve the ‘Global doubling of positive behaviour achieved by 2030’. Will you join us?

Nicolet Theunissen