In a time when multiple technologies are on the brink of hitting the vertical part of the exponential curve, countless new groundbreaking ideas are ripening to be explored. Many of these potentially world-changing ideas might however not come to light for a long time, many times because the brilliant people who are working on the cutting edge are focused on previous projects and don’t get the opportunity to lift their heads from their work. Ideas which are cross disciplinary in nature might take even longer time to surface as they require people from different fields gaining meaningful insight into the latest developments in a field which they are not closely familiar with.
Petri Dish is a continuous experiment which aims to develop a scalable format of an optimal set of conditions for letting brilliant people share and develop ideas, in order to artificially accelerate the rate of innovation. Our working assumptions are that innovation is born out of great ideas and that outstanding people who are leaders in their field are optimal idea creators. Petri Dish attempts to find effective ways to creating meaningful productive relationships between these people, focusing on the exchange of knowledge and sparking creative and innovative thinking.
We do this by examining the possibilities to synthetically create optimal conditions for innovation through continuous research and iterative experimenting. The experiments take form as a weeklong retreat for leading people from various fields who gather to meet, share knowledge and develop groundbreaking ideas.
During the week different processes and concepts are explored, ranging from the criteria for how people are recruited to the way they are put together and the methods utilized. Results are measured through observation and interviews with participants during the experiment and 6-12 months after it is over. Measuring points are impact on the participants output and self perceived professional growth.
“I had been playing around with the concept of programming environments for synthetic biology for a few years, but at Petri Dish I started thinking about it a lot more seriously than I had before.
By making a valuable connection and discussing my work at Petri Dish I got the chance to confirm a lot of my guesses about the state of things today. I also corrected some misunderstandings and learned about the state of the art – what things today are approaching this concept of programming synthetic biology. I came out understanding the field a lot better than I came in to Petri Dish, and made a lot of progress on the project during the program.
Overall, I had a meaningful experience meeting new people and working on interesting ideas, I’m a fan of the project and looking forward to the next one.”
“The best part of Petri Dish was meeting new, amazing, interesting people who I would otherwise not have met. Apart from the social aspect which was great, it was a chance to connect and learn from people who are not in your normal crowd and get their insight on a range of topics. I also loved the secluded mansion setting, the food and the location. I learnt about the ideation process which was very interesting and that even if a topic is extremely interesting, it does not necessarily translate into a great idea.”
“Petri Dish was fantastic and very intellectually stimulating. Through this experience I learned that when founding a startup idea personal passion is paramount to its survival. I learned that exploring such passions is possible in an environment where there is trust and that trust can be built in such short time, using the right means. The group was very nice and this was important for dynamics. I am still in touch with my teammates, while other connections have withered. The best part about Petri Dish was making friends/partners for future ventures.”
“As the name implies, Petri Dish was an experiment with biological components. Us participants were the bacteria that was being grown. Our ideas were the cells that split exponentially. As with any biological experiment, the outcome is never known in advance. The complexity of the underlying systems is simply too high. Similarly, none of us knew what would come out of Petri Dish. From today’s point of view I can say it was deeply enjoyable while it lasted and it’s not over just yet. I really loved every second of it. It was engaging and exciting. What I loved most about it was the communal feeling of building something together and the quality of the participants. They were both humble and extremely knowledgable.I wouldn’t want to miss the walks in the surrounding greens, philosophizing on AI and chicken eggs. One month after, we’re planning our next physical meet up as a group. We’re only just getting started :)”