Just when we thought that creativity and a touch of lunacy (the good kind) had been explored in the entrepreneurship world to the fullest, they pull out something like this: I am talking about Unreasonable at Sea from the founder of the Unreasonable Institute and the folks who bring you Semester at Sea.
Unreasonable at Sea is a gratifyingly unreasonable concept. Dan Epstein, founder of Unreasonable Institute, is challenging the world's limits by taking a contingent of 10 lucky technology entrepreneurs on a fully-funded (yup, that's a $40K+ value) trip around the world by boat for 100 days to eat, drink, dance and float enterprise.
Other than sounding insanely cool, what is the big idea? Well, Dan and his crew (pun intended) wants to uncover the ideas that will shape the future, and as a Semester at Sea alum who had the pleasure of being inspired by Archbishop Tutu aboard, he is ready to bring the meaning of incubating technology solutions to a whole new level.
Just how will they do that on a boat that will travel some 25,000 nautical miles from January 9th to April 25th? Well, first, they are teaming up with George Kembel, co-founder of Stanford's d.school (http://dschool.stanford.edu/) who will provide a good dose of intellectual rigor and support through the design-thinking process. They will also have on board 25 mentors, much like their sister organization the Unreasonable Institute. These mentors are highly accomplished pros at making big things possible.
What's motivating them? It comes down to two discreet opportunities: one social, the other economical. Foremost in their minds is uncovering technology solutions that will "address massive social and environmental challenges, such as inadequate access to healthcare, poverty, failing education systems, climate change, or the need to democratize information," says Epstein. But there's more. By joining the sojourn, the entrepreneurs agree to give a piece of their company to Unreasonable. That means giving up 4-8 percent in equity (though exact terms are based on the enterprise).
There is so much to wrap your head around here. The value of bringing 10 tech start-ups together on a boat with 25 mentors hashing through ideas (often with limited internet connectivity while on board -- perhaps a good -- great! -- thing) and then a slew of meetings when they dock from port to port. The group promises to provide access to VCs, government leaders, and local businesses in a harrowing schedule that is described under the sites "Brutal Expectations" page.
We live in a world where the scope of the challenges and the myriad opportunities to solve them are so extreme that a group at sea may be a great next step for mankind. Find out for yourself. Maybe you have the goods to get onboard?
Follow Saul Garlick on Twitter: www.twitter.com/saulgarlick