Seed is where it starts
Seed is a collaborative process of discovery and experimentation designed here at Polymath. We recruit talented teams — usually two for some friendly competition — of designers, business stars, ethnographers and engineers. We give them a sector and a set of tools and let them dive in and create exciting business concepts. Over the course of a 4-month fellowship, these teams go from identifying an unmet need to designing a business ready for investor scrutiny.
1. Sector selection
We identify a number of exciting market spaces with strong business potential — a compelling human need, high industry fragmentation, very large market — then we let each team choose the sector they will work on over the following four months. Teams take ownership of the project content right from the start.
Simple surveys or desk research aren’t sufficient for truly understanding the human experience. Instead, teams immediately go into the field and conduct dozens of in-depth, ethnographic interviews and observations with the actual people whose lives the sector touches.
Back in the studio, notes from each interview and observation become data points that cover the walls in notes, photos and drawings. The team sifts through and contextualizes this rich information to surface key insights and areas of opportunity that will inform their design ideas.
Based on their insights, inspired teams brainstorm hundreds of potential business ideas. Ideas are played with, combined and dissected as they begin to form into solid concepts. Different lenses are applied — desirability, feasibility — to evaluate and refine as the most robust concepts rise to the top.
5. Expert review
We assemble a steering committee of senior experts to advise each team. Teams present their findings to the committee of accomplished entrepreneurs, executives, and industry leaders at regular intervals during the project for feedback and guidance.
Teams build prototypes of their best concepts for field testing with users, and form business models to understand key economics. Testing validates ideas and informs the models, and the best performing concepts are refined and developed into final MVPs, tested and presented to the steering committee.
Feel free to check out our past Seed projects:
- Mature Adulthood
- Leisure and Recreation
- Labor and Employment
- Working Women
- Financial Services
If you think this type of learning environment is what you are looking for… feel free to apply here! We are waiting for you.