0.007 cosmic seconds of BeyondLab experience … Introduction

According to the cosmic calendar (Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, Carl Segan), all the important achievements and discoveries of mankind (e.g. the Great Pyramids, electricity, the development of vaccines, the man on the moon, internet, …) happened on the last 10 seconds in the history of the Universe.

Cosmic Calendar (source: wikipedia)
if the history of the Universe was represented in one year (starting with the Big Bang at January 1st), mankind’s history started to be recorded on the last minute on December 31th.

Relatively, what for us can take years of creation, for the universe are only a few milliseconds. Take, for example, the case of the great pyramid of Giza, it is estimated that the pyramid was constructed over a period of 20 years (The Pyramids and Temples of Gizeh, Flinders Petrie). This is the equivalent of 0.046 cosmic seconds in the Cosmic calendar (considering that 0.23 cosmic seconds represents 100 years of a human life). Accordingly, the French Revolution would take 0.025 cosmic seconds to assert the Rights of Man, Internet would take 0.092 cosmic seconds of research and it would take 0.28 cosmic seconds of research before the light bulb became the first application for electricity.

Among all the examples we can cite, Science could be seen as one of the biggest achievements of humans. However, it would be difficult to know when it started or who created it. Science helped us to better understand the universe and improve our lifestyle. At school, we were taught that modern Science was founded by the scientific revolution 1.09 cosmic seconds ago (after the publication of De revolutionibys orbium coelestium, by Nicolaus Copernicus). But, we believe that Science has been shaped by several scientific revolutions in history (as Thomas Kuhn believed and explained in The Structures of Scientific Revolutions) and the Enlightenment was one of them.

Today, we are experiencing one of these revolutions, but in a different magnitude. During the 19th and 20th centuries Science became an institution and knowledge was reserved to the elite population. In the Internet Age, learning and accessing knowledge have never been so easy and people is more and more curious about how to use Science or at least understand it. Therefore, ideas move faster to market and innovations happens more quickly. But, Science is still “chronophage” and needs time to create knowledge for disruptif innovations. Luckily, there are more and more organisations helping to popularize scientific knowledge and how to use it.

Understanding the data deluge based on the Knowledge doubling curve of Buckminster Fuller (source: Industry tap)

BeyondLab aims to participate in this transition, but compared to all these achievements, we started 0.007 cosmic seconds ago and we know that we have a long road to haul. For those who are not familiar with BeyondLab, we are a non-for-profit organization that creates the intersections that empower inventors to take Science a step further.

We organize events in France, Japan and Spain with entrepreneurs and scientists who wants to create the next innovations. Each of our events is based on a 3 phase format (presentation-discussion-conclusion) where we focus on one issue or topic (for instance, Smart Energy or Cognitive Science for education). During the event, we invite 3–5 scientists to present their project. First, we ask scientists to pitch their work in 3 min (context + technology (the big picture) + problem facing right now (find an application to the technology, customer validation, IP research, design, …)). Second, we split participants into teams with each scientist to discuss and propose solutions to their problems. Finally, the event concludes with a little presentation of the discussion and perspectives for each project, followed of a cocktail networking.

LabMeUp event program (source: BeyondLab)

However, like any other entrepreneur, we experienced difficult moments … “No gain without pain, right?” and non-for-profits has no exceptions to this rule, specially when you deal with scientists. As with any adventure, we had some achievements and many failures. When you try to mix the worlds of research and entrepreneurship (commonly known as deeptech ecosystem), you can expect many surprises that we want to share with you. To do so, we prepared a series of 7 articles (that will be published on the next weeks) explaining the main challenges we faced so far:

  • The first article will be focused on the main problem: understanding scientists & entrepreneurs. These two worlds can be seen very different but actually, they are very similar in the way they execute tasks to achieve their goals.
  • Then, we are going to talk about how to do a mapping of your deeptech ecosystem. This is very important to understand the strengths and research topics on your city and then, make a better focus on the development of a community to empower your ecosystem.
  • One of the biggest problems in innovation is to find the next disruptif technologies for your business. That’s why we will discuss about project sourcing from a pragmatic point of view. In this article, we are going to talk about the different challenges you can face when dealing with scientists to create innovations from their research.
  • Then, we are going to talk about community growth and development. Indeed, to reach the biggest minds in Science, we needed to gather a pool of creative entrepreneurs and scientists to create traction. But, this task was far to be easy, that’s why this chapter will be dedicated to describe the different approaches and strategies we implemented to this end.
  • As a non-profit, your community needs to feel that they are part of something big. This is only possible by creating a branding and culture based on common values that we established in a manifesto. Thus, we make clear our mission and intention to help on the dissemination of scientific knowledge.
  • All these topics cannot be done without a Business Model. That’s why we will dedicate an article about all the different approaches we tried to make our organisation sustainable.
  • Finally, we are going to talk about What’s the next step for BeyondLab? We want to share our new perspectives coming from all this experience.

In the meantime, our General Meeting is approaching and a new Board will be chosen to undertake the future of BeyondLab. Keep tunned!