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Unreasonable At Sea

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

Unreasonable at Sea is a radical experiment in global entrepreneurship, design-thinking, and education, designed to scale-up effective technological solutions to the greatest challenges of our time. We do this by hedging our bets on the most thrifty, resourceful, creative, and disruptive class amongst us: entrepreneurs. We are a mentor-driven accelerator for tech-entrepreneurs who desire to take their ventures into new international markets, and we choose to work exclusively with companies working on “intractable” social and environmental challenges. We could think of no better way to accelerate our portfolio companies’ ability to scale across borders than to put them all on one ship, align them with some of the world’s greatest mentors, and set sail more than 25,000 nautical miles while visiting 13 countries over the course of 100 days.

In a world where communication technologies are nearly ubiquitous, where innovations in healthcare have doubled life-expectancy in just a century, and where dictatorships are being toppled by bottom-up revolutions propelled by social networks, it is hard not to be an optimist. That said, at Unreasonable, although we are optimistic about these trends, we consider ourselves “impatient optimists”. We are guided by a belief that although technology is rapidly solving some of the greatest challenges of our time, it’s not doing so fast enough and its benefits have yet to reach the most marginalized amongst us. Even with amazing advances in inclusive technologies, 2 billion people still live on less than $2 a day, another billion don’t have access to clean drinking water, and climate change is accelerating at exponential speeds. It’s our optimistic belief that entrepreneurs leveraging technology will help solve these grand challenges and it is our impatience that leads to a belief we cannot help them do so fast enough.

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man [and woman].” ~ George Bernard Shaw
If George Bernard Shaw is right, if all progress depend on the unreasonable person, than we cannot afford to not bet on unreasonable people. We exist today to support and accelerate the growth of the world’s most unreasonable tech-entrepreneurs (i.e. those hellbent on solving the hardest problem-sets of the 21st century and who will settle for nothing less than global scale). This was the same guiding intention that led our founder to create the Unreasonable Institute and Unreasonable at Sea is our way of experimenting with a new approach. Instead of uniting startups in the entrepreneurial-hub of Boulder (as Unreasonable Institute does) we have partnered with Semester at Sea and Stanford’s d.school to launch this accelerator on a ship as it sets sail nearly circumnavigating the globe. We hypothesize that the outcomes of such an unlikely mix of elements: uniting some of the world’s greatest thinkers and doers, in an international context, over an extended period of time, exposing them to 13 international markets, and restricting them to the close quarters of a ship, will yield uncommon and incredibly powerful results… the type that can have a positive dent on history.

~ via Unreasonable at Sea
Daniel Epstein, the founder of the Unreasonable Institute and George Kembel, the co-founder & Executive Director of Stanford’s d.school have teamed up with Semester at Sea, the only global shipboard education program of its type in the world, to launch this program: An experiment in transnational entrepreneurship that will set sail in January 2013.
Learn more: Unreasonable at Sea | Unreasonable@Sea Video Series