The Hephaestus Project
Hephaestus is the Greek God of design and creativity. More commonly known as the partner of Aphrodite, he was also the god of the Forge and was well known for creating some of the finest jewellery in Greek mythology. Hephaestus was banished from Mount Olympus, simply because he walked with a limp, and when he joined the mortals on Earth he taught them how to make art and the importance of doing so. Analogous to that, the Hephaestus project aims to cultivate unique people with different perspectives, spark creativity and dares the participants to propose the ideas people might dismiss out of hand.
Edit: We take admissions on a rolling basis, so once we get the required number of innovators, admissions will close
What is Hephaestus?
Hephaestus is a week long innovation boot camp for the people who dare to dream 🧠. It aims to bring together a group of 10 people, for a program where they are able to debate, discuss, brainstorm solutions to anything they might be interested in. It provides the environment for constructive discussions, iterative problem solving methods, and social exchange to increase the creative productivity of all the innovators involved.
(And yes, we will be living together in a hacker house concept, kindly sponsored by Mistletoe)
It achieves this through a 2 pronged approach of both a structured facilitation program, and an unstructured creative environment.
Structured Facilitation Program
The structured facilitation program serves to break the ice and get the creative energy going. It also loosens the constraints one might have induced onto their thinking process, maybe due to preconceptions or inclinations. It helps you approach any problem with an open mind. The structured facilitation program also tries to create checkpoints for the innovators, to keep them on track and goal-oriented. The proposed events are as follows.
- The 10 people might not know what motivates each other to do what they do, and this exposes the raw motivations the innovators might have.
- Connection to other innovators helps to create cross disciplinary thought, beyond just one's own expertise
Daily round robin pitch sessions
- Keeps the innovators focused and goal-oriented
- How one innovator solves a problem, might inadvertently help another innovator solve their own problem
- Keeps discussion lines open, for other people's feedback and opinions
- Helps team building, not everyone might want to work alone
- Having a goal to shoot for, at least helps you aim. The Demo Day is the goal.
- On the final day, innovators pitch their ideas to not just the other innovators but to a panel committee, who is able to evaluate and give further feedback
- It is important to emphasize that no idea is a bad idea, some ideas are just stepping stones to better ones 😉
- Talking to and meeting industry folk, helps root ideas in sound science
- Valuable feedback loops are created
- More details on the mentors attending will be provided closer to the dates
- Sometimes, innovators come up with ideas that aren't quite their thing, but might be useful to others. Sometimes, it's hard to come up with something.
- The brain board is a giant communal collaborative space, innovators can write all manners of ideas, what they are working on, what they think might be interesting to work on, etc.
- Cross disciplinary links, even cross-pollination among ideas can't happen unless all the ideas are on the same canvas
Unstructured Creative Environment
Structure curbs innovation, it trains you to rely on things that have already been done, or figured out. To truly have novel thoughts, you don't need structure, you need inspiration. Inspiration comes from doing new things and gaining experience or perspective. Often, inspiration comes from having fun. As such, bulk of the program tries to create this environment of exploration.
Socials Nights 🥳
- Basically a party night, music, alcohol, banter, free-flow thoughts
- Inhibition free debates on a variety of issues, topics can be novel or from a pre-created list
- More often than not, the best ideas come from 3am thoughts
Movie Marathons 🎬
- Sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic
- What seems like fiction, might very well be reality soon, if one can just figure out which are which
Game Nights 🎮
- Competition, drives the spirit to work harder, and teamwork competition fosters bonds between the innovators, which could then lead to ideas
Exploratory food 🍔
- During the program, the innovators will typically eat together so that they can discuss problems, and more important use mealtimes as a way to influence their perspectives.
- Novel kinds of food, maybe even some basic cooking can be a way to de-stress and pick up something new
Who can join?
This program isn't a software program or even a technology program. It takes a wide set of skills to solve the problems we have in the world have today and we correspondingly need a diverse set of people. Therefore, anyone can join as long as they prove that they have an innovative mind-set and an accompanying skill-set.
If you think you have the creative potential, and the grit to solve problems you see in the world, you'll fit right in with the rest of us.
When is it happening?
The program is slated to happen in end 2020, likely within the last 2 weeks of December. Timing will be confirmed after the participation list is confirmed.