Case Study


A Program for The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency

Can we reimagine the research paradigm for a rapidly changing world?

The Challenge
The path to research inquiry is slow and outdated.
Is there a way to optimize and accelerate the R&D process by leveraging platform technologies, network effects and gamification?
Edge science and interdisciplinary breakthroughs are driving scientific innovation.
Can we identify non-traditional performers and allow them to quickly understand and leverage breakthroughs in other disciplines to produce better research proposals?
H&S Role

Product development, market research, design vision, messaging, content development, business development

  • Core members of DARPA program consortium, driving vision and product prototype
  • Lead pilot sponsorship events
  • Lead strategic partnerships
  • Lead investor material development
  • Core member of investor pitch team

Cultural Context

A global pandemic and contagion of disinformation in our global information system makes it increasingly evident the world is at a crossroads, at the mercy of technological systems and how they have been designed and defined. At the same time, science is making advances that address the world’s most “wicked problems.” Current science systems — which in some cases were established hundreds of years ago — can be optimized for faster breakthroughs using new platforms and open collaboration.

There are multiple research obstacles in this accelerated environment. Scientific literature has exploded making it increasingly impossible to stay up to date. Journal business models have been up-ended and access to research is often restricted. Pre-prints change the landscape further. Academic departments, siloed before COVID-19, are more isolated now. reimagines this system.

Reinforcing social channels including Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter

Product Prototype: Polyplexus

Polyplexus disrupts the research paradigm by connecting scientists outside traditional silos and accelerating cross-sector, multidisciplinary knowledge production. The platform hosts a diverse, global online community connecting through evidence-based conversation. A social feed features peer-reviewed cross-disciplinary evidence that can be combined to create conjectures that lead to new breakthrough ideas. Sponsors host Incubators around specific areas of inquiry and invite the community to participate asynchronously and in live events to explore critical questions and solicit abstracts.

2020 review
Evidence Madness event

“It’s one of the first efforts that applies the engagement and game mechanics of social media to research communities. Might this be the prototype for the future of social media and world games?”
---- Peter Hirshberg, Apple, Technorati, Aspen Institute

Polyplexus was recognized by Fast Company as an honorable mention in World Changing Ideas 2021.

Client Partnership

  • Decade-long working relationship with multiple DARPA program managers
  • Multi-year grant to envision, build, and test product and community
  • Core member of commercialization team