Arcadia is an experiment. We aim to build a new type of science company, and in doing so, demonstrate that we can apply an evolutionary lens to accelerate purposeful discovery of nature's greatest innovations.
We believe our approach to science can be more systematic and data-driven, and strive to operate the company in the same way. We’ve structured and funded Arcadia uniquely to pursue our vision, and we hope our overall efforts lead to new, replicable models for science organizations at the interface of basic and applied science.
How we organize, what tools and processes we use, and where we allocate our resources are all key variables in our experiment. Ultimately, we want our commercial endeavors to financially sustain our long-term operations. In this narrative, we’ll share transparent updates on what we’ve tried and how it's going.
Our goal with this series of pubs is to share lessons learned, templates, and other dispatches from the front lines of our organization-wide experiment. These are by operators for operators, and ultimately our hope is to inspire and equip the next generation of scientists to start their own ventures.
We will publish four main types of pubs in this narrative:
Ideas: These are operational experiments we’re trying out that are still in flight or yet to be started. We share these openly to inspire and collect feedback in real time.
Perspectives: These are stories from our experiments. We’ll evaluate tensions we see, discuss decisions we’ve made or trade-offs we’ve balanced.
Results: These are the outcomes of our experiments, where we’ll reflect on what worked, what didn’t, and what we learned.
Resources: These are the templates, data sets, and other assets that we believe will benefit the community.
The experiment started when we incorporated, and we’ve tried many approaches since then. You can see some of our earliest iteration reflected in our blog, and we’ll update this narrative with more examples as we go.
Our first pub is about a concept we call “icebox.” We celebrate the projects we discontinue and openly share both however far we got and why we decided to put things “on ice.” This has been a great way to push ourselves to ask riskier research questions without fear that ruling something out means we’ve failed, and to encourage outside scientists to jump in and pursue any remaining leads.
For this pub, we polled our employees to understand how they think about iced work. We report on those findings and on some initial material-sharing successes, plus we throw out ideas for how others might try this approach.
Check it out:
Next up, we plan to tell you about pilots, our quick stress-tests for scientific ideas, and what we’ve learned about how to run these expediently. We’ll also share insights from a few communications experiments where we’ve asked individual scientists to learn about a topic on which someone else in the company is the expert, and in turn, explain it to the rest of us.
If you have any questions you’d like to see us answer here or ideas for pubs related to this topic, please submit them below.