Singularity University

Singularity University (abbreviated SU) is a Silicon Valley think tank that offers educational programs and a business incubator.[2][3] According to its website, it focuses on scientific progress and "exponential" technologies.[4] It was founded in 2008 by Peter Diamandis and Ray Kurzweil at the NASA Research Park in California, United States.

The Exponential Primer | Singularity University Core Concepts

By way of introduction, here is our lexicon, our essential concepts that form the basis of our work, our values, and our strategy.

Massive Transformative Purpose

Peter Diamandis likes to say, “Find something you would die for, and live for it.”

In the simplest sense, an MTP is a “highly aspirational tagline” for an individual or group, like a company, organization, community, or social movement. It’s a huge and audacious purpose statement.

An MTP is not: Just a big goal or even a “big hairy audacious goal (BHAG).” (It must also be driven by a purpose to create transformative impact.)

How to begin creating an MTP

  • Identify the who
  • Identify the what: What problem do you want to take on and solve? Here’s an exercise created by Diamandis to identify the “what” of your purpose:

Step one: Write down the top three items you are most excited about or get you most riled up (that you want to solve).

Step two: For each of the three problems listed above, ask the following six questions and score each from 1-10. (1 = small difference; 10 = big difference)...

Exponential Technologies

Exponential technologies include artificial intelligence (AI), augmented and virtual reality (AR, VR), data science, digital biology and biotech, medicine, nanotech and digital fabrication, networks and computing systems, robotics, and robocars. We believe that the solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges lie in the intersection of these exponential technologies. That is, when two or more of these technologies are used in combination to attack a persistent challenge, the possibility of developing a sustainable solution becomes much more likely. (Compounding)

Exponential Growth

The Law of Accelerating Returns and Moore’s Law are both central concepts to understanding exponential growth:

Exponential Mindset

exponential mindset refers to our point of view at SU that there’s no problem that we cannot solve when we apply exponential technologies and innovative ways of thinking. We also sometimes refer to this as an “abundance mindset.”

Global Grand Challenges

These grand challenges are: disaster resilience, energy, environment, food, governance, health, learning, prosperity, security, shelter, space, and water

In addressing each GGC, we solve for the following three perspectives:

  • Ensuring basic needs are met for all people
  • Sustaining and improving quality of life
  • Mitigating future risks

Theory of Change

We use a methodology called the Theory of Change (ToC) to map out our strategy for creating impact. ChangeTheWorld

The ToC breaks down business goals and activities into four segments: inputs, outputs, outcomes, and impact.

SU tracks six types of impact initiatives:


Those that aim to make something 10 times better end up challenging the status quo, and typically end up taking a completely new path.

Here are three counter-intuitive approaches that companies, small and large, need to take to disrupt themselves and surf above the tsunami of change, rather than get crushed by it.

  • 1. Your biggest problems are your biggest opportunities
  • 2. You need to be creating “unholy alliances”... Uber and Everybody! – Uber is capitalizing massively on unholy alliances, partnering with everyone from Capital One to provide subscription discounts to local restaurants with Uber Eats, to insurance companies, universities, and even animal shelters, offering promotional services like #UberKittens – on demand kitten visits.
  • 3. 10x your thinking – you need to be taking moonshots

The 6 D's

Peter Diamandis’ 6 D’s.

  • Digitized
  • Deceptive: Exponential growth is hard to spot
  • Disruptive
  • Dematerialized
  • Demonetized
  • Democratized

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