Ruthenium-catalysed multicomponent synthesis of the 1,3-dienyl-6-oxy polyketide motif. Polyketide  natural products are an important class of biologically active compounds. Although substantial progress has been made on the synthesis of repetitive polyketide motifs through the iterative application of a single reaction type, synthetic access to more diverse motifs that require more than one type of carbon–carbon bond connection remains a challenge. Here we describe a catalytic, multicomponent method for the synthesis of the privileged polyketide 1,3-dienyl-6-oxy motif. The method allows for the formation of two new carbon–carbon bonds and two stereodefined olefins.