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We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

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The Breakthrough Dialogues: Innovating Ideas

May 4, 2012, 12:31 PM

TED meetings, Aspen Institutes, SXSW, and Sundance are all billed as “thought-leader gatherings” where “rock stars” emerge from their “silos” to learn about “disruptive” ideas that have been carefully “curated,” as New York magazine recently described.  Yet in America's polarized culture, are these events as ideologically diverse and cross-cutting as they should be?

Convening experts from a diversity of political backgrounds at these types of forums is important on a number of grounds.  The social bonding, positive emotions, and competitive collegiality that develop within ideologically cross-cutting forums can serve as the engines for innovative policy ideas on issues ranging from health care to energy, forging networks of trust.  Universities in particular should view themselves as critically important sponsors and conveners of cross-cutting public dialogue. 

One of the more inspiring and cross-cutting thought leader forums I have had the opportunity to participate in occurred last year at the Breakthrough Dialogues, convened by the liberal think tank The Breakthrough Institute.  Below is a highlight reel on the weekend, organized around the theme of "Modernizing Liberalism."  You can also watch a range of the speakers discuss their ideas and proposals via a multi-media hub based on the event.  The next Breakthrough Dialogue is coming up at the end of June.  I am looking forward to attending and will be blogging about the ideas discussed.




The Breakthrough Dialogues:...

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