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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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Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

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Data-Driven Discovery Is the Future of Advertising

November 7, 2012, 4:13 PM
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For several weeks leading up to yesterday's election the forecasters were at odds. While traditional polls and pundits predicted an election that was "too close to call," as noted today by Daniel Honan, Nate Silver of the 538 Blog and other quants like the Princeton Election Consortium who use statistical analysis, data modeling and algorithms to predict political outcomes insisted President Obama would easily win reelection. 

It's John Henry vs. the Steam Engine for the Big Data age.  And following yesterday's election, which Silver correctly predicted in all 50 states, it seems clear that the machines (albeit machines made very smart by very smart humans) are winning.  The gut instincts and subjective analysis of traditional experts are simply no match for the clear and valuable insights to be gleaned from big data, sliced and diced by machines programmed by great mathematical minds to ingest and process huge quantities of information.

This phenomenon is happening everywhere, not just in polling and politics.  In fact, it’s making its way into the ultimate creative and instinct-driven field, Advertising. At sparks & honey, we have developed a proprietary Culture Mapping platform that allows us to absorb, aggregate and analyze a vast amount of data, leading to valuable consumer and marketing insights that drive everything from product development and strategic planning to marketing communications and branded content.  Using algorithms and statistical models developed in-house, we’re combining deep industry expertise with hard-core data science to build a better way for brands to stay in sync with culture and connect with their customers. 

And it’s here where we think the most impactful innovations will be born.  At the intersection of human intuition and big data lies a world of opportunity awaiting those willing to blaze a fresh path.  The pioneers of the next decade will fashion new ways of marrying the incontrovertible value of data with the empathy and understanding that only comes from being human.  We look forward to being a part of this new future.

sparks & honey is a next generation agency that helps brands synchronize with culture.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

 

Data-Driven Discovery Is th...

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