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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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Diversity Leads to Better Decisions

March 25, 2014, 5:29 PM

There are obvious reasons why diversity is important to an organization. Economist Tim Harford, who has been called "Britain's Malcolm Gladwell," discusses the surprising benefits of diversity in the latest installment of Big Think's Edge.

Effective Decision Making:

"We often hear people singing the praises of diversity, and there are lots of good reasons why we should have diversity: to correct historic injustices and to be fair to all sorts of different kinds of people. Less often we hear the benefit of diversity because it just helps groups of people make better decisions," says Harford, a regular contributor to The Financial Times and the author of multiple books, including his latest, The Undercover Economist.

The Psychology of Non-Conformity:  

Harford cites a study by psychologist Solomon Asch from the 1950s that explored social pressure. The study clearly exposed the power of conformity. Test subjects chose the obviously wrong answer after the group--played by hired actors--had made the same wrong choice.

Resist Conformity:

As the Solomon Asch study also showed, Harford points out, just one lone voice is enough to inspire others to speak-up and break the chains of conformity. The pressure of conformity can indeed prevent productive discourse. Therefore, effective decision making relies on a diversity of voices. Does your organization generate diverse discussions?

Listen to Harford explain the power of diversity in the latest installment of Edge. 



Diversity Leads to Better D...

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