What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

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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Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

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Change Connections: Social Innovation in the Communication Age

May 24, 2010, 12:54 PM

As media and communication technology continue to evolve, the question on everyone's minds is how do we harness this innovation and its capacity to improve lives, foster social good and better the world? Change Connections, a new partnership between Nokia and The Feast social innovation conference, aims to explore just that. After gathering 25 of the world's leading thinkers and doers across health, education, environment, design, technology and beyond, and asking them to identify major problems, then brainstorm opportunities for solutions using the power of communication technology, Change Connections made these insights available to the world online and invited the rest of us to join in finding solutions, recognizing the fact that it takes community to create real progress.

Ideas are clustered in five key areas, or focus points -- advocacy, health, learning, livelihood and resilience -- which guide the project's research process and are sorted by activity level, or "heat." Beautifully designed and seamlessly navigable, the site uses intuitive iconography to denote each of the five focus points and a color spectrum to reflect the "heat" of each idea, ranging from light blue for the topics with few idea submissions to fire-engine red for those with many.

The site also features a number of inspiring case studies spotlighting models for "ideas in action" -- always an important piece in bridging the aspirational, concept-based aspect of any innovation effort with the actionable, tangible real-life manifestations of the ideas discussed.

From disaster planning through games to cross-generational collaboration to a global barter system of alternative currency, the ideas touch just about every aspect of social well-being and cultural significance.

What would it mean to have an architecture path going forward that was less centralized, had fewer central points of control and could be a lot more useful for innovators, for dissidents, for the underground, for people who want to use technology in different ways?" ~ Ethan Zuckerman, Co-Founder, Global Voices Online

Follow the project on Twitter and sign up to join the conversation.

Maria Popova is the editor of Brain Pickings, a curated inventory of miscellaneous interestingness. She writes for Wired UK, GOOD Magazine and Huffington Post, and spends a shameful amount of time on Twitter.


Change Connections: Social ...

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