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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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No Right Brain Left Behind: A Speed Innovation Challenge for Creative Education

January 31, 2011, 2:12 PM

A great deal has been said and published lately on changing educational paradigms. In fact, this conversation isn't a recent development – even in the 1980s, iconic science fiction author Isaac Asimov was pushing for reinjecting creativity into school curricula in order to fix a broken and uninspired education system. Unfortunately, not much has actually been done in that direction. Though Microsoft's REDU initiative spurred a fair amount of buzz last year, it too remained a disjointed effort largely devoid of actionable change.

No Right Brain Left Behind is a new project that aims to change that through an open speed innovation challenge enlisting the creative industry in envisioning new ways of placing emphasis on the so-called "soft skills" – creativity, inventiveness, empathy – in school curricula. Underwritten by an admirable roster of creative industry and education superstars, including Behance founder Scott Belsky, PSFK's Piers Fawkes and Sir Ken Robinson, the initiative plans to actually pilot the best of these ideas in schools by the end of 2011.

It is not about creating more artists. It's about giving the students tools to solve 21st century problems. We must understand that creativity is a key constituent that can no longer be neglected in the school systems."

The competition launches with the release of the challenge brief on February 7, the first day of Social Media Week, and submissions remain open through February 11, after which the panel of judges will select the most compelling ideas to pilot in schools. Until then, you can follow the project's progress on Twitter and Facebook.

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


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