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.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos

1

Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

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

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

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.

Find out more
Close

Can Crowd-Funding become a Hotbed for Innovation in Education?

January 12, 2012, 8:50 AM
Sprout

Crowd-funding platforms like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo have become a huge phenomenon in the tech & geek space in 2011. The idea behind those platforms is pretty simple. People who want to raise money for a project, product or cause set up a campaign and the community decides if they want to back those projects or not. 

This is especially interesting when you have an idea for a product. In the olden days you needed to build a prototype and probably go to the bank or investors to raise money for the production. This was tricky as it was also hard to find out if the market would want to buy the product or not. Hence, you needed to do intensive market research to make sure your product would not catch dust on the shelves. All in all, a tedious process that prevented many smaller or “weird” ideas from making it on the market. 

Crowd-funding platforms cut all that down to a pretty frictionless process as the people with ideas directly meet with people who are interested in new and often unconventional products. If the idea does not attract funding = pre-orders from the crowd you can be pretty sure that it won’t sell anyway. If you meet your goal and even get more money than you pledged for you can be pretty sure that there is a market. 

If you want to learn more about Kickstarter or IndieGoGo: Kickstarter just released its review of 2011 with a lot of statistics on the projects, videos etc. and Slava Rubin, the co-founder of IndieGoGo, just did an interview with Andrew Warner of Mixergy in which they talked in detail about the concept behind crowd-funding. 

But back to education. I think crowd-funding can play a key role in pushing education forward as the same rules apply. Often great ideas aren’t brought to the market because they didn’t attract the interest of investors or the creators are not sure if anyone was be interested in the product and then simply step back from their ideas. 

Two projects we recently covered on EDUKWEST, The SkyLight and Biochemies, not only got the money they pledged for but surpassed their goals by 150% and over 400%. 

The SkyLight connects any smartphone to any microscope which turns even the oldest one into a multi media device. Doctors in remote locations can simply start a Skype call with an expert on the other side of the globe, turn on the camera and diagnose a blood probe. 

Biochemies are DNA plush toys that hydrogen bond via magnets. On the one hand, it is of course an awesome gift for any science geek, on the other hand it is a great educational toy to get children interested in science early on. 

I am not sure if those products would have been possible without crowd-funding sites like Kickstarter. As I said above, it would have been extremely difficult and tedious to get the initial investment from a bank or investor and even at that point the creators could not have been sure if someone had had the intention to buy it. 

Being able to use Kickstarter they not only got their products pre-ordered by a large group of interested people, they also did not need to give up stake in their project to investors or pay back interest to the bank. 

On IndieGoGo and GoFundMe people can also post pledges for personal causes like raising money to be able to go to college whereas Kickstarter does not feature charity, cause or “fund my life” projects.

Picture: kuntal

 

Can Crowd-Funding become a ...

Newsletter: Share: