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

Blended Futures of Aging & Business Innovation

February 1, 2010, 8:35 AM
Communications and convenience giant (Nasdaq: RIMM) RIM, the maker of the ubiquitous Blackberry, sees a number of defining trends ahead. These reflect the themes of my own research and are cornerstones of the MIT AgeLab


Motley Fool's Dan Dzombak January 26 article, "4 Key Trends RIM's Futurist Foresees," reports on a talk given by RIM's Manager of Innovation & Technology Futurist, Joseph Dvorak, PhD. Dr Dvorak identifies four trends affecting the future of the smart phone:


(1) Aging world: the median age on the planet in 2000 was 26, by  mid-century it will be 36 and the number of people over 60 will triple -- to nearly two billion people; 


(2) Connectivity: smart phones, other devices and wireless providers will blur activity, place, and push trends we already see in social media and interaction;


(3) Empowered consumers: Consumers will continue to adopt tools that help them monitor and manage their relationship with companies, e.g., social media that advises on everything from restaurant choices, to financial services, to 'hey, where's my package?' 


(4)'Values' purchasing (e.g., green consumers). Values purchasing is not just for kids. Where there is a rise in 'color causes' (my phrase) -- buying green, supporting pink, and helping red -- aging baby boomers are increasingly interested in their social impact and legacy. That is, 'what am I contributing and what will I leave behind?'


Insight & Innovations


Alone these trends are interesting and business as well as government must be aware of their possible impact on the future. However, the future of aging and innovation is a blending of these trends - not the extension of any one. 


What happens when older consumers are ubiquitously connected, empowered and make purchase decisions on values beyond cost and quality? For example, what might wireless-enabled health or caregiving services in the pocket of an aging boomer look like? Will ubiquitous computing power, social media, and value purchasing create virtual collaborative networks of service providers for sandwiched boomers today and frail boomers tomorrow? Can you imagine the emergence of a 24/7 on-demand, always 'visible' on your smart phone, green, transportation service for a social network of 'friends?' 


The business opportunity is not to be simply aware of these trends, but to blend them, envision competing realities and to see these alternative futures as drivers of product and service innovation.
 

Blended Futures of Aging & ...

Newsletter: Share: