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


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

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers


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

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge


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

Making Health & Old Age Fun: Dr. Oz, Joe Coughlin & MIT AgeLab’s AGNES

February 25, 2011, 10:32 PM
AGNES (Age Gain Now Empathy System) was developed atthe MIT AgeLabto provide a tool for students, researchers, government agencies and companiesto better understand, empathize and develop innovations to meet the uniqueneeds of older adults (see Fast Company Magazine’s interview with myAgeLab colleagues Roz Puleo and Lisa D’Ambrosio on AGNES). While there isconsiderable diversity in capability among older adults, AGNES provides an ‘ahamoment’ for someone who understands design and technology. In their headsengineers and designers know what’s possible, with AGNES on their bodies theycan quickly connect limits to solutions – how a product can be rethought, aservice reengineered or an environment redesigned. Surveys, in-depthinterviews, ethnographic studies, focus groups usability experiments are allvaluable tools to inform innovators about the attitudes and behaviors of olderconsumers. But, in many cases consumers cope rather than complain. AGNES isanother tool – not a replacement for other methods. This week AGNES went beyondbeing a tool for designers, engineers and marketers.

I had the pleasure to appear on the Dr. Oz Show.Dr. Oz has been a quick media success in the short time he has been on the air.A Harvard-trained physician he has been able to achieve something that mosthealth professionals have not had much luck doing – engaging the consumer onhealth.

How? Facts? Fear? Perhaps some of those.But, the secret sauce appears to be adding something else – fun. When was the lasttime you heard ‘fun’ and health in the same sentence? Clinicians, public andprivate insurers and most employers have tried to engage the public on wellnessbehaviors, chronic disease management, good nutrition, and exercise and havehad mixed results.

Joe Coughlin, Dr. Oz & MIT AgeLab student Katii Gullick
 as AGNES on the Dr. Oz Show set in New York City
Dr. Oz mixed his unique communicationsskills, medical insights along with a little fun turning AGNES into a teaching tool. Not for students,researchers, designers and engineers but for the rest of us. On the show AGNESbecame a symbol of one possible future that everyone should consider and takeaction to manage. Another future, one that has a longer period of well-beingand independence, may be had by following a different course of behaviors – eating a balanceddiet, exercising regularly, taking supplements, etc. Clearly well-being dependson more than these actions alone (many factors are beyond the control of theindividual) but they are a good start.

Enjoy this Dr. Oz segment (click here to view television segment on Dr. Oz site) where I, Dr. Oz, a spirited memberof the audience and my student Katii Gulick (behind the scenes and featured as AGNES in the New York Times)…and AGNES…have some fun and show some of thethings you can do to live longer and better.


Making Health & Old Age Fun...

Newsletter: Share: