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

Bruce Nussbaum: Designers as the enemy of design

March 23, 2007, 5:44 AM

Bruce_nussbaum In a recent speech that he gave at Parsons School of Design in New York, Business Week's Bruce Nussbaum explains why there has been a backlash against design. According to Nussbaum, the design movement shows signs of faltering for two primary reasons -- designers are arrogant and designers are ignorant. They are arrogant when it comes to understanding the whole "Design Democracy" movement empowered by Web 2.0 and they are ignorant when it comes to understanding issues like eco-sustainability. To challenge the preconceptions of his audience when it comes to sustainability, Nussbaum points out that the mink coat is actually better designed than the Apple iPod:

"Let’s take your favorite toy, designed by one of today’s design gods, Jonathan Ive and his team at Apple—the iPod. Apple does fantastic things with materials. Amazing things. And it has recycling programs for its products. But what it doesn’t do is prioritize cradle-to-cradle design. It doesn’t design a long-cycle product that you can open and upgrade over time. It doesn’t design a process that encourages the reuse materials again and again. It doesn’t demand sustainability. [...]

Challenge Your Assumptions. Think about the mink coat. It is beyond cool. It’s sustainable. You feed those little rat-y things with garbage that you throw out or food you grow, you create something that is comfortable, beautiful and gives you warmth for your entire life, you pass it along to another generation or recycle it or simply let it disintegrate. It’s organic, after all."

Nussbaum also explains why "innovation" has become a broad umbrella term that includes "fashion" and "design" as well:

"A final point on language: Innovation and Design. Business men and women don’t like the term “design.” I think they think it implies drapes or dresses. Even top CEOs who embrace design don’t want to call it that. They want to call it “Innovation.” That has a manly right to it. It’s strong, techie. These folks are perfectly willing to use the word “vision,” whatever the heck “vision” is. They like “Imagination,” whatever the heck that is. But they don’t like “design.” Go figure.

I solve this problem by calling it all a banana. Innovation, design, eco-imagination, just call it whatever they want to call it and do your design thing. Because your design thing is a glorious thing that has the potential of changing our lives in a myriad of ways in a myriad of places."

[image: Bruce Nussbaum]

 

Bruce Nussbaum: Designers a...

Newsletter: Share: