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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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Becoming a Social Entrepreneur

June 23, 2011, 6:28 AM

What's the Latest Development?

How is the economic slowdown affecting the development of socially responsible business? Wes Selke, investment manager at Good Capital, a social-impact venture capital firm in San Francisco, says: "I get the sense that the recession actually has resulted in more people taking interest in investing in companies that are doing the right thing right from the start." But whether or not a new business is socially responsible, it carries with it the same risks all upstarts are prone to. So if you're looking to start your own social venture, consider the wisdom of those who came before you.

What's the Big Idea?

What can you glean from the experiences of other social entrepreneurs? Don't be afraid to make money: "You can’t pay employees a livable wage if you don’t have money in the bank,"said Lisa Lorimer, former chief executive of the Vermont Bread Company, which started making organic cookies in 1978. Be wary of rapid growth: When James Gutierrez started a micro-lending bank in California, he found that rapid expansion shouldn't have been his first priority. His mistake? Expanding into places where there was no market for his product. 


Becoming a Social Entrepreneur

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