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

How Living in Cities Makes You More Creative

June 30, 2013, 3:52 PM

What's the Latest Development?

The lone-wolf vision of creative genius is giving way to a more community-friendly concept where the different talents of many, if cross pollinated, create scientific breakthroughs, especially in our era of increased specialization. One historical example of note is MIT after WWII, in which a temporary building designed to hold the overflow of disparate academic departments incubated some of the most important technological and creative developments of the modern era. Called simply Building 20, the confined space saw the creation of the first computer game as well as major advances in both microwaves and high-speed photography.

What's the Big Idea?

The larger scale version of Building 20, say social scientists, is the modern city. "In fact, research published earlier this month by scientists from M.I.T. concluded that productivity and innovation in urban areas grow at roughly the same rate as population, largely because the greater density of people living in a city increases the opportunities for personal interactions and exposure to different ideas." Researchers measured a variable they named "social-tie density", defined as the number of different people each resident will interact with on a daily basis. The better the transport infrastructure, the higher the social-tie density became.

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

Read it at Smithsonian


How Living in Cities Makes ...

Newsletter: Share: