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

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Keys to Creativity: Daydreaming, Persistence, Ping Pong

April 1, 2012, 2:15 PM
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What's the Latest Development?

While creativity is often thought of ephemeral and serendipitous, individuals and companies can take concrete steps to establish the conditions under which creativity is more likely to thrive. For individuals, it means letting go of finding the perfect solution right now. Only when we relax, and maybe play a little ping pong, will we arrive at a truly novel solution. New ideas will also result from diversifying your social network, giving you access to how outsiders might look at your problem. Similarly, do not be afraid to become an outsider yourself, trying to solve problems you might not have the official qualifications to solve. 

What's the Big Idea?

For a company, fostering a creativity-friendly environment means coaxing serendipity out of her hiding place. By making spacial plans that force people to interact in a natural way, e.g. creating cross traffic by placing bathrooms at a central point, people will literally run into new ideas. Concentrating on failure, rather than success, will help to quickly weed out bad ideas. In general, companies should try to emulate cities, whose staying power is vastly superior to the average corporation. That means welcoming just about any idea and integrating it into a larger network of business concepts. 

Photo credit: shutterstock.com

 

More from the Big Idea for Tuesday, May 15 2012

Today's Big Idea: Humanizing Technology

While still imperfect, the current generation of brain imaging technology is enabling researchers to zero in on elusive mental activities like creativity. The practical applications are boundless.... Read More…

 

Keys to Creativity: Daydrea...

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