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

Using Peer Pressure To Improve Energy Conservation

March 1, 2013, 5:05 PM

What's the Latest Development?

Software developer Opower works with utility companies to reduce customers' energy use through reports sent to each household that not only describes how they're using their energy, but how well they compare to their neighbors and the rest of the community. It also lists a grade: Two smiley faces is the equivalent of an A and means that the household is using less energy than most of its neighbors, while no smiley faces is the equivalent of an F. According to Opower vice-president Ogi Kavazovic, the grade is what really motivates customers to make changes: "[Without it], people will just regress back to the mean...We have to tell customers we approve of them."

What's the Big Idea?

Although many people recognize the value of energy conservation, very few take real steps to modify their own usage. Opower's approach involves gentle "behavioral nudges" that over time help customers to change their habits. The approach seems to be working: As of the end of last month, customers whose utility companies use Opower software have saved over $220 million on their bills. In addition, carbon dioxide emissions and kilowatt-hours of use have gone down by just over 3 billion and 2 billion respectively.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

Read it at Slate


Using Peer Pressure To Impr...

Newsletter: Share: