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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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Does Creativity Come From Nature or Nurture?

November 19, 2013, 2:37 PM

People often ask me whether innovation or creativity is nature or nurture.  Are we born with it or not?  And the answer is, both.  There are five or six studies of genetically identical twins that are separated at birth.  They grew up in different family environments.  They’re tested for creativity when they become adults and about one-third of their creativity or innovation skills are indeed sourced from their genetics – their DNA.  The other two-thirds, though, come from the world we grow up in and the world we work in.  

So if I want to be creative, I can.  One way of thinking about this is four-year-olds.  Four-year-olds everywhere in the world are successful innovators. They ask lots of questions.  They observe like anthropologists.  They talk to just about anybody.  They totally think differently.  They do the things that innovators do. 

How many of us were once four years old?  And the answer is we all were.  And that means everyone - you and I - we have more creative capacity than we think. 

In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock



Does Creativity Come From N...

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