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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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Innocentive: The Scalable Problem-Solver

October 2, 2013, 1:17 PM

In essence what Innocentive does is it provides a platform where you can post a really challenging problem and offer a reward to anybody who can come and provide a solution.  And it’s been remarkably effective.  People get very challenging problems and get solutions to those problems.  And one of the interesting things that comes out if you look at the research that’s been done on where are these answers coming from.  

It turns out that the significant majority of the answers that are posted and get rewards on Innocentive’s platform do not come from within the discipline that the problem was posted.  So if it was a problem in chemistry you’re more than likely not to get the answer from another chemist.  You’re likely to get the answer from somebody in a completely different discipline who’s just coming at this with a very different angle.

So it’s that unexpected encounter.  You wouldn’t even know to go outside the discipline or where to go outside the discipline to find the answer yet Innocentive creates that opportunity where posting the problem attracts all kinds of innovative ideas and ultimately a solution to the problem. 

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

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Innocentive: The Scalable P...

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