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

1

Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

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

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

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
Close

Innovation is Like the Path of Odysseus

November 16, 2013, 9:00 AM
Odysseus460_1702374c

How does improvisation work in a business context? 

Innovation is almost all about improvisation because what is going to happen is when you start developing that new product or that new restaurant or that new design concept for a piece of clothing or how the packaging is going to work for that can of paint you realize that there are constraints that you didn't know before. 

So what is going to happen is the real world is going to kick in.  There are going to be money issues, production issues.  It doesn't come in that color.  There is not enough resin in the world, whatever it is and at that point you have to innovate again, but now you're innovating in the how space, not the what space. 

So what you're trying to create is relatively fixed.  How you're going to get there is completely different and I think of it like "The Odyssey'.  If you've ever read Homer's "Odyssey', you know he's got this concept.  Odysseus, he wants to go home to Ithaca, but how he gets home takes a lot longer than he thought it was and he's got be very clever along the way.  I think that's the innovation path.  

As a rule of thumb I like to tell people you have to be very open and an innovation usually takes you three times as long and at least twice the amount of money you thought it would.  

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

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

 

 

Innovation is Like the Path...

Newsletter: Share: