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

Let's Stop Killing Ourselves and Take Some Risks

June 1, 2013, 8:00 AM
Shutterstock_83198602

I love talking about risk.  Because ultimately, the day before something is truly a breakthrough, it’s a crazy idea.  If it wasn’t a crazy idea the day before, it wouldn’t be a real breakthrough.  It would be an incremental improvement.  So the question I ask people in their companies, in their organizations is, where are you taking big risks?  Because if you’re not taking big risks then you’re destined to not changing anything or making small incremental improvements.  But if you’re playing a big game in the world, then you have to take risks.  

I look at the United States, for example, I think we’re killing ourselves on how risk adverse we’ve become.  Large government agencies have stopped taking big risks because they’re worried about Congressional investigations.  Large corporations stopped taking big risks because they’re worried about stock prices plummeting.  And really, the entrepreneurial sector ends up being a place where people are willing to risk it all.  You risk you reputation, you risk the capital you raised.  But ultimately, you’re going to be potentially changing the world.  

So, I think about risk a lot.  And I think about encouraging smart risk taking.  Now, taking risks doesn’t mean being stupid.  It really involves taking measured risks and really understanding how to mitigate those risks in one way or another.  So when we announced the Ansari X Prize, I took a huge risk in announcing it without having the $10 million in place.  and ultimately it paid off.  It might not have, we might not be having this conversation to day if we never raised the money, but I thought that, you know, ultimately this was a solid enough idea that there would be somebody who would be willing to put up the funds.  It took me five years, far longer than I expected.  But ultimately in taking that risk, it actually forced me to never give up because I had placed so much on the table in terms of my reputation, the reputation of my friends and colleagues that I couldn’t give up.

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

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

 

Let's Stop Killing Ourselve...

Newsletter: Share: