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

Collaborating Communities

June 23, 2014, 4:39 PM

Crowdfunding has been a tool used to introduce new inventions and prototypes. Tech products specifically have benefitted by presenting a seemingly genius, fail-proof idea and crafting an all-or-nothing message: support the campaign or we won't have a way to give the world this great new product.

A newer model has been developed by Quirky, a company that crowdsources invention ideas by presenting each idea to it’s community of “real people” and casting a “good old fashioned hand vote” to decide whether or not the idea should be developed further.

I found this model and how it relates to the type of crowdfunding I support really interesting. Quirky feels like a polished grownup version of the invention conventions of our youth. There’s something optimistic and uplifting about a group of people devoted to creation and progress. In scrolling through the sites proposal page I can't help but feel the effects of potential. In minutes I've casually viewed proposals from everything to an aromatherapy alarm clock to new mammogram technology. 

Currently, Quirky is  a community of 250,000 members. You can sign up online and upvote proposals on the site but votes are cast in person every Thursday night at the New York headquarters. The Thursday night vote is livestreamed for anyone wanting to look in. If the idea is approved it will then move into stages of development which Quirky financially supports. Then, if the product makes profit the community members who supported it get 10% of revenue while the inventor receives 40.5%. 

Kickstarter and Indiegogo crowdfund for money but they're also used to crowdsource public opinion and market demand. With Quirky crowdsourcing comes first. The communities ideas and opinions come together, brainstorming and sharing even the most fledgling of invention proposals. 

Quirky does detract autonomy from the inventor. But without Quirky's vast network, and  financial support, many wouldn't be able to move forward on their own. So many creators turn away from using crowdfunding platforms because as much as they might want the funds, they just don't have the crowd. Before starting a campaign it is essential that you have a network of supporters already in place. Quirky provides a new option. For dreamers without the crowd, they bring the crowd to you. 


Photo Credit: William_Perugini/shutterstock.com


Collaborating Communities

Newsletter: Share: