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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.

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

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

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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.

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Catastrophic Success

The Big Idea for Friday, January 31, 2014

Ours is a golden age for consumers and an age of anxiety for businesses. Every 12 to 18 months we can reliably expect that products will continue to get better and cheaper.

This means that an industry can be disrupted by an innovation that comes from out of left field. But even if a company does not miss the boat completely, it can still fall victim to catastrophic success. 

As the technology writer Larry Downes tells Jeff Schechtman in this week's Specific Gravity interview, all of a sudden a company might have millions of new customers in a very short period of time. "You have to be ready with the right kind of infrastructure to absorb these new customers," Downes says. 

Furthermore, there is a shorter life cycle for a new innovation. "Don't imagine that tremendous growth will keep going and going," Downes warns. You're going to reach the point where everyone has your product, and competitors will notice your success. Very quickly you will need to start looking for your next product or service or otherwise decide to sell your company. 

 

 

Perspectives

  1. 1 Only the Paranoid and Fast Will Survive
    Big Think Editors Specific Gravity
  2. 2 Innovate, Or Get Out of the Way!
    Daniel Honan Think Tank
  3. 3 Disruptive Technologies and Disruptive Innovations
    Clayton Christensen
 

Catastrophic Success

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