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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.

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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.

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Humanizing Business

The Big Idea for Monday, January 30, 2012

The 2008 market crash exposed Wall Street and corporations generally to increasingly mainstream scrutiny and criticism. At a time when cash-strapped governments are initiating unprecedented public-private partnerships in order to fund everything from education to environmental protection, questions of corporate social responsibility are more pressing than ever. 

Meanwhile, businesses are struggling to retain their best employees – the brightest stars among a young generation of workers who tend to change companies every two years. Models like that of Google, which provides for employees’ every need from massages to sushi to transportation, and in which managers are viewed as expendable support for those they manage, are emerging to address the need for a more dynamic, more flexible, more human approach to business.  Ironically, as China and the West become increasingly interdependent, “human-friendly” companies like Apple are relying on businesses like FoxConn, a tech-components sweatshop with so many worker suicides that the factory balconies have built-in nets to prevent them. 

How, then, should businesses evolve to meet the needs of a new millennium while making a healthy profit for the sake of their continued existence and growth? 



  1. 1 Riding a Bicycle by Committee
    Jason Gots Think Tank
  2. 2 The Crisis of Meaning in the Millennial Workforce
    Big Think Editors Inside Employees' Minds
  3. 3 Foxconn, Revisited
    Daniel Honan Think Tank
  4. 4 Bedfellows in Green: Big Business and the Environment
    Jason Gots Re-Envision

Humanizing Business

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