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.

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Sputnik Moments

The Big Idea for Sunday, April 28, 2013

Is innovation best pursued through fear or through long-term thinking?

NASA, the government entity responsible for so much U.S. innovation in the 20th century, was a response to fear. The Soviet Union demonstrated it was well ahead of the U.S. in the space race. That is why in today's lesson Neil deGrasse Tyson says he hates "Sputnik moments." After all, when you experience one, it means it is time to play catch-up.

Moreover, Sputnik moments should not be inspirations to be doing things we know we already should be doing, like developing the capability of energy independence. If we are to take advantage of a Sputnik moment, it should be reserved for bold visions. And that is how this concept can best be applied to our own lives. 


  1. 1 Neil deGrasse Tyson: Why Do We Have to Be Shocked Into Being Motivated to Lead?
    Neil deGrasse Tyson Big Think TV
  2. 2 It’s a Small(sat) World: Observing the Earth and Potential Returns in the 1st Vertical
    NewSpace Global Analysts Above the Clouds
  3. 3 The NASA Effect
    Neil deGrasse Tyson
  4. 4 The Importance of Orbital Vacations
    Burt Rutan

Sputnik Moments

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