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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.

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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The Future of Flight

The Big Idea for Thursday, March 29, 2012

Today we're looking at the future of flight, both literally and metaphorically. Frances Frei, Harvard Business School professor, and Anne Morriss, Chief Knowledge Officer of Concire, share their advice for reaching your goals no matter what field you're in. Using Southwest Airlines as a case study, Frei and Morriss show that whether you're an entrepreneur, an executive, or someone's assistant, it's essential that you not try to do everything at once. Perfectionists and overachievers may think they're giving people what they want, when actually they're just exhausting themselves and ensuring mediocrity. 

Burt Rutan, an aerospace engineer, says that his job designing airplanes is about giving the customer what they want -- but ultimately, simplicity is key. Big Think blogger Kirsten Winkler explores the changes that new technological innovations will bring, not just in how we travel, but in the way we travel. Physicist Michio Kaku wonders if the launch of the space shuttle Discovery was the end of one era and the beginning of another. In a perfect illustration of the present eclipsing the past, a commercial airliner with over 200 people on board was able to view the Discovery Launch in it's entirety. One of the passengers took a short movie of the event, which went viral. Perhaps it's the beginning of a new age in digital and engineering innovation.

Warp speed ahead!


  1. 1 Culture at 30,000 Feet Above Ground
    Big Think Editors Think Tank
  2. 2 Future Tourists Travel with Personal Interpreters and Translating Shades
    Kirsten Winkler Disrupt Education
  3. 3 When it Comes to Aircrafts, Simplicity Rules
    Burt Rutan
  4. 4 Shuttle Discovery - The End of an Era & Start of a New One?
    Michio Kaku Dr. Kaku's Universe

The Future of Flight

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