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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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Today's Big Idea: Disruptive Innovation

The Big Idea for Monday, September 03, 2012

How does innovation create and destroy value? That is the question that Jeff DeGraff, aka, Dean of Innovation, takes up today.

The answer, as DeGraff points out, is as old as Genesis and rings true for artists, individuals and companies. In order to create, one must first destroy, in order to clear the way for the new. This destructive act is a risk that not every company nor individual is willing to take.

For example, Apple computers took great risks at a time when the company was close to bankruptcy. But its risk-taking made the company what it is today. The safe course would not have accomplished that. 

So how can you apply this lesson to your own life? What do you ultimately need to do away with, or destroy, in order to clear the way for innovation?


  1. 1 Creative Destruction: From Genesis to Picasso to Apple Computers
    Daniel Honan Think Tank
  2. 2 What a Poor Man's Innovation Can Teach a Rich Country
    An Phung Think Tank
  3. 3 The Path to Innovation
    Clayton Christensen
  4. 4 The Prerequisites for Innovation
    Shirley Ann Jackson

Today's Big Idea: Disruptiv...

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