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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: Humanizing Technology

The Big Idea for Tuesday, May 15, 2012

While still imperfect, the current generation of brain imaging technology is enabling researchers to zero in on elusive mental activities like creativity. The practical applications are boundless. In the past, businesses striving to create a company culture that would facilitiate innovation had to rely on trial and error, and industry best practices. Educators, too, often shoot in the dark when it comes to promoting student creativity, with the result that these less measurable areas of the curriculum are the first on the chopping block when budgetary times are tight. 

These new and evolving technologies promise to change all that by enabling companies and school systems to evaluate their approaches more empirically, on the basis of a clearer understanding of how the human mind works and what it needs to function most effectively. A case in point is author Jonah Lehrer's evaluation of 3M's culture of innovation in light of cutting edge neuroscience and psychology. 


  1. 1 Why Top Innovators Make Time to Waste Time
    Jason Gots Humanizing Technology
  2. 2 Keys to Creativity: Daydreaming, Persistence, Ping Pong
    Orion Jones IdeaFeed
  3. 3 How to Think Like a Baby
    Alison Gopnik
  4. 4 The Innovation Renaissance
    Brian Hoffstein Think Tank

Today's Big Idea: Humanizin...

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