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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: Institutional Culture

The Big Idea for Monday, August 05, 2013

Historically, organizational cultures  tended to evolve organically out of the founders' vision and the early executives' management style. But organizational theory and practice has become increasingly focused on the idea of consciously building a sustainable organizational culture – a "dna" for the company that will sustain the business after its original leaders are long gone. 

Failure to do so can have consequences. First, unless an organization's leadership is extraordinarily focused, changing conditions can completely disrupt workplace morale and the company's ability to innovate and compete. Secondly, unless a clear blueprint is in place and deeply embedded in day-to-day operations, the departure of anyone at the top can significantly disrupt the company's course. 

Institutional culture is about creating a set of boundaries that will enable your business to reach its goals, stay true to its mission, and continue to attract and retain top talent long after you are gone. 



  1. 1 Turning Idealism into Good Business
    Kaspar Worm-Petersen Experts' Corner
  2. 2 The Four Day Work Week
    Jason Gots Inside Employees' Minds
  3. 3 Switching off an "Always on" Culture
    Jason Gots Think Tank
  4. 4 Redefining "Meaningful Work"
    Leon Botstein

Today's Big Idea: Instituti...

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