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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Today's Big Idea: Inventing the Future

The Big Idea for Thursday, August 16, 2012

Where do brilliant ideas come from? And what separates the original, the entrepreneurial, the truly innovative, from the rest of us?

Creativity is something we are all capable of, but harnessing it is a craft that requires practice. Some people, like Kip Tindell, CEO of the Container Store, spend years perfecting an idea before even attempting to execute it.

When you have a good idea on your hands, you can just feel it, says Tindell. It keeps you up at night and pushes you to go to work in the morning. The excitement is palpable.

So how do you get to the elusive moment of insight? The trick seems to lie in abandoning your routine. One way to do this is through humor, according to Big Think contributor Sam McNerney. Cognitively, humor delivers super normal stimuli to the cognitive system "in the same way Big Macs and pornography deliver super normal stimuli for our appetite and libido."



  1. 1 How To Recognize Your Next Brilliant Idea
    Megan Erickson Think Tank
  2. 2 The Science of Expectation: Using Humor To Understand Creativity
    Sam McNerney Moments of Genius
  3. 3 Never-Ending Drawing Machine: MIT's Collaborative Creativity Station
    Maria Popova Design for Good
  4. 4 Advice for Employees
    Big Think Editors Inside Employers' Minds

Today's Big Idea: Inventing...

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