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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.

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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: Open-Source Government

The Big Idea for Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Arab Spring and Wikileaks are early indications of the possibility of a technology-driven politics that is more responsive to citizens' needs. It's axiomatic that once in power, leaders will do whatever they need to to remain in power, and rarely much beyond that. Using new communication channels to hold leaders accountable is just the start of what could become an entirely new approach to government. 

At the same time, we face systemic challenges that aren't easily resolved via twitter. Perhaps it's time to reimagine core political structures that limit government responsiveness and precision –institutions like the United States' de-fact two party system, the electoral college, and the antiquated way we cast our votes. The goal? A more organic and useful government that's more aware of and responsive to the needs of its employers – average citizens. 


  1. 1 Bipolar Politics: The Beginning and End of the Two-Party System
    Eric Sanders Action In Action
  2. 2 Mitt Romney: Are two parties enough?
    Mitt Romney
  3. 3 Edward Crane Critiques the Two-Party System
    Ed Crane
  4. 4 Using Technology to Create More Open Government
    Stephen King Humanizing Technology

Today's Big Idea: Open-Sour...

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