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.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos


Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers


Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge


Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more
With rendition switcher


Mays Powell:    I think probably the most exciting thing is that you can really do what you want to do and interpret it your way.  I think…  I think that sort of the big message of this century is that it’s not necessarily, you’ve got to wear beige for spring, but if you do, maybe you want to do it in a slightly more prairie ethnic way.  Maybe you want to take it the way Ralph Lauren did it and do it with a slightly Moroccan, North African vibe to it.  Maybe you want to take beige and you just want to throw it with a whole bunch of crazy things and then wrap it with a high waist, a la Marc Jacobs.  I mean, I think…  I think that’s the fun is that you can really…  if you’ve got the confidence, you can really dress and take what you want from the collections and do what you want with them and make it your own. 

Question: What makes a trend?   

Mays Powell:    You know, once an idea to, you know, keep noticing and, you know, three is a story.  So if…  we’ve a thing on our online which is, you know, threes a trend.  So if you see three of anything, it’s sort of becomes a trend or it becomes a kind of a phenomenon of some kind.  So I think when people are talking about things and you can hear that in just different dinner parties and cultural things, that becomes a kind of [IB] the culture.  Similarly, I think, fashion has got…  you know, [with] fashion tends to do opposites.  It was very dark, fall season.  It was very Goth.  There were lots of lace.  It was quite Victorian.  It was quite [IB] as the Scots would say.  Spring is much lighter, although not completely frivolous.  It’s not dark but yet, it’s quite neutral.  So fashion is a kind of more fluid, it’s less structure.  Fashion tends to do the opposite from the season after…  the season before to the next season.  So it keeps you kind of on your toes. 

Question: What makes something classic?      

Mays Powell:    You know, I think, there is a slightly eternal idea to what is good fashion.  The idea that it’s got…  it transcends a six month thing that you could have it in your life, you know, Chanel handbag, an [IB] tuxedo, you know, maybe even a classic Tom Ford [IB] dress from his collections long ago…  well long ago in fashion terms, and Gucci.  Those classic pieces that become a part of a sort of fashion vocabulary that we use, I think that’s, if I’m explaining myself, that defines good fashion.  Something that’s fashionable or, you know, gladiator sandals this summer.  You know, everyone wears sort of Bermuda shorts, gladiator sandals.  That’s fashionable.  Is that going to stay and be good fashion and be solid and be with us?  I don’t think so.  I think that’s really a fad and a trend.  I think it’s really hard to find things.  You know, a white shirt, how is that done?  How is that interpreted so that it becomes…  without being boring and trite.  How is it becomes good fashion?  Or what you do to it to elevate it, to make it now?  I think those are things that I always consider when I buy things.  If I…  I’m going to have them in my wardrobe for a long time, if it’s a [flash in a pan].  And I think it’s great to have something for six months.  Don’t spend a lot of money on it.  Wear the hell out of it, have a ball with it, you know, throw it away, give it away, give it to a friend, give it to your daughter to make dolls clothes with.  You know, don’t be precious about it.  But then I think there are things that you want to invest in like a beautiful [IB] trench coat that you want to have for years and years and years, a fabulous Chanel suit that you’re going to have for years and years.  I think those things are classics, that are, you know, [IB] leather skirt, one of his bandage dresses.  Those are things that, I think, become part of a fashion vocabulary that is eternal and not ephemeral.  And I think that’s…  I think a lot of designers would love to get to that iconic classic state.  It’s very very hard to do.


Harriet Mays Powell Reveals...

Newsletter: Share: