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

1

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

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

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

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

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
Close
With rendition switcher

Transcript

Question: What impact does your work have on the world? 

Robert Hormats: My work has an impact on the world, I think, in several areas. One, it does help to channel capital, channel funds to productive companies who have good ideas and want to invest in those ideas. For instance companies that want to produce new sources of energy, new types of energy, alternative energy. Companies that want to put money into new types of medicine, new cures for diseases.

It benefits companies and countries that want to play a greater role in the global economy. For instance, companies abroad that feel that with additional amounts of capital they can be more productive. They can create more jobs. They can be more dynamic players in the global economy, and that’s one part of it.

The second; one of the roles that I try to play is to help people to understand the forces that are at work in the U.S. economy and the global economy. It’s not simply sufficient to try to work with individual groups or individual companies, but it’s also important to have a very robust public dialogue about the profound changes that are taking place in the world economy.

The world economy today is so different from what it was 10 or 15 years ago. The world financial system is so different. And unless we better understand it, we will fear it. Or we will simply not be able to rise to the challenges that we need to address in the global financial and economic system. So I try to do that as well.

And third, I try to play a role in the public policy debate in Washington [D.C.] and elsewhere about how we can address these issues; how we deal with problems, for instance, for giving people more opportunity to succeed in the global economy; how to deal with problems of, say, homelessness in this city and in the country where you have people who could be very potentially productive citizens, but don’t have the opportunity because they don’t have a home. They don’t have an education. They don’t have proper healthcare.

And also to try to make the point fairly regularly as I try to do on television, that this country can’t shy away from or isolate itself from global change. It has to accept the reality of global change, but it has to do more to enable its citizens to thrive in this new economy, rather than simply resent it or try to cordon ourselves off--because you can’t stop change.

You have to rise to the change itself and be competitive. And that means training. It means education. It means good healthcare so people are healthy when they go to work and healthy when they retire so they’re more productive parts of the system; not just drain their work lines, but afterwards they’re still able to contribute and feel good about themselves. Even when they’re 70 or 80 they can play a productive role in our society.

 

Recorded On: July 25, 2007

 

Hormats' Impact on the World

Newsletter: Share: