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


Edward Norton: The group of us who came up with the idea to actually build our own platform came to it out of a particular set of experiences we had where something we were looking for wasn’t there.  I’m on the board of a conservation organization that I’m very committed to and I’ve worked on for many years, and we went to organize a fundraising campaign around the event of fielding a team in the New York Marathon.  We had brought a few of these young Masai Warrior guys over from Kenya that I’ve known for many years and put together a team of 30 people to run in the New York Marathon.  

Obviously we were doing all the traditional things, going after corporate sponsors and looking for a few big angel funders, but we wanted to reach out in a grassroots way.  So we kind of looked around at, like, what was out there in terms of the platforms that you could communicate on.  Over on one end of the spectrum we saw social networking platforms--with an emphasis on the social but not particularly well-engineered specifically to engage people in a fundraising interaction.  And then on the other end of the spectrum, there were, you know,  donation mechanisms.  There were things that were clearly, you know, you could set up and get people to donate, but they had almost none of the vitality and dynamism and personality and creativity of social networking platforms.  We looked at each other and said, we can do better than this and we pretty quickly in the course of a summer set up our own team site.  We raised about $1.2 million -- more with 30 people than some groups had with, like, 300 people.

That was the moment that we all  kind of looked at each other and said: we could easily build this out into something that"s . . . instead of being specific to the event we were doing, you know, we could easily just pull the specifics out and engineer a really robust template that works well for individuals, works well for an organization.  Let's see if we can, if we can build something that fulfills this niche.  

Recorded December 9, 2010
Interviewed by Max Miller
Directed by Jonathan Fowler
Produced by Elizabeth Rodd

More from the Big Idea for Friday, January 27 2012

Smart Philanthropy

At the best of times, philanthropy is a complex business. To begin with, there‚Äôs the question of which group, among the millions of needy and suffering people in the world, to help. Even more comp... Read More…


Leverage Social Networks fo...

Newsletter: Share: