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


Kip Tindell: I don’t think knowing something is a very, very good idea’s all that hard. If we were a rock band and we were in the recording – and we recorded a song that was a future number one hit – you know, I think those guys know it’s a hit when they record it. I think they walk out of the studio going, “Hey, you know, that one’s really going to be big.”

We were very lucky in that we came – it took two years without pay of developing the concept, developing the resources.  It evolved out of furniture and into storage and organization.  And somehow in 1977 and 1978 we knew that – well we just got very, very, very excited about these products that saved you time and saved you space and organized your life, organized your world.  Businesses were interested in saving space and time, but nobody had ever – totally original idea – nobody had ever sought to bring that to individuals, to people’s homes.

We had no idea that people would become as time-starved and crazy and multitasking as they are today, but we knew that being well-organized allowed you to accomplish more in life, ultimately save you time, and that was important even back then. If you’re going to sell some commodity, selling time is – people think it’s space and making more out of less space.  It’s really making more out of less time.

We didn’t go through the terrible entrepreneurial terror of . . . are we going to make it or not? . . . because we were confident of the concept, confident of the products that we found . . . ‘cause we fell in love with these products.  It took a long time to come up with the products. Just to fill a little 1,600 square foot store took months and months and months of seeking products.  

Now the stores are 25,000 square feet, and there’s so much product out there it’s unbelievable.I think people came to this little store and said, “This is the oddest collection of merchandise I’ve ever seen in my life,”  and then they went and told people.  We had wire barrels that were made to burn leaves in – and those were like toy barrels ‘cause you could see through them – egg collection baskets that were meant to collect chicken eggs, and we sold that as a gardening basket where you could put all your gardening tools in it and stuff.  

Nothing in the store had ever been retailed before.  People got excited about it, and after a couple of weeks we said, "You know, maybe we have something." Then after a couple of months the President of Rubbermaid came down and visited us.  We couldn’t believe that.  And then Stanley Marcus came running around.  So we had a lot of positive reinforcement early on.

Directed / Produced by Jonathan Fowler & Elizabeth Rodd


Rock Stars Just Know

Newsletter: Share: