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


Question: What are some of the biggest sustainability challenges confronting businesses?

Jay Light: Today you have to worry about multiple dimensions of sustainability.  It’s energy.  It’s water.  It’s natural resources of all kinds.  It’s also in a world of change of all kinds how you build a sustainable organization that can perpetuate itself across time, so that is something we didn’t used to talk about very much.

On the one hand it has really broadened the sense of what costs one should take into account as one thinks about everything your firm does, so there are the direct costs that people have always taken into account, the labor costs, the direct energy costs, the cost of the buildings, et cetera, but what has become more clear is there are a set of external costs that the firm doesn’t necessarily directly bear, at least not in the short run that firms… pollution being the more obvious one and while that is not a direct cost to the firm in the short run it’s obviously a cost that we all bear and so the question is how do you build a system and how should a firm behave with regard to these external costs.  How do you make them part of if you will, the set of objectives that you are trying to take into account as you think in this broader way about costs?  And then there is also the issue of flexibility.  As the world changes, as different natural resources become more constrained firms have to develop much more flexible sense of how are they going to get things done in the future.  For example, an agribusiness firm, if… how is it going to get things done in a drought?  How would one get things done in an energy crisis?  How would one reinvent a company to in fact adapt to whatever obscurities are likely to present themselves next year, the year after, 10 years from now, 20 years from now, so both cost and flexibility I think are the 2 dimensions along which sustainability would suggest a different set of answers that one might have come to 10 or 20 years ago.


The Challenge of Sustainabi...

Newsletter: Share: