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: Which companies need to focus more on corporate responsibility?

Jeffrey Hollender: There are, of course, the examples that you open up and see in the newspaper every day, like British Petroleum, and Goldman Sachs, and Toyota.  Those companies are a warning flag to every other business that’s not doing the right thing.  You now, those businesses happen to have gotten caught in the mess that they’ve created.  They are not alone in doing some terrible things.  But they’re unique in that they’ve gotten caught. 

If you go back in time and you think about a company like Toyota, several years ago, while they were running all these ads about the Prius, and how sustainable the Prius is and how much the cared about the planet and the environment—at the same time, secretly they were lobbying in the California against increased gas mileage standards.  So, you know, on the one hand they wanted to appear as this sustainable company while, you know, with the other hand, they’re actually fighting the changes that are required to make the world more sustainable for everyone else.   That is the kind of duality that I see at too many companies.  Too many companies who want to talk about... I mean, I remember four years ago, General Motors put up billboards all around New York and the country advertising the Volt car.  Now, the Volt car was not being made.  They had no idea if it was going to be made, they had no idea when it was going to be made, but that didn't stop them from advertising a car that didn't exist as a way to bolster their image as a responsible business. 

Things like that are destructive to your reputation.  And many companies don’t understand that this new world that we live in, the transparency that is created by the Internet raises the stakes for companies getting away with stuff that they used to be able to get away with.  Transparency will be forced upon you if you choose not to be transparent yourself, and you will get caught doing the wrong thing—whether you get caught by your own employees, whether you get caught by a blogger, whether you get caught by an NGO, or the government—you’ll get caught. And businesses need to be proactive in, a) disclosing the problems that they have, which they’re scared to do, and committing to the path that they’re going to take to make change.

Recorded on June 11, 2010
Interviewed by Jessica Liebman


Toyota’s Double-Sided Mistake

Newsletter: Share: