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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.

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Question: What makes a great leader?

Nancy Koehn: There must be something initially there as there must be with all of us, right? We are born with gifts, and weaknesses, and vulnerabilities, and talents, and … you know, blue eyes or brown eyes, or short legs or long legs. We're born with a kind of, you know, stock of attributes, and that's true of all of us. I don't think that the shopping list for leaders is terribly specific. So I don't think that great leaders, or effective leaders, noteworthy leaders are born with, you know, with this particular concatenation of attributes. I think what determines whether a leader is effective is how they use not only their talents, their strengths, and their experiences that happened to them … that they come to along their journey, but also what they make of their failures, their own vulnerabilities, their own weaknesses. And finally a host of attributes that I think some leaders purposely, effectively cultivate as … .

Recorded On: 6/12/07


What makes a great leader?

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