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An exploration into making the world work better

Consider the advances of the past century. The way science has improved our daily lives. The possibilities unleashed by technology. The things we can do today that earlier generations could not even imagine.

Yes, this is about better information, tools, algorithms—but that's not all. It's about the deeply human quest to make the world more livable, safer, more efficient, more sustainable. Our enduring drive for progress has given us the capacity to see the world with greater clarity... to map what we see... to understand its dynamics. All of which builds shared belief... in a better future, and in the way each of us can act to make it so.


Inside the 2011 NYC THINK exhibit, visitors were immersed in a film and interactive
experience across 40 oversized digital screens that displayed how technology can improve
our daily lives and transform the way we live.

Located on Jaffe Drive at Lincoln Center in New York, the THINK exhibit
combined three unique experiences to engage visitors in a conversation about
how we can improve the way we live and work.

Inside THINK presented by IBM in INNOVENTIONS at Epcot® at the Walt Disney World® Resort.

IBM THINK, a free app for iPad and 10" Android tablets that celebrates centuries of science and tech innovations.

An approach to making the world work better

While each leap of progress requires its own intelligence, work, and courage, many of them are the result of a distinct, repeatable pattern. The THINK exhibit app and THINK film explore how progress is shaped through a common and systematic approach.

For much of human history, we had just five senses to measure the world around us. As our curiosity grew, we built measurement tools, from clocks and scales to microscopes and telescopes. Now, billions of technological sensors and sophisticated imaging devices are capturing massive amounts of data about every imaginable phenomenon. For the first time ever, we can see in great detail into the natural and manmade systems that make up our world.

All the information we're collecting becomes much more effective when it's organized. We've used maps to organize data for millennia. Throughout history, maps have revealed patterns in what appeared to be chaos, inspired explorers, and guided development and innovation. Now, our maps are more powerful and insightful than ever. They're dynamic, multi-dimensional, and collaborative. Today's mapping platforms give us the ability to organize and express information about any facet from every perspective—in real time.

To improve the world's systems, we must first understand why they behave the way they do. That means untangling the actions of thousands of component parts. It's not possible to do this on brainpower alone. Which is why we always built models—from physical prototypes to mathematical calculations. Now we have new tools to see into the future in a less risky manner. Supercomputers, analytics software, and networking technologies allow us to simulate the behavior and interactions of vast systems. We can now virtually explore ideas and hypotheses that were too dangerous or even impossible to test until now.

Change is easy. It happens by itself. Progress, on the other hand, is deliberate. It won’t take root until someone believes it’s possible and convinces others that action will be worth the effort. This takes perseverance and the ability to convince skeptics to overcome the status quo. Conviction and willpower are necessary to foster belief. But technology has a role as well. Reliable data, timely maps and effective simulations can all help reveal the path to progress.

Sustainable progress requires massive coordination, cooperation, perpetual monitoring and automation. It takes teamwork and technology to manage complexity. Acting is never over, because our systems are alive. But when we wrangle one, we learn about the others. Making progress is extraordinarily difficult, but the more we do it, the more we learn, and the easier it becomes.

THINK exhibit app

Explore how progress happens with the THINK exhibit app, for kids, innovators and forward thinkers.

THINK exhibit lesson plans

Educators: Bring THINK to the classroom with THINK exhibit lesson plans, an exploration in the process of innovation, available on Teachers TryScience.

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THINK film

EAMES Powers of Ten film

The iconic Powers of Ten film, created for IBM by design masters Ray and Charles Eames, continues to influence new generations of forward thinkers.

Icons of Progress

Experience a remarkable collection of stories about the 100 IBM innovations that helped shape the last century.