Designer James Ernest released The Big Idea through his own Cheapass Games in 2000, with the game being a hybrid of party game and light strategy game. In that design, players would create crazy inventions from the pairing of an adjective and noun card in their hands, simultaneously choose one invention (other than their own) to invest in, pay to invest in other inventions (whether newly created that round or an earlier creation), then roll a die for each investment to see whether it pays off and if so by how much. The player who collected the most money won.
For the 2011 edition of The Big Idea from French publisher Funforge, Ernest and Funforge's Philippe Nouhra have stripped out everything related to earning money to transform the design into a true party game. Players still have a hand of adjective and noun cards and pair one of each together to create a fancy invention. They then take turns pitching their ideas to everyone in the game, lobbying players as if they were in front of a crowd of venture capitalists. Players then secretly vote on which idea they feel should be rewarded, placing a reward card face down in front of the chosen invention and blank cards in front of all other inventions. The player who collects the most rewards wins the round.