DIY Brand Camp at the BuildingEnergy conference

March 3 in Boston: a special, super-condensed one-day DIY Brand Camp at the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association’s annual conference for building industry professionals.

The DIY Brand Camp is getting pretty damn cool

Building a community of co-learners is really fun, and it feels really good. The fact that it’s a supercharged way to learn is almost extra. Photos of the second DIY Brand Camp.

Photos of the first-ever DIY Brand Camp

On June 10 and 11, I presented the first DIY Brand Camp™. Judging from campers’ comments—and these photos that capture the vibe— it was an unmitigated success.

Good feelings deserve ad campaigns too

A Chicago artist used street signs to remind passers-by of our humanity. Then they became billboards in three major cities. An exemplar of the synergy of design and message.

Bacteria balance self and group. Why can’t we?

Individual bacterium know how to look out for themselves. But they’re always ready to rally for the common good if their colony is threatened. It’s behavior we could learn from.

Lesson: Don’t just tell your story, show it

A dyslexic designer/typographer realized that his teachers tried to help, but not to understand his experience. So he used type to create a beautiful lesson in showing your story.

Book cover: "Ogilvy on Advertising"

Must-have: lessons from an original Mad Man

If you make ads and you haven’t got a well-worn copy of “Ogilvy on Advertising” near your desk, you are ripping off your clients. The Father of Advertising shows us how to change minds.

Organizational health trumps everything else

And the best way to build organizational health? Create clarity. Overcommunicate clarity. Reinforce clarity. Here’s a must-read book for leaders committed to emotional intelligence in the workplace.

Recovering from mistakes: how Churchill did it

In addition to being a rock star statesman, Winston Churchill was a gifted and prolific painter. He used his relationship with art to reconnect with himself after failure—and move on to great things.

Billboards are made for visual puns

It’s nice to see billboards used well. This campaign says it all: who they are and what they want me to know, at a 65-mph glance. And the sponsor has a very cool 19th-century origin story.

Inspiring nonprofits to be better than businesses

When so many businesses are uninspired and undistinguished at best, says author Jim Collins, why would we want to import practices of mediocrity into the social sectors?

A soaring campaign for public education

A brilliant campaign empowers kids with wings spray-painted by street artists. The objective is to attract struggling kids to a new state-funded, student-centered school system.

Web design circa 2013: eight trends

From Design Blitz, a survey of how web design is changing in response to new ways of learning, sharing, and doing business. Responsive design is just one of eight clear trends.

Believe in a kid, and she’ll give the world a symphony

Favio Chavez knows that music is powerful. And that believing in people is too. He made instruments out of trash, then taught kids others had given up on how to play. Talk about community building.

10 life lessons I learned on a mountain bike

Flip yourself over on a stone wall a few times, and you begin to ask why it’s happening. The answers start to look like life lessons. Here’s 10 worth sharing. Number one? Let go over the bumps.

What do you want? Reset your intentions, fast

Here’s a powerful three-step exercise in self-discovery that can effect change in both your personal life and your work life. It’s powerful because it starts with gratitude.

You can do anything. But you can’t do everything

An idea is only as good as your ability to bring it to life. Jocelyn K. Glei’s new book is an inviting, encouraging, and practical collection of tools and practices for turning ideas into reality.

Stress harms problem solving too. What to do?

Stress compromises your problem-solving performance. But new research from Carnegie Mellon indicates that self-affirmation—in the form of focusing on your values—can protect it.

How to create a social learning environment

A “social learning environment” is an online destination where people can co-create, share, and learn from each other. Jane Hart has a good series on how to build these digital places.

Your brain is plastic. It’s designed to change

When readers of the Sharp Brains newsletter ask questions about neuroplasticity, the editors answer by linking to previously posted articles. Brilliant content marketing.

‘Fantastic Mistakes’: Advice from Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman’s advice to the University of the Arts graduating class of 2012 was simple: the old rules are crumbling, and nobody knows what the new rules are. So make up your own.

We are one species on one finite planet

Seeing the whole earth rotating in space tends to tweak your consciousness. A film by the Planetary Collective compiles images of our planet and interviews with the astronauts who shot them.

Textbooks on sim cards boost learning

SMART Communications is filling surplus SIM cards with textbook content and giving them to kids who can’t afford a tablet or e-reader for use on their old analog cell phones.

Media multitasking and learning don’t mix

Annie Murphy Paul points to research that shows how widespread media multitasking is (most college students text during class) and how it leads to leads to spottier, shallower learning.