Pencil as Power Tool

A few years ago, I took a five-day drawing class in New York City that changed my life. I entered the class a complete ignoramus on matters visual. By week’s end, I was somewhat less of an ignoramus — because, to my amazement, I had begun learning how to see. Drawing, as I discovered that […]


Quote of the day: Have your skills become commodities?

“[The programming language] C++ is now an international language. If that’s all you know, then you’re competing with people in India or China who will do the work for less.” – Catherine L. Mann, Brandeis University economist, in this NYT story about slow hiring in the tech sector


What a fabled marching band can teach you about innovation

I’ve got a soft spot for people who take on the status quo — of an industry, a sport, an art form — and then turn it upside down and inside out. Think Marcel Duchamp for art. Or Ray Kroc for restaurants. Or Bill Walsh for football. One such person passed away this weekend: William […]


Can watching Pong make you more creative?

Brandon Schauer at Adaptive Path has put together a 49-second video designed to invigorate your corpus callosum and fire your creative powers. In a blog post, he says that his creation builds on research showing that side-to-side eye movement, by increasing communication between the left and right hemisphere, can increase creativity. If you’re facing a […]


Factoid (and peeve) of the day

During last year’s presidential campaign, both McCain and Obama endlessly broadcast ads that promised “good middle class jobs.” And whenever an ad intoned that phrase, up popped an image like the one below, which comes from an Obama campaign stop: burly, 50-something (mostly white) guys wearing dirty uniforms.What drove me crazy about these ads is […]


You ask. We deliver. Usually.

Several book groups — at companies, schools, and elsewhere — recently have asked if we have discussion guides for Bunko and AWNM.Now, just in time for your 4th of July barbecue, we do.We’ve put together a set of four 2-page discussion guides for both books. You can download them for free using the links below. […]


Are you ready for the 50-word challenge?

Daily Lit is one of my favorite sites. Sign up for a free subscription — and DL will send bite-sized installments of literature to your email, RSS, or mobile phone.But now the folks at Daily Lit have challenged their readers to also become writers by crafting “mini-sagas” — short stories that are exactly 50 words […]


This isn’t a game, people!

A good project manager is worth her weight in gold. But how can someone learn the sophisticated skills of planning, budgeting, executing, and keeping on deadline a complex project?The gurus at the Singapore-MIT Gambit Game Lab have an answer: a board game.  They call it Tipping Point. And if you’ve got scissors and tape at the ready, you […]


How jobs get reconfigured in a downturn

Friday’s unemployment figures reveal once again the grimness of the 2009 labor market. So how are organizations responding? By taking steps that, not too long ago, would have been unthinkable.Consider IBM. According to Information Week, the company is offering its laid-off workers a fab deal: It will give them jobs . . . in emerging […]


The problem with problems

A quick thought about the disconnect between how we prepare kids for work and how work actually operates:In school, problems almost always are clearly defined, confined to a single discipline, and have one right answer.But in the workplace, they’re practically the opposite. Problems are usually poorly defined, multi-disciplinary, and have several possible answers, none of […]