From London’s Coffeehouses to Bell Labs: The Power of Learning Communities and Nike's Just Do It Philosophy



Aug 09, 20233 min read


From London’s Coffeehouses to Bell Labs: The Power of Learning Communities and Nike's Just Do It Philosophy


Learning communities have been a part of human history for centuries, providing individuals with a sense of belonging and an opportunity to collaborate towards a shared learning goal. In this article, we will explore the origins and benefits of learning communities, as well as delve into Nike's iconic "Just Do It" philosophy and its impact on brand identity.

The Power of Learning Communities:

Learning communities fulfill our need for belonging and esteem, as identified in Maslow's hierarchy of needs. By joining a learning community, individuals not only gain knowledge but also receive respect and recognition for their progress towards shared goals. This fosters a sense of community and encourages continuous growth and innovation.

Bell Labs: A Model for Collaboration:

Bell Labs serves as an excellent example of a learning community where thinkers and doers were brought together under one roof. By promoting collaboration and open-door policies, Bell Labs created an environment where serendipitous interactions and exchange of ideas were encouraged. This sense of organic collaboration proved instrumental in fostering breakthrough innovations.

The Role of Education and Learning:

Education should not merely be a means to acquire a set of skills. Instead, it should focus on the realization of one's full potential and the ability to utilize these skills for the greater good. Interactive and social learning processes are crucial for students to thrive. Platforms like Teachable, Udemy, and Thinkific have revolutionized education by empowering individual educators, but the traditional model of pre-recorded lectures and solitary learning remains ineffective without self-motivation.

The Benefits of Learning Communities:

Research indicates that students who participate in learning communities are more likely to persist until graduation, experience a strong sense of community and belonging, and achieve improved academic performance. Learning communities provide a supportive environment where individuals can engage with the curriculum, take ownership of their learning, and collaborate with peers.

Nike's "Just Do It" Philosophy:

Nike's iconic slogan, "Just Do It," was born out of a desire to unify the brand's diverse range of athletic products and appeal to hardcore athletes and casual walkers alike. The inspiration for the line came from convicted murderer Gary Gilmore's last words, "Let's do it!" before his execution. The line struck a chord not only within the athletic community but also with individuals who had no direct connection to sports.

A Brand Identity and Philosophy:

Nike sees "Just Do It" not merely as a slogan but as a brand identity and philosophy. It represents the company's commitment to serving and honoring athletes, inviting people to join them in what they believe in and stand for. This inclusive approach has contributed to Nike's enduring success and ability to resonate with a wide audience.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Embrace collaborative learning: Seek out learning communities or create your own to foster collaboration, exchange ideas, and accelerate your learning journey.
  • 2. Prioritize interactive and social learning: Actively engage with the curriculum, participate in discussions, and collaborate with peers to enhance your understanding and retention of knowledge.
  • 3. Embody the "Just Do It" mindset: Embrace Nike's philosophy of taking action and pushing your limits. Set goals, overcome obstacles, and pursue your passions with determination and persistence.


Learning communities have played a significant role in human history, providing individuals with a sense of belonging and fostering collaboration. By incorporating the principles of learning communities into education and embracing the "Just Do It" philosophy in our pursuits, we can tap into our full potential, achieve personal growth, and contribute to the greater good.


  1. "London’s coffeehouses to Bell Labs: a short history of learning communities", (Glasp)
  2. "The history of Nike’s Just Do It slogan – Creative review", (Glasp)

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