Computers in Libraries – Wednesday
- If someone walked into your organization and asked you what the process was for managing a purchase order, there would be a clearly defined course of action with designated people working together to get things done. Why aren’t we work flowing great ideas in this same fashion? We need to make sure that there is a process for good ideas so that they don’t just die.
- There are a lot of factors impacting innovation, including disappearing trade barriers, increasing rates of change, increased customer expectations, increased access to information, and decreasing cost of entry.
- [New to me] idea of “skunkwork” – a working group completely outside the company culture. Does your library have something like this? Would it work? Does it?
- To create an innovative business-as-usual model (as opposed to the this is how we’ve always done it mindset), we need to focus on communication, compensation, and culture.
- Quotable moment: “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”
- Companies (and libraries) have an unbalanced skill set. We have lots of training on efficiencies, but not so much on innovation. We need to learn more about trend spotting, customer insights, and prototyping.
- Question from Erin: Are these skills reflected in current LIS programs? Could they be incorporated in the future?
Unleashing the Power of Your People – Michelle Boule, author of Mob Rule Learning: Camps, Unconferences, and Trashing the Talking Head (Track F – Library Issues & Challenges)
- This session was awesome because it modeled the idea of an unconference/participant-driven event. The audience actively participated in brainstorming topics for discussion, voting on them, and sharing their experiences. Really the best way to learn something – by doing it – so I give major props to Michelle and the Track F moderators Jennifer Koerber and Michael Sauers.
- To do: Survey all staff of the library (including librarians, support staff, shelvers, student workers, interns, etc) to find out what they are passionate about/good at. These are opportunities to get your community engaged – they could teach a class or do a training session related to something they personally enjoy. You never know where (or who) the next great idea will come from.
- How do you counterbalance the fear factor when getting people engaged in this kind of learning activity?
- Question from Erin: Why aren’t we doing this sort of thing as library instruction? Why not take this approach with our users? Is anyone doing this?
Capturing, Sharing, & Acting on Ideas – Adam Shambaugh & Jill Luedke from Temple University Libraries (Track C – Inspiring Innovation)
- To do: Look at literature from business, management, and organizational behavior about organizational innovation and idea development.
- “Fuzzy front end” is a phrase used in the industry and literature to refer to the stage of ideas in their infancy. It’s often the most difficult stage because they are so nascent, with limited buy-in and being ill defined.
- Ian Alam article on early idea development reveals 3 stages: idea generation, idea screening, and concept development.
- Because of the random nature of ideas, capturing them in the moment is very important. Note from Erin: This is something I am very familiar with as a writer. I have ideas at the strangest times and if I don’t write them down, I lose them completely. This goes for everything from blog posts to letters to my friends to poems. So this session really resonated with me on multiple levels.
- New ideas will be qualitative, informal, and approximate. At this stage, ideas have the potential to be successful or unsuccessful so you can’t automatically discount anything.
- Temple did a “Capture And Idea” project, initially focused on improving user experience. They purchased and handed out idea notebooks to everyone in the organization and had them record ideas. Then, the TULibrary Experience Blog was created for employees to share ideas, which were discussed even further at retreats. From those discussions, a task force was developed to address ideas and issues (the “Fix It” Team).
- Why would you want to capture ideas? So you don’t forget it, because you can’t share it with other people if it’s inside your mind, and to let things percolate.
- What ideas would you capture? Problems you encounter (inside and outside the library), behaviors you observe (particularly unexpected), questions you’ve been asked repeatedly, complaints, and cool stuff. Note from Erin: This aligns really nicely with some usability/user observation stuff I’ve heard about. It would be a good way to get staff on board with a user-study sort of project.
- To do: Look up Catch & Springpad apps
- Advice for doing a project like this = suggest various platforms for capturing ideas based on comfort level, make it easy and inclusive, make sharing easy and accessible, give suggestions at the beginning to make it concrete, incentivize, and be inclusive.
- This kind of project really intrigues me. I feel like I made decent headway with our brainstorming session a few months ago, but then I was thinking about it some more and that was probably only the first baby step. If you ask for ideas once, or twice, even, and then don’t necessarily take the suggestions or follow up, people could feel like they wasted their time or aren’t being taken seriously. They might not want to contribute again in the future. However, if you fostered this culture of idea sharing, and consistently asked for and acted upon feedback, there would be more buy-in. People wouldn’t necessarily expect that each and every idea they generated was amazing and will be implemented immediately on the spot. It would just be an understood baseline/course of action to regularly generate and share ideas. This goes for internal an external audiences for libraries – staff, users, donors, admin… ::nerd::
- Both of these speakers were awesome. You could tell that they really knew their stuff and they were completely at ease in front of a room packed full of people. Very engaging with good content, tone, speaker presence, etc. Probably one of the most seamless and least awkward library conference presentations I’ve seen to date.