This email hit my desk today and it really resonated with me as I work with and talk with so many who have difficulty proving their value and impact. It also addresses the financial industry where my roots are! The highlights below are mine but the text is not.
Monetizing Information Flows
StreetContxt is a hot, Canadian-based start-up that just raised $8 million from A-list investors, including a number of big banks and brokerage houses. Its mission is simple: to maximize the value of the mountain of investment research that gets generated each year. But what really makes StreetContxt stand out to me is that it offers a very compelling business proposition to both those who create the research and those who use it.
For the sell-side (those who create the content), it’s currently difficult to measure the impact much less the ROI on the huge volume of research they create annually. They send it out to presumably interested and qualified recipients, with no way of knowing if it is acted on, or even viewed.
For the buy-side (those who receive and use the content), it’s impossible to keep up with the blizzard of information being pushed out to them. Even more significantly, some of this research is very good, but a lot of it isn’t. How do you identify the good stuff?
StreetContxt offers the sell-side a powerful intelligence platform. By distributing research through StreetContxt, research producers can learn exactly who viewed their research and whether it was forwarded to others (multiple forwards are used as a signal to suggest a timely and important research report). What naturally falls out of this is the ability to assess what research is having the most market impact. But StreetContxt also helps research producers correlate research with trading activity to help make sure that their research insights are being rewarded with adequate commission revenue. Even better, StreetContxt helps the sell-side by providing insight into who is reading research on what topics and with what level of engagement in order to help power sales conversations. In short, StreetContxt tracks “who’s reading what” at a very granular level both to measure impact but also to inform selling activity.
On the buy-side, StreetContxt helps those who use research with a recommendation engine. Research users can specify topical areas of interest that get tuned by StreetContxt based on who is reading and forwarding what research reports. In other word, StreetContxt has found an approach to automatically surface the best and most important research. StreetContxt also helps research users by monitoring relevant research from sources to which the research user may not currently subscribe. And since much research is provided in exchange for trading commissions, StreetContxt can help research users get the most value from these credits.
The magic described here happens because the content creators post to the central StreetContxt portal, and research users access content from the same portal. This allows StreetConxt to monitor exactly who is using what research.
Why would research users allow their every click to be tracked and turned into sales leads? Because StreetContxt offers them a powerful inventive in the form of curated research recommendations, a better way to manage research instead of having it flood their in-boxes as it does now, and most importantly of all, a way to ferret out the best and most important research.
The big lesson for me is that with a sufficiently compelling value proposition on both sides, smart companies can position themselves in the middle of an information flow and monetize the resulting data in powerful and profitable ways.
Did you know that O’Reilly has published the 4th edition of this seminal work, Information Architecture: for the Web and Beyond, by Peter Morville and Louis Rosenfeld first published in 1998? Terrific! And I just got my copy. The first section introduces IA with definitions and issues then discusses design for finding and for understanding. Part 2 covers the basic principles of IA including organization systems, labeling systems, navigating systems, search systems as well as thesauri, controlled vocabularies & metadata. Peter is a wonderful teacher and speaker about these topics for librarians, info pros, taxonomists, and knowledge managers. He will be participating in Library Leaders Digital Strategy Summit at the DC Hilton, March 8-9.
Just got my copy of Public Knowledge: Access & Benefits edited by friends and colleagues Miriam A. Drake & Donald T. Hawkins and last chapter by Barbie Keiser on open government, big data and the future of public information. Great stuff on U. S. public information in this book. Good list of acronyms — always helpful!! Includes chapters on the Library of Congress, National Library of Medicine, Government Printing Office, and lots more.
Well, we’re half way through January and I’m finally writing the post I wanted to do weeks ago! I am so excited about many upcoming events:
Ontario Library Association SuperConference next week in Toronto, some highlights:
*IFLA President Donna Scheeder brings greetings & discusses her President’s Meeting April 6-9 in Toronto
*Jane Dysart interviews several generations of librarians, Generations: Meeting of the Minds, Wed 4pm
*Rebecca Jones being awarded Public Librarian of the Year award, Thurs — well deserved! Yeah!
Computers in Libraries 2016 in DC March 7-10, see my last post for more details about theme, Library Labs: Research, Innovation & Imagination
Library Leaders Digital Strategy Summit in DC, March 8-9 — usually on the west coast for the first time in DC with facilitators Rebecca Jones & Michael Edson, former office of the CIO of the Smithsonian Insitute & now Associate Director & Head, Digital, United Nations Live, Museum for Humanity
Ebooks Symposium, University of Toronto iSchool, March 17-18
Future of Libraries: Ours to Create, NOW! USC in LA, March 31/April 1
IFLA President’s Meeting, Call to Action: Buiding the Change Agenda for the Information Profession, Toronto Sheraton Hotel, April 7-8 with tours and receptions at other locations. Including industry leaders and top libarians from around the world!
Check them out and join us for great conversations, lots of learning and interesting networking!
The first day of our University of Toronto symposium, The Future of Libraries, was filled with talks and discussions about challenges for libraries; what boards, provosts and city managers are saying about libraries; what surveys and research are telling us; what our competitors are doing (and how we might partner with them or learn from them); how we can streamline our operations and gain efficiency; how libraries are dealing with change; and more. Here are the top challenges this group articulated:
* Promotion of library services
* Staff competencies, resistance, culture
* Competitors – alignment vs duplication
* Rationalizing services, sacrifice, stop doing
* Making our case in municipalities
* Balancing Act — electronic vs print, staff in or out of the library, service points/back room
* Future of the profession
I found it every interesting that the top challenges weren’t funding or money. We recognize that we have choices, even if they are difficult, but we can choose where we put our resources.
Brandan Howley gave a thought provoking talk and I’m still thinking about his statement, “Future proofing libraries means managing disruption while proving relevancy.” He discussed how libraries are cultural triggers that activate networks — very powerful! He recommended the book, A Pattern Language, about UX (user experience).
“More libraries & their staff “get it”, understand that serious change is necessary, and ask for our help as partners not just vendors” Edmund Salt, President, Whitehots Inc.
Ken Haycock framed the event by starting us off thinking about challenges and ending with tips and strategies for influencing our stakeholders and partners. Great discussions over the two days of the symposium around challenges and strategies for creating our future. Thanks to all our sponsors, especially Counting Opinions and Whitehots. More then ever in the recent few years, I feel that libraries have a positive future which they are already creating by aligning with their community partners!
Guest post from Brian Pichman, Director, Strategic Innovation, Evolve Project
There is still time to register at Internet Librarian 2015 in lovely Monterey, California; October 25th – 28th. If you haven’t registered yet, be sure you do to check out some of these Internet Librarian exclusive events:
This year join Nate Hill, Tod Colegrove, and Brian Pichman as they launch an entire interactive workshop on Makerspaces, Idea Labs, and Hackerspaces. Joining them are individuals from littleBits, Hopscotch, LightUp, Twenty One Toys, Brown Dog Gadgets, and more. Get a chance to not only talk about makerspaces, build strategies for success, but also get a chance to play with some leading edge technology that is featured in makerspaces around the world. Learn about code writing, engineering, learning by failure all in this full day jam packed workshop. This workshop offers an opportunity to collaborate with other start-ups and help build your library into an incubation space for start-up culture.
Looking for something to do Sunday night? Join in on the first ever Games and Gadget night hosted in part with Monday Morning’s Opening Keynote Panelists. Get an opportunity to talk to Ilana Ben-Ari, founder of the innovative way to learn empathy and failure from her company called Twenty One Toys. Have a chance to meet Erin Mulcahy who manages the strategic initiatives of littleBits education. Talk to her about prototyping and creating using circuits to help foster innovation in your library space. Explore programming with Liza Conrad, head of community and partnerships at Hopscotch; a company that creates a free app that teaches people how to code. This year’s Games and Gadget’s night features a round robin of other fascinating start-ups allowing you to network and explore. Join Brian Pichman and Tod Colegrove for an evening of laughs, insights, and chances to play with some of the hottest maker technology on the market. Morph into your inner geek and explore the new roles and directions for the information service business. From building your first ever game in minutes, to designing complex circuits in seconds, to driving around robots, the Games and Gadgets night is the place to be!
My “must” reading for the past 15 years has been Harvard Business Review. About 6 years ago I added Rotman from University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management to the “must” list. To be honest, there’s nothing else on that list. Just these two journals. The articles are often based on solid research, usually incredibly interesting, and frequently force me to think differently. These journals target business and management leaders. Many of the influential stakeholders for libraries in the public, academic, government and profit sectors are business and management leaders. We need to know how they think. And we certainly need to think differently.
Joe Rotman, a highly successful, respected businessman and philanthropist died recently. Roger Martin, renowned management author and thinker, and the 1st dean of the Rotman School, wrote in the Spring 2015 Rotman issue of how Joe Rotman “rewired” Martin’s brain. Given that the library sector is essentially shifting below our feet, it behooves us to consider the 4 fronts on which Rotman changed Martin’s thinking and use these to change our own thinking:
- Nothing is Not-doable
There’s 2 parts to this truism: first, that if you want to “do” it, then do it. In 1998 when Martin became dean of Rotman, that management school wasn’t even in the rankings or the radar with its competitors. Joe and Roger envisioned it in the top 5 – which most people thought was crazy – ‘not-doable’ for sure. Yet Joe taught Martin that anything is doable so long as you imagine and “do” different approaches and possibilities. It isn’t about working harder – usually we work harder at the same things, just like a hamster on a wheel.
Working harder on the same library models, services and approaches isn’t going to move libraries forward. Doing things differently – like those libraries initiating LibHub to get library holdings surface on search engines – will move libraries forward Finally! How do we expect to know libraries have the books or know-how people want if the Google search doesn’t pull up the item or service? We’re off of Google, which means we’re off the radar.
- The Intelligent Organization of People is Key to Success
The largest percentage of any library budget is people. It isn’t the ‘stuff’ (i.e. books and digital resources), but rather the staff. And yet training is often the first thing on the budget editing floor – and many libraries design their organizations about once every 8 years. Understanding the human dimension of how a library work (or not), and investing in the continuous development of that human dimension is critical.
The Galbraith model, which we’ve used for years to help libraries design their structures is a superb tool that forces libraries to consider the people, rewards, skill requirement and technology implications of any new strategy.
- Very Little That is Really Good Happens Quickly
“Big change just plain takes time, and it does not happen on a clear, linear path.” Focusing on big, transformative goals is more important now than ever. The changes libraries must experience will not occur over the duration of a 3 year strategic plan. Hence – why strategic goals should be at least 5 years or more. Yes, this means the goals will span a few Boars for public lbiraries and perhaps a few university librarians in the academy. But good things come to those who wait.
- Hold People to Their Promises
Why hold a person to their promise? Rotman taught Martin – and it rings very true for me, that when we hold each other to our commitments, it shows the person that they follow through. As a result, it builds their confidence – and makes them a person willing to commit and follow through. It also shows us that we can trust them, and rely on them to deliver.
This adage goes hand-in-hand with #3: that nothing good happens quickly. To purposefully, progressively, and pragmatically change our business models, we must follow through on our commitments to the organizational vision, to each other, and most importantly, to our residents, students, faculty, clients, and council members.
There are many librarians who are working very hard to explore new business models: Rebecca Raven CEO @ Brampton Library, Scott Hargrove CEO @ Fraser Valley Regional Library, Moe Hosseini-Ara Director of Culture at the City of Markham, and me – Director Services @ Brampton Library. Join us at Internet Librarian in Monterey, CA on Sunday October 25th for a full day workshop to discuss and, most importantly, practice implementing 4 different yet complementary models.
Begin the morning by working with Gartner’s Magic Quadrants to identify where your library leads. Then map out how to use the customer service approach of successful retailers with staff equipped with headsets, mobile devices, and internal instant messaging. In the afternoon, explore how the service portfolio management model can help your library identify the services to grow, maintain, or divest, and investigate form and function in organizational structure as well as staff development models that incorporate learning as a part of daily operations.
Register here for Business & Customer Service Models for Libraries. ,
Being agile is critical. Agile can mean applying an incremental and iterative approach, or evolving through collaboration between self-organizing and cross-functional teams to promote early delivery, continuous improvement, and encourage rapid and flexible response to change.
Successful organizations are flexible and fast. They can quickly transfer and share knowledge, deal with an enormous amount of data, innovate, engage, and impact communities, and customers in positive ways. The platforms, processes and programs have to respond in a timely fashion to make this happen and to keep customers satisfied. The culture of the organization, the people, enables the transformations and innovations – and well-oiled collaborative organizations excel at leading the charge! KMWorld 2015 explores how to apply these techniques and more for knowledge sharing and innovation in your enterprise to be successful in today’s world. And it has three closely integrated programs—Enterprise Search & Discovery, SharePoint Symposium, and Taxonomy Boot Camp.
Keynote speakers are always engaging and thought provoking and this year is no different. On Monday November 2 Taxonomy Boot Camp opens with information architect Peter Morville, President of Semantic Studios who has several books to his credit (http://semanticstudios.com). On Tuesday, KMWorld 2015 opens with popular , knowledge management (KM) thought leader, Dave Snowden, Chief Scientific Officer of Cognitive Edge who discusses “complexity informed agility” in KM with Will Evans, Design Thinker-in-Residence, NYU’s Stern’s Berkley Center for Innovation & Entrrepreneurship and Chief Design Officer, Praxis Flow and his colleague, Jabe Bloom, Chief Scientific Officer, Praxis Flow. On Wednesday, Steve Abrams, Director of Watson Life for IBM talks about sparking innovation with human and machine learning and knowledge sharing with great examples like Chef Watson. Thursday we have two keynotes. In the morning Carla O’Dell CEO of APQC and author of The New Edge in Knowledge shares research and tips for accelerated learning. In the afternoon, Gary Klein, Senior Scientist, MacroCognition and author, Seeing What Others Don’t discusses insights, ideas and innovation. KMWorld also features keynote talks from Dave Clarke, CEO, Synaptica; Kamran Khan, CEO, Search Technologies; Heather Richards, CEO, Transversal and Tony Byrne, President, Real Story Group.
Networking is everywhere at KMWorld 2015. In addition to time during breakfast, coffee and lunch breaks; Showcase receptions; and Communities of Interest, this year we are featuring a two hour Knowledge Café on Thursday morning. The audience will have a chance to have a conversation and discussion, to share challenges and experiences, with their colleagues and a speaker or industry leader on three different topics .
In-depth workshops on a variety of topics are featured on Monday November 2nd: KM 101, Creating a KM Strategy, Applying Agile in Developing KM Strategies & Implementing Frameworks, Creating Search Solutions with SharePoint 2016, Visualization & Analytics, Team Problem Solving, Exploring the World’s Best Intranets, Cognitive Computing, Delivering Successful Social Projects, Communities of Practice, and more.
Learning opportunities from experienced practitioners, KM thought leaders, and innovators is huge at KMWorld with more than 80 sessions on a range of topics around KM Strategies & Practices, Innovation, Taxonomy Fundamentals, Digital Workspace, Knowledge Sharing, Optimizing Search, SharePoint in the New Digital Workplace, Social KM, Building Smarter Organizations, Building & Enabling KM Culture, Moving Enterprise Search to the Cloud and more!
Speakers come from such illustrious organizations as: Merck, Irish Defence Forces, Step Two Designs, IBM, Port of Antwerp Authority, Cisco, Microsoft, Unisys, Accenture, Deloitte, World Bank Group, Lafarge, Blue Cross, U.S. Department of Transportation, eBay, APQC, Forrester Research, PwC, Statistics Canada, Thomson Reuters, National Geographic, Raytion GmbH, Verizon Wireless, Comcast Cable, Hewlett-Packard, and lots more.
KMWorld Bookstore to browse and purchase current books, and have speaker sign your copy of their book!
Enterprise Solutions Showcase provides one-stop shopping for buyers to meet with vendors offering a range of solutions for enterprises including: Search Technologies, Synaptica, Hewlett-Packard, Transversal, Brainspace, Content Analysis Company, Enterprise Knowledge, Customer 1 Focus, Kaleo, Expert Systems, Parascript, PoolParty, Raytion, Smartlogic, TallyFox, Sinequa, Temis, USAid Learning Labs.
Continuous Updates & Resources are featured on our Facebook page, LinkedIn Group and #KMWorld Twitter feed, so make sure your connected all year long!