Seeing Opportunities!

Rebecca and I have had many conversations over the years about identifying gaps and seeing opportunities, in fact we did a segment on this topic in our Seeing the Big Picture and Critical Thinking workshops.  It is a skill I have and didn’t realize for many years that not everyone has this skill.  In a recent article,  Amy Wilkinson referred to identifying gaps and seeing opportunities as entrepreneurial alertness.  I am thrilled to find her recent book The Creators Code: The Six Essential Skills for Extraordinary Entrepreneurs.   Here’s a bit more info about the book.  Not sure how I missed it when it was first published!

“For her landmark book, Wilkinson conducted rigorous interviews with 200 of today’s leading entrepreneurs including the founders of LinkedIn, Chipotle, eBay, Under Armour, Tesla Motors, SpaceX, Spanx, Airbnb, PayPal, JetBlue, Gilt Groupe, Theranos, and Dropbox. Setting her work apart, she then drilled down through the latest academic research and analyzed data from across diverse fields, applying scientific methodology to crack the code on what it takes to go from startup to scale in our rapidly changing economy.

Evaluating companies as diverse as Yelp, Chobani, and Zipcar, Wilkinson found that their creators all share — and have honed — fundamental skills that can be learned, practiced, and passed on. Entrepreneurial success is born of daring, discipline, and the six skills she identifies, proven effective in a variety of endeavors and industries:

  • Find the gap: Spot opportunities that others don’t see
  • Drive for daylight: Manage speed by focusing on the horizon
  • Fly the OODA loop: Master fast-cycle iteration to observe, orient, decide, and act
  • Fail wisely: Set a failure ratio and hone resilience
  • Network minds: Harness cognitive diversity to build on each other’s ideas
  • Gift small goods: Unleash generosity to increase productivity”

Computers in Libraries 2018 -- Program Sneak Peak!

As program director for more than 20 years for the Computers in Libraries conference, I am thrilled to introduce our keynote speakers and some of the themes to be discussed!


Lots of wonderful speakers will be participating, some returning, popular experts, some new & exciting. Key themes:

There are also lots of in-depth workshops on these topics for those who want more.  Conversations and networking are most important at Computers in Libraries 2018 so our producer, Information Today, and our sponsors host morning breakfasts, coffee breaks, and receptions; make sure you meet lots of new folks there!

Got some 2017 funds left over?  Use it to register early and join us for a learning experience which will inspire lots of ideas and insights to take back to your community!  Look forward to seeing you in DC in April.  In the meantime, enjoy the holiday season and all the best for a terrific 2018!

What does KM mean to you?

I’m a librarian by training and I’ve been in the “KM” business since 2000.  Since that time I’ve been building a worldwide network of KM professionals, colleagues in all types of industries, communities and organizations.  I have had many conversations using many different channels to find out what people are doing in their KM work so that I can profile them and have them as speakers for the KMWorld conference which I have programmed and chaired annually in the US since 2000.

I look at KM in the broadest possible way, basically to mean knowledge sharing, an activity that librarians, archivists, curators of museums and galleries, and lots of others have been doing for many many years.  Towards the end of the last century ‘knowledge management’ was being used to refer to a number of processes and activities within organizations.  The words “knowledge management” have gone in and out of fashion over the last 20+ years but I still believe that knowledge sharing needs to be a core activity of all organizations and communities.  Think of volunteer organizations like associations where people are being elected and appointed regularly; how do they pass along the knowledge they gain while doing the activities and responsibilities assigned to them?  Or in corporations or libraries where people are retiring and newbies are being hired out of university and on-boarded.  How do they learn and get up to speed so they can excel in their job and the organization as a whole can thrive?

Building learning organizations with a core value of knowledge sharing means creating collaborative, not hierarchical, organizations.  It revolves around a number of activities and processes, with communities of practices and social media solutions, as just a few tools of today.

I’d like to turn to one of my colleagues to explain further.  Stan Garfield, a long time KM practitioner, and frequent speaker for me at KMWorld, has an extensive piece on the definition of KM  but what I asked him to do a number of years ago was give me a list of those activities, processes, etc that could make up KM in an organization even if they weren’t called KM.  Here’s how Stan put that list together.  And if you want to see all Stan’s extensive resources on KM, here’s where he keeps it.

What does KM mean to you?  Please share with us!

KMWorld 2017 -- Free Resources

KMWorld 2017 was held last month in Washington to a large & engaged audience!  The buzz around our theme:  People Power, Thinking & Tech, and multiple events was phenomenal, in my opinion (and others too I think!).  Here’s the sneak peek of the conference that I wrote prior to the event to highlight some of the program.

The KMWorld is the largest and longest running KM event in the world; the 2017 annual conference has wrapped up in Washington DC.  If you were not able to attend the event, or just want to refresh what you heard, the keynotes are available in video including John Seely Brown, Tom Stewart, Stan Garfield & Jeanne Holm,  Many of the Powerpoint presentations from other KMW speakers are available too.  KMWorld is made up of complimentary events too:

Taxonomy Boot Camp (videos; presentations)

Enterprise Search & Discovery (presentations)

SharePoint Symposium (videos ; presentations)

Text Analytics Forum (presentations)

KMWorld also publishes a magazine (Past issues online) and the website has lots of additional resources that KM’ers members might enjoy!


Looking Forward to 2018

Wishing everyone the best in this holiday season as well as a happy and healthy 2018!!

I am into planning for 2018, yes that’s what I do, plan.  I plan conferences:

* Computers in Libraries, April 17-19 (Registration open, full program online next week)

*Library Leaders Summit, April 17-18 (Registration open, full program online next week)

*University of Toronto iSchool Symposium, May 3-4 (working on topics & programs for these!)

*University of Toronto iSchool Symposium, July 19-20

*University of Toronto iSchool Symposium, Oct 1-2

*Internet Librarian, October (working on theme & call for speakers live online in January)

*KMworld, November 4-7 (working on theme & call for speakers live online in January)

* AND there may be a new event in the line-up, so stay tuned!

* AND there may be some direction planning with other organizations to help them focus on and create  their futures!

In the meantime, enjoy the holiday season!


Turning Over a New Leaf!

Tribute to Josef Frank

Can you see me sitting under this tree turning over a new leaf?  Well I’m there somewhere!!  2017 has not been a good year for me updating the Dysart & Jones website even though I had promised certain people that I would!

Get ready for many new pieces in the coming weeks and months!

Logic model: logically……

I’m about to talk about the logic model @ #SLA2017 in Phoenix. Below are the slides, although there are many excellent books, articles, blog posts, webinars and courses that provide superb advice and tools. This is just my perspective having worked with the model since 2000.

Logically (yes, pun intended), those of us designing, developing and delivering information services want those services to positively impact the customers using them (be they students, users, lawyers, you name it). And, for us to have the funding or revenue and resources to deliver those services we must demonstrate the relevance of those customer outcomes for the funders and decision-makers.

And therein lies the issue. The design and development of any information service/program must begin with an understanding of the decision-makers’ goals……and then the customers needs.

Project Management Sanity Savers

I’m talking very candidly about Critical Skills for Project Management today at #SLA2017 in Phoenix.  My focus is on what I’ve learned, over 30 years, to be sanity savers for project managers. There are many books, courses, blog posts and presentations on effective project management; these are excellent, and I highly recommend that anyone entering the world of projects seek them out and learn Let’s face it, to keep their sanity project managers need a few tools, specifically a project charter (sometimes called a charge or outline), a RASCI or RACI matrix, and some way to track the project plan, timeline and costs.

Below are the slides, a template you are welcome to consider and edit for a Project Charter, and the ever wonderful RASCI (you can shorten it to a RACI if you want — but do use it.)

Project Management Template This links to the document (honest)

RASCI Responsibility Matrix And this links to the RASCI template; below is a jpeg so that you can see if you are interested.

Leadership Summit: New operating models #4

Library Leaders Summit launches Tuesday morning @ Computers in Libraries 2017. This final post poses some of the ‘prickly topics’ leaders must surface – must handle no matter how prickly or awful those topics are to pick up and manage. What’s a prickly topic? It’s a topic that we must address, vulnerably and honestly — like our operating models. Ewwww……. I can imagine people thinking, “our operating model? the way in which we operate? in which libraries organize and run their locations? services? processes? but we are already lean! we operate on a shoe-string!”

All the more reason for libraries to look through the lens of other organizations to examine the readiness of library operating models to be future-proofed or, really, future-successful. Here’s the last article to consider as you prepare for the Summit reflections, debates and discussion: from McKinsey & Company: How to start building your next-generation operating model.  Makes sense, doesn’t it? Since we all agree that the future will be different – how can we not change our operating models to fit future conditions?

McKinsey advises that the successful transformations of  operating models rely on these building blocks:

Building Block #1: Autonomous and cross-functional teams anchored in customer journeys, products, and services

Building Block #2: Flexible and modular architecture, infrastructure, and software delivery

Building Block #3: A management system that cascades clear strategies and goals through the organization, with tight feedback loops

Building Block #4: Agile, customer-centric culture demonstrated at all levels and role modeled from the top

How are these building blocks taking shape in your library? your organization?

To scaffold these blocks leaders must take “no regret” steps:

  • Create clarity on enterprise strategy and on where digital services can quickly enable sustainable value creation. (For more on this, see “The next-generation operating model for the digital world.”)
  • Challenge the Board – or, in academic, corporate or government environments the decision-makers – to be explicit about the importance of the transformation and its support for investment; or, as a board, making this decision and challenging the executive team for a bold vision.
  • Build top-team excitement and belief in change through visits to leading digital natives or incumbents pursuing their own transformation paths.
  • Assess the maturity of the management system using benchmarking against other organizations to identify strengths to build on and risks to mitigate.
  • Invest in targeted capability building, especially for the top 50 leaders in the organization. Exploring core concepts such as digitization, agile, design thinking, and advanced analytics can create a shared vocabulary and spur action.
  • Make an honest objective assessment of talent and capabilities within the organization, benchmarked against peers and cross-sector leaders. Disruption often comes from outside an industry rather than within.
  • Survey the cross-sector landscape for ideas and inspiration. It’s easier than ever to learn from others, and a rapid inventory of ideas can shed light on potential execution challenges to resolve.
  • Assess the level of change that the organization can realistically absorb in the near and long term given its other priorities.

It is the 2nd step listed here regarding the Board or decision-makers that is, perhaps, the most important for libraries. Gaining the space – the time – the investment – the dip in usual metrics or statistics – while the changes are instituted is critical.

So….how ARE your blocks being shaped? And which of these no-regret steps have you taken – are willing to take?

See you on Tuesday @ the Summit.

Ruthless Prioritization

That’s the name of the best blog post I’ve read (and, most importantly intend to use): Ruthless Prioritization.  For years I set priorities with various projects, and advised clients to ‘rigourously’ set priorities. Manage priorities.  And I will now readily admit that managing priorities in a busy, small consulting firm was relatively straightforward; priorities were set by the size and significance of the client. But now, in library operations, I struggle with priorities day in and day out. Struggle? Ha! I don’t just struggle — I flounder – I fail. Miserably.

So as soon as I saw a post on “ruthless prioritization” I clicked on it!  Admittedly, I expected to read a mamby-pamby post on the “importance of focusing on what’s important”, but hallelujah! This post gives a workable framework. Yes, the framework is designed and used by tech firms. But isn’t that perfect for libraries to adopt? Think about it — our products and services need to have the same urgency and life-span as those of tech firms, don’t they? Aren’t we competing with tech firms in many ways — to seize and retain people’s attention?  Consider this statement:

Show me a team that has no bugs at launch,

and I’ll show you one that should have shipped a long time ago.

Doesn’t that apply to library services and products? Don’t we keep refining, refining, refining to ensure there are no issues, no implications, no problems? Yet the only way to identify issues, implications and problems is to get the service/product OUT there for people to experience.

There’s no point in me synthesizing Brandon Chu’s post; read it and adopt the framework.