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!
I can’t believe it is now September which begins the busy fall events for libraries. Here’s some exciting events, one on the east coast and lots of the west coast, that I want to share with you and hope to see you participate!
Monday & Tuesday Sept 28/9 at Vancouver Club Outcomes, Value & Impact: Metrics for Libraries
Thursday & Friday Oct 1/2 at University of Southern California in LA Outcomes, Value & Impact for Library Success
Monday & Tuesday Oct 19/20 at University of Toronto iSchool The Future of Libraries: Ours to Create, NOW!
Mon-Wed, Oct 26-8 at Monterey CA Conference Center Internet Librarian 2015 & Library Leaders Digital Strategy Summit
Such stimulating conversations today around customer service at the University of Toronto iSchool Symposium, Customer Service for Libraries: Upping our Game! Moe Hosseini-Ara, Director of Culture for the City of Markham, started off setting the framework for the event. He talked a lot about our competition in libraries from other video, book, and community services, and also how positive customer service makes a big impact.
Vilayat Ahmed, Store Manager at Starbucks Coffee Canada’s flagship store in the financial district in Toronto talked about the company’s mission: to inspire and nurture the human spirit one person, one cup and one neighbourhood at a time. He said they are in the people business and serve coffee, they provide a service and experience. He talked about the 44 year history of the organization and how they create an environment to encourage conversation. Yes, enjoy the coffee but have a sense of community and conversation too! Vilayat talked about customer service as an attitude where workers need to anticipate (drop what they are doing & put the customer first), make it easy for the customer (they are guests!), connect with customers (eye contact, pleasant conversation), personalize the service (name on the cup in Starbucks) and own your experience, take ownership i f you make a mistake and acknowledge with immediate action (oh, I made that wrong, let me get you another one & take this one too). Basically, Starbucks wants to keep loyal customers, keep them coming back. They want to be a third space for customers too!
Andrea Cecchetto, Manager, Learning & Growth, Markham Public Library gave tips for creating a service culture:
evaluate behaviours [observe service in action]
focus on internal service too
talk (and listen) about service all the time with everyone
involve staff in evaluating service
TALK/”talk” to your customers (facilitated conversations – shut up and listen!)
recognize all the customer service leaders
question evertythingL what would our customer think?
develop T-people ( with broad interests but find the deep skills/niche)
hire for service competencies, train for service results
Andrea also talked about the design process (explore, create, reflect, prototype, implement, iterate) as well as design tools which help design positive customer experiences and services including customer journey maps, service safaris, cultural probes, shadowing, and more!
Joe Matthews, Library Consultant & Author of Listening to the Customer shared many ways to get feedback from customers, from solicited and unsolicited to structured and non-structured. From mystery shoppers to customer surveys, to Google & Twitter alerts to many more!
As a marketing strategist, Eunice works with clients to determine their marketing messages and positioning. At SLA’s 2015 Annual Conference Eunice described how metaphors provide insights into what people think and feel about specific topics, images, situations, services and products. The essence of a metaphor is to understand one thing in terms of another thing. Now you can hear her this week – July 17th – at Customer Service for Libraries at the iSchool (July 16th & 17th).
What took Eunice on this path? 23 years ago when she was working in a publishing firm where she was responsible for moving products from print to online, Eunice commissioned market research and was frustrated that they never seemed to get to the real thinking behind people’s purchasing decisions. She decided to go into market research herself, and to pursue more innovative techniques.
Innerviews uses Zaltman’s Metaphor Elicitation Technique, an intensive interview process that uses photos to surface people’s thinking, emotions and attachment to brands and products. At SLA, Eunice explained that the interviews are conducted either in person, on the phone or online. Interviewees are asked to bring with them – or to select – pictures that represent the metaphor for the specific product or service for them. None of the photos have full faces, nor are they pre-assigned. The interviewer carefully prompts the conversation, catching and staying with the language of the respondent, and, with the respondent, discover what the person’s frame of thinking is regarding the brand or service. It’s not surprising for a respondent to say “I didn’t realize that I think that…..” .
Although the interviews are challenging, it’s the analysis and interpretation of the interview results that is the real heavy lifting. Innerviews uses a variety of taxonomies to code the interview transcripts. The final outcome of Eunice’s work is to strategically translate the results into insights regarding the customer experience, and how the client should convey the brand story. Understanding people’s “frames” or their thinking dramatically increases the ability of people to communicate with each other, the ability of organizations to communicate with their customers, and to effectively position their brands or services within their markets.
Eunice gave an overview of some completed projects:
A pharmaceutical company: needed to understand the different segments of general practitioners so they could tailor their sales & marketing strategies to the different segment; using the metaphorical they discovered 4 different segments including action heros – doctors who see themselves on the leading edge, saving their patients…to those who see themselves as engineers whose patients are problems to solve and who think about it in a linear way. The messaging for these different markets is obviously very different.
A paper products company, in a very crowded marketplace; the company felt women were a huge market, and needed to understand women’s lives. Innerviews’ interviews asked women to “to describe your life as a woman, pick an object (rather than a photo). Some women selected “a purse – I stuff everyone’s worries into it & carry them around with me.” Other women selected “a gerber daisy – representsmy vulnerability & strengths”. These objects became the launching point for understanding their lives and launching marketing campaigns appealing to these triggers for women.
I’m fascinated by this technique, and I’ve know Eunice forever – and been honoured to work with her. She’s intelligent, driven and one of the most insightful research professional I’ve ever met. I can’t wait to hear her speak again this week – and to work with her to understand the emotional triggers people have regarding libraries!
Providing excellent customer service and delighting the customer is the top of mind for me lately. At Computers in Libraries 2015 keynote speakers emphasized delighting the customer. You can read more about their presentations & see the videos:
Steve Denning, Author, The Leader’s Guide to Radical Management
Blog Post: http://www.libconf.com/2015/04/27/continuous-innovation-and-transformation-the-opening-keynote/
Video (you can skip the promo at the beginning!): http://www.libconf.com/2015/04/27/continuous-innovation-and-transformation-the-opening-keynote/
John Palfrey, Head of School, Phillips Academy, Board President of the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) & Author, BiblioTECH: Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of Google
Blog Post: http://www.libconf.com/2015/04/28/creating-a-new-nostalgia-the-tuesday-keynote/
But why is customer service or delighting the customer so important? Customer service fosters a good relationship between customers and the organization and leads to keeping or engaging those customers. Without customers there is no business or support in the case of non-profits like libraries. Reducing a customer’s stress, giving them a pleasant customer experience, and providing information that can solve their problem is all important to keep positive customer satisfaction (the overall contentment with a customer interaction). Excellent customer service involves providing outstanding service that meets (or exceeds) the customer’s expectations — it delights the customer. Excellent customer service also includes having a great attitude and being people centered or customers focused. So in addition to knowing your customer really well, and understanding their true expectations (making no assumptions), what do you need for good customer service?
- Develop the skills to be successful
- Assess the current level of customer service (customer satisfaction surveys, secret shoppers for example)
- Empower empl0yees to make decisions to benefit customers
- Use technology & current information systems to provide excellent customer service
- Continuous examination of individual & organization performance — self-awareness!
Libraries have a leg up with customer service as they are known as credible institutions, but one bad customer experience can change that perception and encourage that customer to tell others. How often have you told your network about bad customer experiences you have had? How often have you told a positive customer experience story?
I’m very excited that the University of Toronto iSchool is hosting a symposium on Customer Service For Libraries: Upping Our Game! on Thursday & Friday July 16 & 17. It will be covering the importance of customer service, how to listen to and understand the customer and their expectations, how to start customer service initiatives, the new technology that helps improve customer service, as well experiences of libraries with successful customer service programs and their impact.