Apps, Engagement & Putting Digital First


Star Touch Tablet App

Just watched this great video of John Cruikshank, Publisher, Toronto Star which screamed libraries to me — looking at new ways to reach people, in particular young people. Here’s a few snippets, but do watch it!

future of news — engage a broad audience print newspaper still there and making a profit $25 million start with ipad newsroom focused on storytelling re-engage people in a digital world at a deeper level, immersive level video capacity huge, far more graphical — different way of approaching the news agena bringing it to another generation in a different way can tell marketers how long people spend on their add & if they interact with it

Customers First!


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

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Continuous Innovation & the Future


Steve Denning

Steve Denning gave a great opening keynote today at Computers in Libraries 2015 in DC on Continuous Innovation & Transformation. As he says, with the Internet came a shift from seller to buyer and with that shift came new ways of thinking and doing — a new dynamic. A new dynamic requiring a change in mindset enabled by computers — one where management is all about enablement not control, about continuous improvement. It is also a new dynamic for all in the organization, where everyone in the organization has a clear sight of the customer. Where it’s all about delighting the customer — an outcome not an output. Iterative customer-focused improvements — continuous innovation and transformation.

It’s not easy to make this shift though so there has to be lots of horizontal conversation and storytelling to get to the new mindset. It is very easy to revert back to traditional styles of management which are hierarchical bureaucracies. Bureaucracies are like morphing viruses that keep finding ways to come back!

So what is the future of libraries? It isn’t about computerizing existing services or applying 21st century technology to save money, and it certainly is not about building apps! It is about meeting customer needs, delighting them and enhancing value. Also about asking the right questions: How can we delight our users & customers? How can we manage our libraries and organizations for continuous innovation? What will makes things better, faster, cheaper, more convenient for our users and

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Seizing Opportunities


Wow! This article from Strategy + Business, How to Seize the Opportunities When Megatrends Collide, has articulated what I like to do! “… tap into people’s natural curiosity about external factors, to broaden and deepen the resulting conversation; and to translate the general understanding of megatrends into a more practical framework that companies could use to seek opportunities and reduce risks.” For years Rebecca and I have talked and taught about the big picture and thinking strategically. Here’s an earlier post on the topic too!

More from the S+B article:

“The megatrends framework can help any private- or public-sector leader think more clearly about complex external trends, and help develop an ordered, prudent, and proactive strategy for facing them. Its basic building blocks are five historical patterns active in the world today that have left their mark on all aspects of the world’s economic and social fabric.

1. Demographic and social change: the combination of greater life expectancy, declining birthrates in many parts of the world, and unprecedented rates of human migration, accompanied by a gradual increase in the status of women and greater ethnic and social diversity within most countries.

2. Shifts in global economic power: in particular, the much-noted expansion of prosperity in emerging economies at faster rates than in the industrialized world, leading to momentous changes in consumption patterns and a rebalancing of international relations.

3. Rapid urbanization: the massive expansion of cities around the world, through a combination of migration and childbirth, with major implications for

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UofRochester's RCL's Re-envisions Services


Thanks to Solomon Blaylock & Kathy Metz of University of Rochester’s River Campus Libraries for sharing RCL’s work in re-envisioning & re-engineering their service model and Patron Services. Here’s their presentation given at OLA 2015 SuperconferenceU of Rochester Service Model OLA2015 presentation, including their speaking notes with many details.For more information, including the Patron Services Service Model report, Kathy Metz (kmetz at or Solomon Blaylock (sblaylock at What a phenomenal job RCL has done in understanding student behaviours and designing their services to match these behaviours.

U of Rochester Service Model OLA2015 presentation:


Value = Where Data Meets Story!


The 18th Internet Librarian kicked off this morning with inspiring and insightful keynote speaker Brendan Howley who gave the audience a lot to think about as they drive their own destinies. A well traveled, trained investigative journalist and digital content strategist, Howley had lots of great tips for libraries about storytelling to share their value in their communities. Here are some quick quotes: “Where data meets story is where value is.” “Libraries are in the business of growing communities around them.” “Design stories with the end in mind; people will trust you and continue to share the story.” “Share the why of the how of what you do.” “Community members want to co-create value.” “Values, what you stand for, are important and are the why of how you win the attention of your community.” “Libraries are in the cultural context business; they are i the business of giving away context.” “Libraries are pegged to the cultural vibrancy of communities.” “Libraries are the cultural triggers that activate networks; networks share values and bridge people, build relationships.”

Brendan recommended the book, A Pattern Language, for libraries planning physical changes but also for UX and web interface folks. He talked about iBeacons which he thinks libraries will take advantage of a lot in the near future to help build open media ecosystems! Trusted open media ecosystems made up of local community news rooms. Exciting to think about!

Continuous Innovation & Transformation


Steve Denning

Steve Denning is a wonderful, prolific writer and speaker. I was just reading his recent piece, Capitalism’s Future is Already Here, a Harvard Business Review blog post. A good read. Below is the part I think we really need to pay attention to:

“The other economy—the Creative Economy—is an economy of continuous innovation and transformation. This is the economy of firms and entrepreneurs that are delivering to customers what they are coming to expect, namely, “better, faster, cheaper, smaller, lighter, more convenient, and more personalized.” The Creative Economy is still relatively small but it is growing rapidly and, when implemented well, is highly profitable. It is the economy of the future. It doesn’t have to be invented: it’s already under way. Its practices represent a paradigm shift in the strict sense laid down by Thomas Kuhn: it’s a different way of thinking, speaking, and acting in the world.

The shift from the Traditional Economy to the Creative Economy isn’t just a technical wrangle about economics or management theory. It’s a shift in what society demands of the managers of its most powerful institutions: from narrow definitions of their owners and decisions that serve their short-term interests, to broad acceptance of the responsibility that comes with power and leadership concerned with what is best for society. In the shift, we are learning that an argument about the proper activities of managers can be logical, can be strongly argued, can influence decades of

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Inspiration & Creative Making


Creative Making brainstorming at U of T iSchool Oct 2014

Another wonderfully inspiring Creative Making symposium at the University of Toronto iSchool, including a tour of their Critical Making Lab! Last year our Creative Making event featured many practitioners from the US since it was a relatively new focus for Canadian libraries. Here were some comments from last year’s program. My epiphany that day was around the links between knowledge management and public libraries, something that had not occurred to me before. Sue Considene from Fayetteville PL talked about their FabLab and her concept of the library as a platform for all types of learning (an opinion I have long held too!). Their FabLab uses community experts to come in as a “maker or artist in residence”. This made me think of expertise location which is critical in any knowledge management program and that led me to think that public libraries really need to mine their communities for experts that might be willing to share/teach/help others create in our libraries! And also for partners to support the program in many different ways!

This year’s program featured a number of exciting makerspaces and programs in Canadian libraries. There were great presentations (thanks to all the fabulous speakers!) and discussions. Here are some of the insights from the attendees today:

* things to do when we get back: use fresh eyes to look at our existing space (one attendee had already identified a space to be repurposed!); start small with things

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Innovation Labs & Centers



Today’s Google Doodle reminded me that we’re now into the intensive fall conference and event season! A busy time as well all want to grab the latest thoughts, ideas and practices. Innovate, change or die seems to be the current philosophy. In Toronto, D&J in conjunction with the University of Toronto iSchool are hosting a Creative Making Sympsoium which is discuss makerspaces, idea and innovation labs as well as fablabs. In Monterey CA, we will be participating at Internet Librarian and the Digital Strategy Summit. At Internet Librarian, there is a whole day of sessions around the topics of innovation, makerspace & digital trends on Wed Oct 29th that Matt Hamilton will be moderating. And if you are travelling through San Francisco airport on the way to Internet Librarian, you need to check out their new innovation and collaboration space, #converge@flySFO which opened this past weekend!

“Adding a space for innovation and collaboration at an airport — especially an airport in a city where the mayor is focused on it being a hub for innovation — just made sense, said Doug Yakel, public information officer for SFO, noting that airport officials hope this space resonates with tech-savvy travelers and innovators who pass through.

The 850-square-foot space is free and equipped with tables, lounge-style chairs, power outlets, free Wi-Fi and a giant erasable white board with markers. #Converge@flySFO is located in the International Terminal — a location that allows travelers to get together without having to go through the

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No Strategy is Perfect!


Rebecca and I deal a lot with strategy in our business and this article, Where are the Sinkholes in Your Strategy, from one of my favorites, Strategy + Business, really resonated with me. Here are some quotes, but do check out the entire article.

“My firm was once asked by a CEO to assess the strategy of his company, one of the world’s largest. He wanted to know if there were any holes that he and his board should address. I’ve always thought this showed great leadership and confidence. (Strategy is a lot like IQ for many people: to challenge their strategy is to question their intelligence.) It also revealed his keen awareness that no strategy is perfect.

We started by asking two questions:

1. What distinctive capabilities make the company better than any other at how it adds value to its individual businesses, and how those businesses meet their promises to customers?

2. Are changes happening in the company’s world that could render its distinctive capabilities obsolete or insufficient?”

Rebecca and I have written a lot about value and you can see most of our posts here. But the one thing we encourage our clients to think about is their impact on their clients’ clients — not those you see day to day, but the the clients of those people. It’s a great exercise as is scenario planning like question 2 above suggests. It means you have to be aware of your environment and spend some time looking at

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