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Learning from Others!

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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

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Libraries: Rewiring our Thinking

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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

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Ontario's Perceptions of Public Libraries

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Carol French, CEO Market Probe Canada, presented the latest study for the Federation of Ontario Public Libraries at the Defining New Metrics for Libraries Success symposium at the iSchool (University of Toronto) this week. These statistics are hot off the press. Carol’s presentation is at the bottom of the post. I encourage you to read it, and to prepare to be engaged with FOPL’s discernment of these statistics. I’m sure there will be position papers coming from FOPL on this very soon.

Here’s the key points I heard:

600 telephone interviews were conducted over a month in 2015 (this is about 1/2 of the # conducted in previous telephone surveys because, given the challenges of conducting telephone surveys today, this survey was augmented with an online survey) 1102 online surveys were conducted during 5 days in March using Delvinia’s Asking Canadians online panel.

There were some significant differences between phone & web respondents:

households with children responded to many more phone interviews than web survey (that’s interesting to me…..I have to think about that one…..) those graduated from college or university more likely to respond to web survey than phone those living in Metro TO and GTA more likely to respond to web survey than phone interview (makes sense; the web is still not evenly distributed)

Other points of interest to me (you may have very different points of interest – I’m sure we are going to be discussing the results of this survey for months to come, as we

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Defining New Metrics for Library Success: Slides & Worksheets

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Moe Hosseini-Ara and I are talking with the group at the Defining New Metrics for Library Success symposium at the iSchool on May 11th. Here are the slides, and the worksheets we’ll be using.

I’ll start out by talking about the frames through which many in the library community view measures – and how these are blocking our view of success: Framing & Defining Metrics for Libraries. We’ll have a look at what the Center for Investigative Reporting is doing regarding impact measures for non-profit media – and what we can learn from other sectors.

Moe and I will then lead the group through an exercise to: Determine & Demonstrate Value with the Logic Model. And here’s the worksheets: Exercise Worksheet – letter size

OLA Posters: Evaluating & Measuring

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Performance measures – outcomes – impacts – you name it, there is an urgent need for valid ways of identifying if and how library initiatives make a difference in a community, campus or company. 3 posters at the OLA Super Conference addressed evaluation & performance measures:

1. The Health Science Information Consortium of Toronto (HSICT) has created an online toolkit, “Measuring the Value of Health Library Services”:

2. askON compared its virtual reference services evaluative measures with those of other online virtual services – OCUL’s AskALibrarian and BC’s AskAway, presenting both a poster (below) and a presentation (even further below).

 

Plus, a brief audio overview:

Here’s the link to the presentation:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. University of Guelph-Humber developed a blended framework to evaluate the effectiveness of their information literacy program.

Three Part Harmony: University of Guelph-Humber Maps Scalable Information Literacy Outcomes

 

 

Business Models Work for Libraries Too!

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Scott Hargrove, CEO of Fraser Valley Library System, Moe Hosseini-Ara, Director of Culture for the City of Markham and I will talk about 4 models and tools used by corporations and non-profits that libraries need to be using as well:

Sites & sources to track trends Gartner Group Model Service Portfolio Review, originally from the Boston Group, Logic Model

Have a look:

Business Models work for Libraries Too! from Rebecca Jones

No Strategy is Perfect!

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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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More Metrics!

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I was very lucky to be able to spend time with the Library and Research Services for Parliaments section of IFLA in Paris last week, and to share the work of my business partner Rebecca Jones and colleague Moe Hosseini-Ara who have done lots on the topic of performance measures. The slides I used are below. I talked a lot about going beyond stats (which we know how to collect so well, but do we compare them and look for peaks, changes, etc.?). I talked about different types of measures: operational/usage, satisfaction and value. I talked about taking the big picture view — about really considering what are customers’ customers really want/need — not those customers we interface with (bankers, students, faculty, consultants, leisure readers, doctors, lawyers, parliamentarians) but their customers (patients, citizens, etc). The stakeholders. It is from their perspective that we can make a difference or have an impact. Moe’s quote is the best, “If our presence cannot add value to their lives, our absence will make no difference”. I think that says it all! Check out my slides for the logic model which is a great tool to help our thinking about metrics and aiming for outcomes and impacts from our users’ and stakeholders’ perspectives.

Today I attended the Statistics and Evaluation with E-metrics special interest groups’s IFLA program — Telling the Library Story: creating metrics for management, advocacy and community building. It started with Sharon Markless and David Streatfield discussing Recent Developments in Library Evaluation, Statistics

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Tools for Measuring, Influencing & Planning

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If you are in Victoria, BC on Wednesday May 28th, Moe Hosseini-Ara and I will be working with a group to use practical tools for measuring, influencing key stakeholders and for long-term or strategic planning. This is a pre-conference workshop for the CLA and BCLA conference – and registration includes breaks and lunch! It is always such a fulfilling experience to work with Moe. He is on secondment from his job as Director, Service Excellence, Markham Public Library and is currently Director of Culture, Culture Services, City of Markham. He brings a stakeholder perspective to the templates and approaches for determining and conveying appropriate strategies and measures. I bring the academic, corporate and government perspective to these approaches and tools. And Moe and I are doubly proud that Ulla de Stricker, who can’t join us because of prior commitments, has sent along her work for us to use with the group. No one influences like Ulla!

To register, contact Wendy Walton at CLA: wwalton@cla.ca

Below is one of the templates participants will be working with. Come join us!

Strategy, Influence & Measures: Practical Tools

Information professionals and all those in management roles in libraries use a range of technical tools in their daily activities with our customers. What tools, though, do we use with our stakeholders or decision-makers to move forward progressively – and successfully? This workshop covers the components of four practical, critical tools and invites participants from government, corporate, academic, public and non-profit sectors to discuss: 1.

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Measures bloody measures

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Dr. Bill Irwin I owe you. You talked about performance measures and the logic model work by the Kellogg Foundation in February at OLA’s Superconference, and I didn’t follow up on it. Thankfully you were one of the highly informative speakers at Designing New Metrics for Libraries this past week and you again talked about Kellogg. This time I looked into it. BAZINGA!

Moe Hosseini-Ara @ City of Markham and I have been working on measures and, more specifically the logic model, for libraries for the last number of years. In fact, we are teaching a course on planning & measures at CLA on May 28th, and as a “working” course those attending will actually “work” on measures for their library (academic, public, government or whatever type of library).

There are many sources and tools to refer to as you are assessing services and programs, including articles Moe & I wrote for libraries using the logic model last summer. But it is so important to see how other organizations offering similar information-based services develop their measures. Have a look at the report shown here: IMPACT: A Practical Guide to Evaluating Community Information Projects by the FSG Knight Foundation. Better yet, follow FSG’s works.

Impact – that’s what we want. Community Information – that’s the business we are in, and certainly want to be seen as being in. So what can we learn from FSG? Lots.

“This guide will take you through the essential steps for designing an evaluation of

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