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Library Labs – A Cross-Sector Accelerator?

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I’m fascinated by the Harvard Library Lab (Aug 30th posting “Harvard Library Lab: Libraries Need Product Development”). Libraries simply haven’t invested enough in seizing and nurturing ideas from concept to possibility to pilot to people (ie. the people being impacted by the resulting service, program or process). There’s my soap box for this morning.

So now I’m doubly excited that Stephen has posted a list of library labs (Stephen’s Lighthouse: “Library Innovation Labs & Incubators” — thank you sweetie!!); I had no idea that there were so many, particularly in the academic sector. Excellent. Now, look at the public sector: there are 3. That’s right. Three.

I still think there’s a role for the government agencies supporting libraries, although they are only for the public sector. Plus, what am I saying? Academic sector — public sector — what we need is cross-sector. The best ideas — the most innovative concepts often come from cross-collaboration. Perhaps the role can be filled by the associations?

Or….she says with a grin — how about an accelerator? ReadWriteWeb reports on a Montreal “accelerator” firm “Year One Labs”. The brain-child of four guys who describe themselves as being “from the trenches” will guide, mentor, prod and get your concept “out there” to help you develop, pilot, and launch.

Imagine this for libraries — a cross-sector accelerator — that doesn’t look at libraries as the ultimate benefiters, but looks at people as the benefiters.

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Pictures worth 1000 words – thanks to Steve McCurry

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A stunningly beautiful photo essay by Steve McCurry of people reading in places, spaces and with faces that stir our senses. Steve’s website profiles his photography — fabulous. I’ve taken to viewing photography sites and images as part of my early morning scan to gain new perspectives. And this is just one of them.

Steve McCurry's photography – insightful, magical

6 Steps to Decision-Makers & Staff Buying Solutions “With” You

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A few months ago I wrote about the “buy-with” concept from Sam Harrison’s “IdeaSelling: Successfully Pitch Your Creative Ideas to Bosses, Clients and Other Decision Makers”. Harrison contends, and we agree, that it is much more success-oriented to gain decision-makers’ agreement and approval when you build their understanding throughout a project than to wait until the end and try to wow them with a “isn’t this terrific!” presentation. “Buy-in” is a dangerous game; it’s ultimately better for all concerned to be buying together than to say “come on in!” at the end.

In this cost-conscious climate we’re often asked to help organizations review their information services and develop recommendations “within new parameters” (translation: “we have fewer employers…or… the university’s overall budget is begin reduced & everything’s on the Web anyway, so we can’t spend this much on information services/libraries”) And, of course, the decision-makers controlling the library or information services want the recommendations tomorrow (ok, I exaggerate — they want it in a week…sigh….which is just as difficult)

We’ve worked hard not to be “eagle consultants” who swoop in, perch awhile, peer around, leave some droppings and fly off again. Staff involved with information services need to be involved in this project, no matter what. And so must those making the final decision. It’s a bit like planning and delivering a delicious meal for decision-makers (ok, probably not a good analogy, but try it for a minute). You have to be clear at the outset if there are any allergies

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Getting Your Idea Off the Ground

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Jane has this fantastic ability to connect ideas from disparate areas into new ideas. I didn’t know there was a name for this ability until just now when I read BNET‘s posting about Dave Stewart’s new book. Jane – you are a polymath – meaning that you are knowledgeable about different things, and curious able to see unlikely linkages. Yep, that’s Jane.

And, it’s Dave Stewart too. His book “Business Playground: Where Creativity and Commerce Collide” (there’s a free chapter by the way) advises that those with the idea shouldn’t be expected to implement the idea; their strength is in the idea, and in helping to nurture the idea so that those with the ability to implement can help the idea come to life. As Stewart says, he’d rather see 10% of an idea become reality than 100% of the idea not realized.

Yet that’s so difficult for so many people. It is “their” idea, and the ownership of that idea is important for them — rightly so. Too often the idea-generator isn’t comfortable handing over the fledging idea for refinement and implementation to others; it’s their “baby” and they want to be a part of its growth and maturing, and they want credit for the idea. How often have we seen those implementing a new concept taking credit for the concept or idea? So why wouldn’t the idea-generator want to continue to lead the implementation? Well……unfortunately, people who are strong idea-generators aren’t always strong implementers. The result

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