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Follow-up to EPL Post

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This is a follow-up to “EPL: Extraordinary Public Libraries” describing how Edmonton and Halifax Public Libraries are integrating library services into communities. Thanks Ken Williment for alerting me to an article he & Pilar Martinez recently published in the Swedish BIS: bibliotek i samhalle. Ken, Community Development Manager @ Halifax Public Libraries and Pilar, Executive Director Public Services @ Edmonton, wrote Canadian Libraries: Innovating & Creating Inclusive Services. It details the development of their respective community-led services and Halifax’ asset mapping. At a time when many North American public libraries are touring Europe to learn from the innovative libraries there, it’s great to see a European profiling Canadian innovation.

On the one hand, I’m still a bit amazed — ok, a lot amazed — that it has taken us this long to grasp the fact that “community-led” services should be the heart of libraries’ service portfolios. It’s one of those smack-my-forehead-this-is-so-obvious moments for us as a profession and for the library sector. On the other hand, I’m relieved and delighted that we are on the right track — and that Edmonton, Halifax, Vancouver, Regina & other public libraries are leading and willingly helping public libraries along that track to transition their services from librarian-led to community-led.

Edmonton Public Library's Community-Led Toolkit – available for all

Innovation: Advice from Google Ad Gal

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Here’s a great article, The Eight Pillars of Innovation, by Susan Wojcicki, employee #16 with Google, and currently it’s SVP of Advertising. And here’s an interview with her in conversation with Wired’s Steve Levy where she said, “Google is fascinating, and the book isn’t finished. I’m creating, living, building, and writing those chapters.” I digress….. here’s the 8 pillars of innovation she highlights:

1. Have a mission that matters

2. Think big but start small (like Google Books)

3. Strive for continual innovation, not instant perfection (iterative process teaches valuable lessons)

4. Look for ideas everywhere

5. Share everything (encourages discussion, exchange & re-interpretation of ideas leading unexpected and innovative outcomes)

6. Spark with imagination, fuel with data (Google recruits people who believe the impossible can become a reality, like driverless cars, & they encourage blue-sky thinking through 20% time, a full day a week where engineers can work on whatever they want)

7. Be a platform (“Open technologies … allow anyone, anywhere to apply their unique skills, perspectives & passions to create new products & features on top of [Google] platforms)

8. Never fail to fail (good example, Google is known for YouTube, which it bought, not Google Video Player — “learn from your mistakes and correct fast. Google Answers was retired after 4 years.)

These pillars resonate so much with me because Rebecca and I have been talking about these things for years in workshops, consulting, and coaching. It’s great to see such a wonderful list from a

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Martin @ IL10: Don’t be Shed

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Pat Martin of Litlamp Communications and author of Renaissance Generation: The Rise of the Cultural Consumer & What it Means to Your Business was a lively opening keynote speaker for Internet Librarian 2010 this morning. She talked about the renaissance generation, which reflects a rebirth, regeneration, creativity, innovation but also requires the shedding of some things. She suggested three ways for libraries (or any organization I would say) to create value for their community, and not be shed in the new renaissance generation:

* Put the user at the center

* Let the user collaborate on the user experience in your organization

* Curate the human interface

Other suggestions included getting out of the library building and becoming community managers and hubs of information. Libraries can do this very well as they are respected and credible for giving neutral information. The Edmonton Public Library hired 11 community managers last year who are doing wonderful things in their community.

I loved Pat’s comment that “the story is the new killer app” — what a great message for libraries. See her presentation here, but fast forward through the part where I pretend to be Tom Hogan Senior! Watch for an interview with Patricia Martin coming soon from the Shanachies on TWIL, This Week in Libraries.

Innovation

Innovation is a topic I have been interested in for a long time but it is only in the last few years that innovation has reached the title of senior executives. Most likely because our world continues to change at a fast pace and we all need to be creative and try new things or our organizations, our products and services, and/or our roles will be left in the dust. You only have to look at newspapers to see an obvious example of change, but there are many others — video stores, post offices, libraries.

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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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Harvard Library Lab: Libraries need product development

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Harvard Libraries’ new Library Lab “is inviting students, faculty, and staff to collaborate with the Harvard Libraries and serve as co-creators of the information society of the future.” “The University-wide Library Lab is designed to leverage the entrepreneurial aspirations of Harvard students, faculty, and staff, who can propose projects in all areas of library activity.” Projects are submitted via proposal, but they don’t have to be long, sweat-equity proposals; instead the proposals sound quite reasonable – or people can submit an idea and initiate a discussion. Projects are judged on entrepreneurialism, scalability, openness and experimentation.

There’s a lot to like about this initiative, not the least of which is that it is approaching library service management from the “full” perspective — from idea to design, development, pilot, delivery, management, maturity, and finally divestment. Libraries have not (to my knowledge anyway) had R & D functions — which is absolutely critical for new concepts.

Wouldn’t it be cool if some of the agencies supporting libraries adopted this lab model too?

Stack View (below) is a book “neighborhood visualizer” designed to allow users to browse Harvard’s virtual library stacks. Stack View is a project of the model library lab at Harvard Law School. Image credit: Jeff Goldenson—Harvard Law School Library.

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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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KMWorld: Kiho Sohn, CKO Pratt Whitney: Innovation & KM

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Kiho Sohn, Chief Knowledge Officer for Pratt Whitney Rocketdyne raised an interesting question: why, at KM conferences, do we talk about innovation, but at innovation conferences there’s no mention of KM? Hm….. at PWR the expertise is in-house — not too many other companies are designing rocket engines. So they’ve concentrated on helping employees generate ideas that lead to solutions — and out of this they’ve developed many new patents, using the TRIZ method within a 2 day innovation workshop.

TRIZ is founded by a Russian scientist — the practitioners of TRIZ will say it’s the greatest method out there. It relies on a semantics-based technology which has the logic built in. While listening to Kiho, I checked out TRIZ on wikipedia – TRIZ is the theory of solving inventor’s problems” or “The theory of inventor’s problem solving”. It was developed by a Soviet engineer and researcher Genrich Altshuller and his colleagues starting in 1946. It has been evolving ever since.

Interesting – I’m going to follow-up with Kiho after today’s sessions to get a better understanding.

Kiho Sohn overview of innovation process at KMWorld 2009

Emerging Tech & the Future of Biz

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“Adopting technologies without a strategy results in wasted time & effort”. How many times have you said this? Check out KMWorld 2009 keynote speaker Charlene Li‘s slides. Some great tips. Her theme, “the future of business requires a holistic approach to adopting and integrating emerging technologies” is the same message Rebecca and I use with our clients — Organizations have to have a big detailed picture of where they are going before the strategies to get there can be put in place. And that’s way before technology, people and other structures are put in place.

I love Charlene’s slide of 4 focus areas surrounding the client: enterprise strategy, customer strategy, leadership & management, innovation & practices. Her tips, which I think apply more broadly than just tech planning:

* Leaders must let go of control but not relinquish command, create sandbox convenants to allow risk taking, creat a culture of sharing & model it

* organizations must connect to customers on their own terms, develop internal processes to connect with customers in real time, integrate the customer voice across the whole enterprise

* enterprises must allow all units to pilot new technologies & processes, design process scenarios around user roles, invest in innovation

* to innovate, organizations must fail fast & fail smart, inject fresh external thinking, enable safe places where mistakes and learning is encouraged.

I am sure you will enjoy her presentation on Wednesday November 18 in San Jose at KMWorld 2009. In the meantime, on the KMWorld

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Search is ….

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During the presentation of innovation awards at FASTForward ’09 there were some interesting comments about what search is. Help me make a longer list by adding comments to this post!

Search is

shortening the distance between users & offerings all about information management and information enables business a high end productivity tool