Thought About Your Strategies Lately?


This article, Why Popular Strategies Fade, is a great reminder about strategies through the last 5 or 6 decades. I am borrowing liberally from it! “A great strategy is unique, specific, and complete; it stands on the shoulders of a big idea; and it is owned by a leader who is ultimately responsible for its implementation.” “Great strategies answer five critical questions (“the strategic five”) in ways that are unique to your company: (1) What business or businesses should your company be in? (2) How should you add value to your businesses? (3) Who should be the target customers for your businesses? (4) What should be your value propositions to those target customers? (5) What capabilities should differentiate your ability to add value to your businesses and deliver their value propositions?”

With the speed of change in our world we need to ask ourselves these questions at least once a year as we set our path forward to change with the needs of our communities and with the opportunities provided by new technology. We also need to grab those big ideas and opportunities when they pop up. Libraries like to think they were at the heart of the “third place” movement, but Starbucks made it extremely successful. “Starbucks’s strategy to create a nationwide chain of coffee shops as a “third place” between office and home originated in Howard Schultz’s big idea to re-create the Italian espresso bar experience.” So what can we learn from them?

“Great strategies always go against

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Entrepreneurial Thinking: Essential Skill for Everyone!


It’s often difficult to describe things you do instinctively. I once put together a panel of SLA members asking them to describe themselves by discussing ”how do I know what I know?” SLA member Anne Mintz, at Forbes magazine at the time, told me it was one of the hardest things she had to do! My business partner, Rebecca Jones, talks about me as being curious, I am but I just found a better description in a book by Amy Wilkinson, The Creator’s Code: Six Essential Skills of Extraordinary Entrepreneurs. The first skill is one I have talked about in workshops I’ve done for SLA on seeing the big picture and strategic planning; Wilkinson calls it Finding the Gap and I had called it, Looking for Opportunities or identifying pain points and finding a solution. Here’s what Wilkinson says:


By staying alert, creators spot opportunities that others don’t see. They keep their eyes open for fresh potential, a vacuum to fill, or an unmet need. Creators tend to use one of three distinct techniques: transplanting ideas across divides, designing a new way forward, or merging disparate concepts. I characterize creators who master these approaches as Sunbirds, Architects, or Integrators.

In innovating, reinventing, experimenting we do things differently, in a new way for our environment as a creator or entre/intrapreneur. I find I learn a lot from others in other industries, organizations, etc. One of the strengths of SLA has always been that those planning conference events bring

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Social Media Metrics & Analytics


Frank Cervone on Metrics

The University of Toronto iSchool Symposium, Social Media & Public Libraries, included many interesting discussions and I hope to share many of them here shortly! In the meantime, I’m hoping you will be able to share more stories about the tools and practices you have with social media metrics and analytics. Frank Cervone, IT Director, School of Pubic Health, University of Illnois gave a presentation on the topic and you can see his slides here. All our practitioners (from Toronto, Hamilton, East Gwillimbury, Topeka & Shawnee Couny public libraries) shared the tools they used, the most common being those from the social media platforms themselves. TPL uses 11 different platforms including Reddit, SoundCloud, YouTube & Periscope, Tumblr & Instagram. Two other popular tools are Google Analytics, and Hootesuite Dashboard & analytics. David Lee King mentioned he also uses Tweetbot, Google Alerts, Talkwalker. What do you use?


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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Thank YOU!


Over the last several weeks I have had a tremendous number of “thank yous” for putting together programs for recent events — Computers in Libraries 2014 in DC with the theme Hack the Library! and Defining New Metrics for Library Success in Toronto. It really gives me a blast when topics resonate, conversations abound, and directions are influenced! Learning and growing is so important to me just like the image of today’s Google doodle for St. George’s day — it’s my dragon. I am so lucky to have the opportunity to put together events that make that happen. It is gratifying to see comments on Twitter, Facebook, and blogs about the events — positive comments are really appreciated but also suggestions or gaps — I really do try to build on feedback! At this moment, on an event high, I want to thank all those who help me put together programs, speak about their experiences, insights and ideas, lend their expertise to communicate and share with others, suggest topics for new events, attend the events and find them valuable. You know who you are — almost everyone I know! Thank YOU!

Strategy vs Tactics


It’s always fun to work with clients as they look ahead to what they want their organization to be and do three to five years down the road. We cannot stay the same as we are today, no matter how great we are, as everything is changing around us at increasing speed — technology, culture & society, economics & politics, learning & education, everything! It is so easy for us to get into the weeds and focus on the urgent instead of the important or critical, the trees instead of the forest. Understanding our world-wide environment, our industry, our community, our organization — the big picture, is crucial to envisioning a preferred future, one where our organization excels. And once we have that picture of our preferred future in our heads, described in words on paper and/or in drawings, then we build the strategies to make that happen. Our accelerated planning process helps organizations do just that. However, it is always a challenge staying on the higher level and dealing with strategies and not getting down to the tactics until the strategies are in place. We tell our clients that strategic or direction planning is an iterative exercise — and this great article by Jeremiah Owyang on the difference between strategies and tactics definitely points that out why you have to go back and forth between strategies and tactics to make sure everything is aligned. I had the pleasure of spending time with Jeremiah when he was a keynote speaker

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OLA Superconference Poster Sessions: A Guide


Here’s a guide to the Posters developed by 28 public, academic, corporate and agency libraries describing programs, projects and research they’ve undertaken. Come talk with them about what they’ve learned — up close and personal!

Lower Lobby of the Convention Centre, Thursday February 2nd and Friday February 3rd, from 12:00 Noon – 2:00 p.m.

OLA Poster Sessions: Feb 2 & 3 – Descriptions

SLA 2011 Conference Tweets & James Kane Summary


I’m way behind on this, but we’ve pulled together a news version of the fabulous twitter feed from the Philadelphia conference — it’s in the left sidebar. Thanks to Daniel Lee for creating a Twitter archive at

And James Kane has posted a summary of his keynote – woot! –



Millenials: Learning from, Living With & Influencing


I am looking forward to interviewing Patricia Martin, Litlamp Communications and author of Renaissance Generation: The Rise of the Cultural Consumer & What it Means to Your Business. Here’s a video, Library Renaissance, of Patricia following a talk she did last year about not being shed.

Patricia’s latest book is called Tipping the Culture: How Engaging Millenials will Change Everything. It is an ebook and is available for free download. We are going to be talking about this book and how we can learn from, live with, and influence millenials next week in the Conversations with Leaders series from the Education Institute. To join us, sign up and listen in from your desk or a conference room with your colleagues. It will be fun and interesting!

Evolving Net: 4 Scenarios for 2025


Cisco and the Monitor Group’s Global Business Network today published “The Evolving Internet.” ” The report examines the driving forces and uncertainties that will – in whatever combination – shape the path of the Internet over the next 15 years.

In four scenarios – the result of more than a year’s worth of research, data collection and interviews – different potential pathways are described and detailed. The scenarios suggest how a range of critical factors might play out, such as net neutrality policies, infrastructure investments, consumer response to new pricing models, and technology adoption.

One scenario describes a familiar roadmap in which the Internet continues on its trajectory of unbridled expansion and product and service innovation. The other three challenge that future, and in the process illuminate various risks and opportunities that lie ahead for both business leaders and policy makers.” The scenarios are called: Fluid Frontiers, Insecure Growth, Short of the Promise, Bursting at the Seams.

Five trends with “a common foundation for any scenarios on the Internet’s future relate relate to the global composition and governance of the Internet, generational differences, interface technology, and pricing models for connectivity:

Most growth in the Internet-related market will occur outside of today’s high income, or “advanced,” economies. Global governance of the Internet will remain substantially unchanged. “Digital natives” will relate to the Internet in markedly different ways than earlier generations. The QWERTY keyboard will not be the primary interface with the Internet. Consumers will pay for Internet connectivity in a much

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