Monday, December 05, 2005

Predictions to Innovations to a Sea Change (or maybe just a wave or two)

All this talk of future Scan predictions becoming reality is way exciting, a little daunting and a little "duh, it was old news by the time it was published on paper." My reactions, anyway.

Innovations need translation into tangible actions
But it led me to thinking about innovations, innovative thinking and how hard it is to know what to DO about trends and predictions--as far as daily life and behavior, tactics, operations is concerned. We won't even get into strategic vision.

Sometimes, two skill sets
Of course, you have to have both (strategy AND tactics). But very often, an organization (a library) may need leaders with different skill sets to accomplish the big picture. It reminds me of the old saying that Winston Churchill would have failed miserably as a peacetime leader, but that he was the right person in the right situation for the WWII setting in the UK.

That brings me back around to libraries. How do we embrace the innovations/changes we hear about (encouraging *risk*) while maintaining enough structure to provide an optimum environment for innovation? And I guess I was thinking about it from the staff development point of view--but it could apply to the library's physical and online environment, as well.

Possibilities for innovation: create a space for it
Is there someone on your staff always complaining about the way things are? Empower that person to present options for change in a recognized kind of way. Are there "sparkspaces" online for patrons/students to meet up on topics of interest, through your library? Perhaps the ship has already sailed on community-forming social software. Of course, we all thought that about Search 3 years ago, too. There are plenty of places to do quick wins on the way to the big Innovations--no matter what your leadership strengths are, for your organization.

A quick read
Food for the day on innovation culture and how to manage through it, from HBS, from the Director-level's vantage point. (Because we all fancy ourselves Directors someday, if we've not already become one at age 26, like George!)

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