The first because who wouldn’t want to ‘own less, live more’. Of course, the shop is yet another clever Dutch idea based in Amsterdam.
The second because I used to do it and don’t anymore. I stopped for fear of disappointment. Maybe I need to rethink that attitude.
The third because I couldn’t resist the pun or the remarkable ‘diagram of the mycorrhizal network’. Really. (Michalko)
Leading Teams through Change at the Speed of Business
May 11, 2015
Elizabeth Doty says “The trouble is, our approach to change has itself not really changed over time: Our instinct is still to take an event-driven process and try to execute it more and more quickly. We tend to drive change initiative by initiative, and lose track of the confusion this can create for teams doing the work.” She gives some concrete suggestions on how to responsibly manage teams in these circumstances.
I was not familiar with the acronym VUCA which business leaders seem to have adopted from the military to characterize the nature and pace of today’s change – volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. I think she is right on when she proposes that failing, floundering teams don’t understand the changes they are being asked to make, don’t see the opportunity or feel they are not valued. She proposes some good but difficult things to do to change those circumstances. Giving people a narrative they can understand and repeat is the starting place. P.S. I loved the team that had been reorganized so many times they referred to it ‘the island of misfit toys’. Probably derived from this old TV show.
What to Do When Your Future Strategy Clashes with Your Present
April 29, 2015
Mark Johnson points out that sometimes the “basis of competition in an industry shifts so dramatically that shifting with it requires a new long-term vision that calls for the organization to do things it never would have done in the past. The hardest part is connecting long-term goals to near-term actions — especially when those new actions directly threaten the way you make money right now.” He uses a case study of MedStar, a Baltimore – Washington DC regional healthcare provider, to demonstrate a successful approach to the dilemma.
I’d say that this is not unlike the challenge facing research libraries. We have to build new distinctive services that will deliver value over the long-term while shifting resources from traditional assets (e.g. collections) and processes (e.g. description). It seems like the conceit of ‘portfolios’ built around the future state, around innovation, and around investment, could work for the library. Libraries that have moved their collections budget to on-demand acquisition have achieved some of what MedStar did in the management of their investment portfolio. It’s shifting ‘the balance of funding to favor new-growth innovation over the core innovation initiatives, even though the core represents nearly the entire organization at the start.’ (Michalko)
Innovation needs outsiders. Here’s how to source them
April 22, 2015
explains that organizations get blinded by the ‘curse of knowledge’. They have trouble getting to new ideas, the ones that span boundaries and are found and at the intersection of domains. The way to get those ideas is to shift perspectives. How do you shift perspectives? He says bring in outsiders.
As libraries work to create new, distinctive services that are shaped by unique local needs, by changes in the way research and teaching are done and by newly formulated university goals and directions they are bringing in outsiders. These are professionals with skills from outside the library domain. Are we taking advantage of their perspectives to do more than launch a new service? Are we using them to help us rethink processes, redo strategies, and redirect resources? (Michalko)
Present Your Ideas: Overcome the ‘Curse of Knowledge’
May 1, 2015
TED curator, Chris Anderson, uses the ‘curse of knowledge’ to explain why it so hard to give an effective presentation and how you can improve.
Lorcan has featured comments about the ‘curse of knowledge’ in various of his recent presentations. See for instance this recent summing up at a Columbia University Libraries forum. The whole thing is worth your time not just the ‘curse’ portion. Here’s an interview in which Steven Pinker, the popularizer of the concept, discusses it. It’s really good to remember that all of us are afflicted. (Michalko)
The first because it’s about having to rely on pirated reprints in order to write a book about the Wonder Woman comics. (The Secret History of Wonder Woman was on my year end list of intriguing articles. )
The second because if your institution has a social media presence you will certainly find that you have looked clueless in one or more of the ways Kawasaki identifies.
The third because it is so spectacularly wrong and clueless. (Michalko)
Adobe Invites Others to Use Its Innovation-in-a-Box Idea
February 9, 2015
This article describes a program known as Kickbox in which Adobe provides customized red boxes, each of which includes a prepaid credit card and other tools designed to help turn an idea into a shippable product.
Adobe has now released Kickbox to the rest of the world so you can implement it at your organization using materials that you can download and print. There is also a good online workshop on their site that walks you through the process. Very cool. This reminded me of Design Thinking for Libraries which is a toolkit for patron-centered design created by IDEO. It does for spaces what Kickbox wants to do for products. (Michalko)
Why fax won’t die
February 10, 2015
In many businesses in older industries, from law firms to medical labs, fax machines aren’t seen as some ‘80s anachronism but as an efficient, reliable, and mostly secure way to communicate. This article explains why the fax infrastructure still exists and how it’s getting used in an era of tablets, smartphones and apps.
Apparently a whole middleware industry is emerging to allow modern personal technologies to interact with that infrastructure. That’s probably how the lunch order you placed actually showed up in front of the deli counterman. Part way into this article you’ll find the sound of a fax, from “What Sound Looks Like,” by Khara Cloutier. Go to her Vimeo page to hear other old technologies and see them pictured. (Michalko)
How the Photocopier Changed the Way We Worked—and Played
In 1959, Xerox released the “914”—the first easy-to-use photocopier – expecting customers to make customers would make about 2,000 copies a month—but users easily made 10,000 a month, and some as many as 100,000. Before the 914 machine, Americans made 20 million copies a year, but by 1966 Xerox had boosted the total to 14 billion.
It’s good to have the genesis story repeated briefly. More intriguing is the pattern of take-up and the diffusion of the technology through the corporate, cultural and personal domains. The author ends with some provocative speculation about whether 3-D printing is at the Xerox 914 stage now and whether similar patterns will obtain. Some of the 3D weird junky trinkets that I’ve seen are the equivalent of the stupid cartoons that circulated through offices because duplicating was so simple. (Michalko)
How can archives add value for newspapers and TV?
The Buttry Diary
February 20, 2015
Steve Buttry at LSU’s Mann School of Communication writes an intriguing post based on this provocative observation: “If I ran a major legacy media org. I’d think: 1. What separates us from a startup? Archives. 2. Are we doing everything with our archives?”
Granted this is about how ‘old media’ can leverage their archives to provide unique features and products. It seems to me that almost all of these ideas are worth considering in the context of a university archives. Archives as asset. (Michalko)