Which organization do you work for?

original article

The Difference Between Good And Bad Organizations
Farnam Street
January 20, 2015

This excerpt is from a business leadership book: The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers

This isn’t a Review In Lieu of Reading (RILR). It’s an excerpted anecdote but a good one. Ben Horowitz is always worth attention. You won’t go wrong with putting his blog in your feed. And here’s a bit of related reading about why bureaucracies are so hard to change. (Michalko)

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Questions, Predictions, Intersections

Sister Bernadette's Barking Dog Forget Resolutions, What’s Your “Beautiful Question” For 2015? | Co.Design | business + design January 13, 2015

7 Venture Capitalists Predict What Will Happen In 2015 | TechCrunch December 31, 2014

12 Funny and Delicious Venn Diagrams | Mental Floss

The first because it’s actually a really practical way to present a challenge so that it motivates action. Plus it’s shorter than reading the book

The second because predictions that have money behind them are much more likely to materialize. Spoiler alert: Unbundling will be big.

The last because they are clever. And somehow precipitated a comment string about Yoda’s grammar. If commenters serious were here would they go. (Michalko)

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If you lock up my iPad I’ll come to the gym

 original article

The Small Steps That Have a Big Impact on Achieving Goals
Knowledge@Wharton
January 12, 2015

In this short video interview accompanied by an edited transcript Wharton professor Katherine Milkman finds that there are relatively simple steps that people can take to help themselves —or their employees or relatives —to stick to their plans and adopt behaviors that are better for overall well-being. 

Even though most of her research was around health goals – the unpleasant medical procedure, keeping up an exercise program, etc. – you can easily see how these insights could be applied to other behaviors. I was particularly intrigued by the power of what she calls ‘fresh starts’ – moments after which you are more motivated to follow through on their goals. You can imagine the new year, the birthday, the first of the month but she argues that external agents can create these moments and they have similar power. Think about open enrollment dates for your health insurance for instance. (Michalko)

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Dreams are not the road to satisfaction

original article

Passion vs. Pragmatism: You Can’t Always Do What You Want
Pacific Standard
January 13, 2015

http://xkcd.com/519

Joann McKenna takes issue with the standard advice about following your passion being the one true road to job satisfaction and personal fulfillment.

She’s not wrong. Her argument gets acted on in the recent California legislative move to create a pilot program for 15 community colleges across the state to fill a growing workforce demand for college-educated, skilled workers in fields such as health, science and technology. Basically they are going to allow these colleges to give a four-year baccalaureate degree but limit the subject offerings to science and applied or technical professions. (Michalko)

 

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Don’t wait on a flash of insight

 original article

The Myth of Epiphany
ScottBerkun.com
January 13, 2015

In a shortish blog post Scott Berkun unpacks one of the innovation myths he has chronicled – the notion “that breakthrough ideas frequently come to people as a result of a flash of insight.” See for instance the Newton and apple story.

I like that he admits the appeal of these epiphany stories but is clever enough to ask the right questions about them – What was the person doing just beforehand?  What did they have to do to make the idea real? Does any of this help you have an insight? If you like this short blog post then you should check his summary of his own book The Myths of Innovation. P.S. The Newton story seems to be true-ish. It did not bop him on the head, however. (Michalko)

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When is pretty not necessarily better? When it’s your web site.

original article
Do Prettier, More Professional-looking Web Sites Increase Conversions?
uxmatters.com January 19, 2015

David Mannheim discusses why a better-looking web site might not necessarily be a more effective web site using examples from Digg, Target and the UK retailer Marks & Spencer. “Good design emphasizes the usefulness of a product while disregarding anything that could possibly detract from it.”

In a retail context the effectiveness of a website is ‘conversions’ – the visitors who end up doing what you’d like them to do as a consequence of that visit; usually buying something. The higher the number of visitors and the percentage of conversions the more effective your web site is. In the case of a library web site what’s a ‘conversion’? Is it somebody using the online catalog, searching a journal database, scheduling a study room, etc.? It’s useful to think about as you can’t do smart design without knowing the web site goals. (Michalko)

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Charts, Tech touch, Cowabunga

The Year in Management, Told in 20 Charts – HBR

The Communication Of The Future Is So Real You Can Touch It | Co.Design | business + design

Embiggening English: The Simpsons and changing language | OxfordWords blog

The first because all the charts tell an interesting story e.g. No one wants a smart, connected wine bottle.

The second because I was enchanted by these MIT Media Lab experiments in bringing the haptic into technology.

The third because they celebrated 25 years last month. A whole generation has now had access to that most cynically useful shrug: meh. (Michalko)

 

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Does the library have ‘trip types’?

original article

What Mom-and-Pop Stores Can Teach Grocery Chains
strategy-business.com
November, 2014

The authors argue that to stave off online competitors, supermarkets should work with their suppliers and get back to personalized service. In the process they provide the history of super market emergence and evolution.

Not everything here is applicable to the challenges facing libraries but there are some ideas to stimulate reflection. They point out that the super market industry now focuses on trip types: the “stock up,” the “fill in,” and the “quick trip” rather than customer segments. What are the library equivalents? And their suggestion that a lot of high volume items disappear from the shelves, move to back room fulfillment and the floor space be used for customer interaction by product-type experts sounds a lot like some of the restructuring that some libraries have been doing. (Michalko)

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Do we have a ‘good enough’ problem?

 original article
When ‘good enough’ is not good enough

image via thegeek.com
image via thegeek.com

theconversation.com January 6, 2015

 Ethan Zuckerman makes the case that ‘good enough’ is one of the biggest obstacles to innovation. It’s only when problems get really intractable that we are willing to

leapfrog to truly innovative solutions. As he says “When a nation faces problems where there are no good solutions, it often responds with a wave of innovation and infrastructure-building.”  That’s why Kenya has a national system of payments based on mobile technologies and the USA does not.

I found Zuckerman’s invocation of regulation and policy mandate as a prime mechanism for unsticking the ‘good enough’ a very good reminder. We often assume that something that is demonstrably superior will be enough to unseat a ‘good enough’ practice or technology. As one of the commenters observed if that were the case BetaMax would have ruled. In the library world some of our best opportunities for shedding the ‘good enough’ are happening because of university policy changes or government mandates. (Michalko)

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Texting parking meters, bus stops and rental cars. Oh my.

original article

Interaction and industrial design team up to serve the IoT
O’Reilly Radar
November 24, 2014

This is a discussion with Martin Charlier, a design strategist with a unique distinction of having both interaction and industrial design experience.

What he’s got to say about the team dynamics involved in product creation is directly relevant to the new service development work in which so many libraries are engaged. Plus this introduced me to the Google Physical Web project which has gone a long way towards making me more interested in the Internet of Things. I would love to get a polite text from my parking meter reminding me that it’s time for a few more quarters. (Michalko)

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