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Innovation in Academic Libraries: Theory and Practice. Texas Library Association April 13, 2007 Kathryn Deiss ACRL Content Strategist. kdeiss@ala.org. Photo/Typography by You Can Count on Me. Innovation [in the public sector] must be…. an original disruptive act. Lawrence Lynn. Innovation

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Innovation in academic libraries theory and practice

Innovation in Academic Libraries:Theory and Practice

Texas Library AssociationApril 13, 2007

Kathryn DeissACRL Content Strategist

kdeiss@ala.org



Innovation in academic libraries theory and practice

Innovation[in the public sector] must be….anoriginaldisruptiveact

Lawrence Lynn


Innovation in academic libraries theory and practice

  • Innovation

  • …the embodiment, combination, and/or synthesis of knowledge in novel, relevant, valued new products, processes, or services

Dorothy Leonard


Innovation in academic libraries theory and practice

The critical nature ofmental models in innovation

  • “not enough _____”

  • bad time to risk

  • may cause disruption in other areas

  • “we tried that…”




Innovation in academic libraries theory and practice

Tinkering with the Present

Small Adjustments and Changes

  • short-term solutions

  • narrowly focused perspective

  • attachment to present

  • modesty


Innovation in academic libraries theory and practice

The Need for Control

Hold tight!

  • “the new” inspires control

  • assessment of limitations

  • the “worry” engine – creativity run amok


Innovation in academic libraries theory and practice

Disturbance

  • All living systems are disturbed in order to progress

  • Devil’s advocate problem – Tom Kelley

  • Provocative of change

  • Creates urgency

  • Surfaces risk

  • Disturbance is…unsettling but crucial!


Innovation in academic libraries theory and practice

Directional vs Intersectional

  • Directional innovation combines ideas within a field

  • Intersectional innovation combines ideas at the intersections of different fields resulting in an increased level of possibilities


Innovation in academic libraries theory and practice

“The intersection of fields, cultures, and disciplines generates combinations of different ideas, yes; but it also generates a massive number of these combinations. People at the intersection, then, can pursue more ideas in search of the right ones.”

Frans Johanssen


Innovation in academic libraries theory and practice

Barriers to Innovation generates combinations of

  • Organizational age

  • Lack of skills

  • Desire for perfection

  • Risk aversion

  • Natural tensions and dichotomies


Innovation in academic libraries theory and practice

Innovation and Org. Age generates combinations of

  • Mature organization

    • proven track record

    • established resources

    • less likely to take risks

    • less flexible

    • reliance on and replication of past successful practices

    • improvisation more difficult

  • Young organization

    • sparse track record

    • volatile resources

    • more likely to risk

    • more flexible

    • no past to replicate

    • natural improvisation


Innovation in academic libraries theory and practice

Skills Related to Innovation generates combinations of

  • Right brain thinking

  • Use of abilities other than verbal

  • Idea generating skills and tools

  • Group facilitation skills

  • Observation and analytical skills

  • Ability to question


Innovation in academic libraries theory and practice

Desire for Perfection generates combinations of

  • Drive for premature closure and completeness

  • No feedback loops

  • Limited learning process


Innovation in academic libraries theory and practice

Risk Aversion generates combinations of

  • Seeking stasis and stability

  • The disruption effect

  • Mixed messages

  • Anxiety

  • Predictive inclinations & negative fantasies


Innovation in academic libraries theory and practice

Dichotomies generates combinations of

  • Disturbance

  • Unknown Consequences and Patterns

  • Play

  • Practice

  • Risk

  • Stability

  • Standards

  • Expertise

  • Performance

  • Certainty


Innovation in academic libraries theory and practice

Specific to the Public Sector generates combinations of

  • Little direct competition

  • No analog of profitability

  • Nothing in non-profits that people fear more than a newsworthy failure

    • PLUS

  • Dense organizational structure

  • Scarce resources

  • High levels of internal scrutiny


  • Innovation in academic libraries theory and practice

    “Whereas in the private sector an innovation merely needs to be profitable to be worth doing, in the public sectorinnovation must be about doing something worthwhile. . . Second, public sector innovation involvesmore thansimply doing the public’s business well. . . . Third, non-profit and government innovation involvesthe broader public good. The ultimate purpose of innovation is not to win awards, boost public confidence, or attract foundation support, but tocreate public value.” Paul Light


    Innovation in academic libraries theory and practice

    Dichotomies to be profitable to be worth doing, in the public sector

    • Disturbance

    • Unknown Consequences and Patterns

    • Play

    • Practice

    • Risk

    • Stability

    • Standards

    • Expertise

    • Performance

    • Certainty


    Innovation in academic libraries theory and practice

    Perceptions vs Innovation to be profitable to be worth doing, in the public sector


    Innovation in academic libraries theory and practice

    Dichotomies to be profitable to be worth doing, in the public sector

    • Stability

    • Standards

    • Expertise

    • Performance

    • Certainty

    • Disturbance

    • Unknown Consequences and Patterns

    • Play

    • Practice

    • Risk


    Innovation in academic libraries theory and practice

    Dichotomies to be profitable to be worth doing, in the public sector

    • Stability

    • Standards

    • Expertise

    • Performance

    • Certainty

    • Disturbance

    • Unknown Consequences and Patterns

    • Play

    • Practice

    • Risk


    Innovation in academic libraries theory and practice

    Dichotomies to be profitable to be worth doing, in the public sector

    • Disturbance

    • Unknown Consequences and Patterns

    • Play

    • Practice

    • Risk

    • Stability

    • Standards

    • Expertise

    • Performance

    • Certainty


    Innovation in academic libraries theory and practice

    DDR at Wake Forest Library to be profitable to be worth doing, in the public sector


    Innovation in academic libraries theory and practice

    Dichotomies to be profitable to be worth doing, in the public sector

    • Stability

    • Standards

    • Expertise

    • Performance

    • Certainty

    • Disturbance

    • Unknown Consequences and Patterns

    • Play

    • Practice

    • Risk


    Innovation in academic libraries theory and practice

    Dichotomies to be profitable to be worth doing, in the public sector

    • Stability

    • Standards

    • Expertise

    • Performance

    • Certainty

    • Disturbance

    • Unknown Consequences and Patterns

    • Play

    • Practice

    • Risk



    Innovation in academic libraries theory and practice

    The Politics of Innovation are.”

    • Cornelis Drebbel and £20,000 (1624)

      • societal readiness

      • patterns of behavior (not what people say but what they actually DO)

      • political climate

      • building the message



    Innovation in academic libraries theory and practice

    “The most successful people are those who are willing to give up their most successful strategies….”Richard Foster


    Innovation in academic libraries theory and practice

    How To Get Started give up their most successful strategies….”

    • Voluminous idea generation

    • Learn creative thinking tools

    • Develop a tolerance for failure

    • Escape “the end of..” syndrome; embrace “the beginning of..” way of thinking

    • Create Radical Trust

    • Develop SARS


    Innovation in academic libraries theory and practice

    SARS give up their most successful strategies….”

    a Special Awareness for Real Surprises


    Innovation in academic libraries theory and practice

    Some Final Thoughts give up their most successful strategies….”

    • We need to break out of our trusted networks and seek the intersections

    • We need to reserve resources for trial and error and for prototyping

    • Learn how to take on multiple perspectives


    Innovation in academic libraries theory and practice

    “Different is not always better but better is always different.”

    Rick Luce, ViceProvost & Director of Libraries Emory University


    Innovation in academic libraries theory and practice

    Thank you TLA! different.”

    Presentation will be at:

    http://kathryndeiss.pbwiki.com