November 25, 2008    |   Vol. 1, No. 13    |   ISSN: 1943-1457
Above the Fold
A weekly newsletter for the changing world of libraries, archives and museums

In this issue:

Four Barriers to Collaboration  (External site)

Poynter Online   •  November 10, 2008

How to manage by getting out of the way. Here are some common sense suggestions for encouraging collaboration among your staff. Hint—it takes more than just a software platform...

In fact, our author (refreshingly?) never mentions technology in her pithy, upbeat riff on collaboration. She says the four big barriers are distance, dominance, dissonance and discomfort—and then prescribes one simple, universal solution. To find out what it is, watch the video (a painless 1 minute, 36 seconds). ( Dooley)

Obama's Seven Lessons for Radical Innovators  (External site)

Harvard Business Publishing   •  November 5, 2008

New rules for 21st century organizations. Obama's game-changing organizational skills represent a new way of thinking about how we do business—and it all begins with an ideal. As author Umair Haque says, "Yesterday, we built huge corporations to do tiny, incremental things—tomorrow, we must build small organizations that can do tremendously massive things."

The 2008 campaign was a great opportunity for someone to contrast the advantages of innovation, as what could be more predictable and conventional than the strategies of presidential politics? Haque provides a personal and challenging perspective on what it means to apply these innovations to our organizations and ourselves. ( Washburn)

How Much Can You Ask of Your Customers?  (External site)

HBS Working Knowledge   •  November 10, 2008

Putting your patrons to work. Author Jim Heskett shares insights on getting the most out of your volunteers.

Flickr, Wikipedia, You Tube, usability testing. Some business models see user contributions to collaborative information and innovation as free labor—the customers do the work. It's risky for businesses to ignore or abuse such trust. Contributions of content and design are earned by honesty, transparency and authenticity. ( Schaffner)

Who Killed Our Business?  (External site)

IdeaConnection   •  November 17, 2008

The power of lateral thinking. Author Paul Sloane poses brain puzzles intended to stimulate lateral thinking, a way to spark innovation by approaching old problems from a new direction.

This is more than just approaching problems from a different perspective—it's asking larger questions, frequently returning to first principles, finding innovation outside of your own organization, looking beyond current success to see the next challenge and imagining solutions. ( Proffitt)

How Companies Are Using IT to Spot Innovative Ideas  (External site)

Information Week   •  November 8, 2008

Beauty contests and predictive markets. Find out how collective decision-making tools are challenging status quo thinking.

Ever wondered how many good ideas are getting lost because the suggestion box didn't get transitioned to the Web? The intriguing aspect here is how tools that are helping to drive business decisions about innovation and new directions might be adapted to our institutional settings. Smart polling of both staff and user populations and prioritizing their responses could lead to seriously impactful new services. ( Elkington)

OCLC Programs and Research advances exploration, innovation and community building for libraries, archives, and museums.

Above the Fold is a Web-based newsletter published by OCLC Programs and Research. It has been developed to serve a broad international readership from libraries, archives and museums. News items are supplied weekly under contract by Suzanne Douglas, Ibis Communications Inc. Programs and Research items are supplied by staff in RLG Programs and OCLC Research. Please send comments and questions about this or other issues to rlg@oclc.org.
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