November 06, 2009    |   Vol. 2, No. 38    |   ISSN: 1943-1457
Above the Fold
A weekly newsletter for the changing world of libraries, archives and museums

In this issue:

Innovate by Fostering Serendipity: Report from the BIF-5 Conference  (External site)

Innosight   •   October 19, 2009

Question everything. This synopsis of the TED-like Business Innovation Factory conference offers a laundry list of ways to encourage serendipity—by relaxing your mind, giving in to curiosity and not taking anything for granted. One of the best nuggets: "Keep two lists—one of the things that get you up in the morning and one with the things that keep you up at night."

Innovation isn't algorithmic. It's blackart, magic, ineffable and probably beyond teaching or learning. But we all hope against hope that we can get better at it, and this blog post will point you in several directions that, if nothing else, will raise your skepticism, and thereby make you a better innovator. Pointers, too, to a TED-Talk-like site with iinovation storys. ( Weibel)

Innovation Strategy—What Business Are We In?  (External site)

Blogging Innovation   •  October 15, 2009

Beyond buggy whips. We've all heard this before: we're not in the media-lending or artifact-warehousing business—we're in the personal growth or entertainment or community hearth business. Leadership consultant Paul Sloane offers some questions that we should ask ourselves every time we consider a new product or service—does it really fit with the business we think we're in today?

Right, we've heard it before, and there is truth in it: understand the value you provide your customers. What it ignores is that knowing that doesn't always help as much as you wish. Someone providing ice to households by cutting it off a lake in the winter just isn't going to make it into refrigerator manufacturing. Expertise in slide rules or typewriters doesn't help all that much when everyone wants electronic calculators and computers. So, take this as a grain of well-worn salt—if you don't know your value you won't have a chance of adapting. ( Hickey)

Outrunning Change—the CliffsNotes Version  (External site)

The Wall Street Journal   •   October 21, 2009

Food for thought. Business guru Gary Hamel offers the short-hand version of the next book he's not going to write (actually, just the first three chapters). The subject is "adaptability" and while the virtues of the adaptable enterprise have gotten a lot of play in the business press, Hamel always has something interesting to say. Read on and think about how his suggestions apply to our institutions.

Change Happens! Outrun it! Gary Hamel, an author and management consultant, discusses the management book that he's too busy to write and you're too busy to read. This is the CliffsNotes version of his never-to-be-published book. His major point is that to succeed, or even to survive, organizations will need to recognize nascent trends and quickly adapt—no organizational attribute is more important than adaptability. An adaptable company will capture more than its fair share of new opportunities and he provides some guidance on how this can be accomplished. ( O'Neill)

A Writing Revolution  (External site)

Seed Magazine   •  October 20, 2009

Everyone's a publisher. Check out "the first published graph of the history of authorship." If you factor in blogs, Facebook and Twitter, authorship is on a sharp upward trajectory, projected to hit 100% by 2013. Like it or not, the implications include increased power in the hands of individual tweeters (witness the Twitter protests against the recent Iranian election results) and a new benchmark for haves/have-nots.

The graph is worth a look. Pelli and Bigelow define "publishing" as any text that 100 or more people have read. Articles and papers are not included in the graph: the good ones may get blogged or twittered about and gain a much wider readership. For an entertaining and persuasive presentation on the power of "universal authorship," I recommend Clay Sharky's TED talk (June 2009), " How social media can make history." ( Smith-Yoshimura)

How e-Books Could Smarten Up Kids and Stretch Library Dollars: A National Plan  (External site)

Huffington Post   •  October 22, 2009

Remember Minitel. The most interesting part about David Rothman's ambitious TeleRead project is the suggestion that setting national standards for his digital library e-readers could kickstart other efforts, such as electronic health records and government tax filings. Way back in the early '80's, France's PTT took away phone books and distributed Minitels—which could be used not only to look up phone numbers, but also to make train reservations and online purchases. A multi-functional e-reader might provide a back-door way to extend e-services to the general U.S. population.

A war on e-book poverty? Longtime e-content advocate, David Rothman of TeleRead.org pens an updated version of his vision of a well-stocked national digital e-content distribution system carefully integrated with schools and libraries and a "tablet in every pot" approach to making book-friendly hardware available to everyone. With faith that commercial content business details can be sorted out and hope that the off-track-at-present library e-book approaches can be fixed, Rothman proposes starting with educational and public domain e-content to launch his digital-for-the-masses vision of the future. To wit: To every reader his e-book (to paraphrase Ranganathan). ( Childress)

Social Media: The Best and Worst of 2009  (External site)

Econsultancy   •  October 23, 2009

More do's and don'ts. Author Aliya Zaidi drives home the point that to be successful, using social media must be an integrated part of a larger organizational strategy. Skim through the "why it works" and "key point to take home" sections for positive reinforcement and some cautionary tales.

Lessons to be drawn from the examples: understand the social community and know its rules of engagement, know your audience, put a face on your brand, have employee guidelines in place, post regularly, be transparent, be interesting and/or amusing, take risks, create buzz, be nice, don't do it just because everyone else is, and integrate social media into your marketing strategy. ( Erway)

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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