Shift Happens

Business Week • October 4, 2011

Expendable you. Health care experts may see their jobs go the way of insurance, travel and legal experts—who made the same mistake of thinking their services were indispensable to consumers. While this article focuses on the imminent overhaul of the health care industry, its cautionary tale applies to everyone who believes their industry is bullet-proof.

We've talked about this kind of disruption and reconfiguration of our industry in reference to many articles in this digest. It has been a theme sounded first and then expanded thoughtfully by my colleague, Lorcan Dempsey, in many blog posts and presentations. ( Michalko)

The Future of Work Is to Freelance Within an Organisation—Choose Your Task, Assemble to Work, Then Dissolve

Library Clips • October 3, 2011

Just-in-time workforce. Recent dramatic increases in the use of contractors, in-house freelancers and temps combined with "swarm work" and "talent network" management strategies have both a positive and a negative side. While many people find greater job satisfaction in task-based teamwork that makes optimal use of their skillsets, the strategy can also result in stress and dysfunction when management fails to create policies that incorporate flexibility in reporting procedures, job duties, billable hours and other issues. Read on for a comprehensive discussion of the pros and cons of a just-in-time workforce.

This long blog post is a pretty nice overview of the fluid nature of the way in which we, more and more often, are actually doing "work." As I read through I recognized some of the modes but only saw them named for the first time. It was also clear to me that while universities support some of these work modes the incentive structure in education does not encourage them. And libraries have daunting mission adjustment challenges as well as skill set gaps that make these working modes seem futuristic. ( Michalko)

Creating Employee Networks that Deliver Open Innovation

Sloan Management Review  • September 21, 2011

Looking for ideas in all the right places. Organizations seeking to leverage open innovation—going outside to find creative solutions to in-house problems—not only must locate those solutions, but must find a way to ensure the ideas get to the right people who can implement them. Read on to find examples of companies that have successfully fostered this two-step process by formalizing "idea scouts" and "idea connectors."

You'll have to register with the site to read the full article. The abstract was interesting enough that I did. ( Michalko)

What's the Most Important Lesson You Learned from a Teacher?

PLOS Blogs • October 5, 2011

Affirmation. These heartwarming vignettes drawn from the memories of authors, poets, scientists and physicians testify to the profound influence a single, attentive adult can have over the future of a developing adolescent. Read these simply for pleasure and inspiration.

This is very nice. It's striking that so many of the testimonials are from people who became writers. Perhaps there is a built-in bias. The NPR story about a neurosurgeon and his teacher is a short, worthy read. ( Michalko)

The 7% Rule: Fact, Fiction, or Misunderstanding

Ubiquity/ACM • October 2011

It's not how you say it . . . Phil Yaffe debunks a popular theory that claims in an oral presentation, 93% of success is attributable to nonverbal factors such as body language and vocal expression. Yaffe's rebuttal illustrates how easily misinterpreted research results and time-worn adages can be accepted as conventional wisdom. How often have you heard or thought something like this: "Because the figures were so easy to remember, most people forgot about what they really meant." In this era of mainstream media's tendency to over-simplify complex issues, this article serves as a reminder to always check out the underlying facts.

Remarkable that it all reduced to saying the word "Maybe." For a more recent body language article, see this NYTimes one about women, make-up and its impact on their credibility. ( Michalko)

Above the Fold Quiz

According to an item in this week's News and Views section, what service provides access to detailed archival collection descriptions?

Get the answer.