How to Spot the Future

Wired • April 24, 2012

Trending rules. Wired Executive Editor Thomas Goetz shares seven tips for trend-spotting in the digital age. This checklist provides a handy reference point for staying ahead of the curve.

This article contrasts nicely with some others in this issue. You'll see echoes or alternative views on the author's observations about the importance of "open," time-wasting and tinkering, and audacity. I also discovered my new favorite quote in this article—" Scarcity is a shitty business model." ( Michalko)

Simplify and Repeat

The Economist • April 28, 2012

Keep it simple—maybe. Repeatability, a new book by two Bain & Company consultants, touts the business benefits of focusing on core capabilities. The "simplify and repeat" mantra has worked well for some well-known industry leaders like Apple and IKEA, but it's worth noting that the strategy also can backfire, as was the case with Kodak and Blockbuster.

Interesting to think about this in the context of " disruptive innovation." Simplicity may make it harder to recognize that your business model is challenged. It may make it more difficult to embrace the new thing because you have no thing but what you have. ( Michalko)

10 Things You Can Learn from the Apple Store

How to Change the World • April 9, 2012

Be nice. Guy Kawasaki enumerates the ways that the Apple Store elevated customer care to a new—and very successful—level based on a foundation of trustworthiness, likability and quality. This easily skimmed list of lessons learned applies to any organization that deals with the public.

Guy is not without a clear tendency to love all things Apple but in this circumstance he does catalog the strength of their stores. Wouldn't it be great if we no longer "sold stuff" in libraries and our patron-facing staff were as empowered as Apple store employees? ( Michalko)

How Nik Osborne Plans to Disrupt Class

Campus Technology • May 3, 2012

Try something different. Indiana University's new e-textbook business model relies on a course fee to access the required text and guarantees publishers that every student in the class will pay it. Read this interview with Nik Osborne, who heads up IU's eTexts initiative, for another view on how to solve the university-publisher impasse.

This may be the model that spreads. Mr. Osborne speaks clearly about the difficulties of optimizing across an entire population when for a particular individual the solution may be suboptimal. There must be a name for this category of problem. ( Michalko)

Libraries: Sandbox Space for New Technology

Queensland University of Technology • May 1, 2012

Proving ground. Queensland University of Technology's Marcus Foth suggests that libraries and other cultural institutions could broaden their outreach by providing the public an opportunity to experiment with new technologies. Foth says devoting space to user-led experimentation through local "hack fests" and corporate partnerships would expand libraries' traditional role and strengthen community ties.

I've heard others describe support for creative production as one of the marquee components in a new library service portfolio. Good for both public and academic. The full report linked at the end of the report is worth scanning. 3D printers anyone? ( Michalko)

Clay Christensen's Life Lessons

Business Week • May 3, 2012

Beyond disruptive innovation. Check out this feature on Clay Christensen and his new book, How Will You Measure Your Life?, to learn more about the man whose business theories have become the stuff of management lore. Heavy on career motivation and parenting skills, Christensen's latest work is described as "provocative but reassuring. Peter Drucker meets Mitch Albom."

As a fan I never knew much about the man. You may be curious. This may be enough. ( Michalko)

Above the Fold Quiz

According to an item in this week's News and Views section, what is a catablog?

Get the answer.