Research Publications Newsletters Above the Fold Above the Fold - 2 September 2014


What to Do If Your Team Is in a Rut • 7 August 2014

Want to get them out of the rut? Rebecca Knight's brief essay tells you what you can do if your team is in a rut. She suggests ways to push everyone to be more creative and where you should seek inspiration. She has advice about the best way to bring in new perspectives.

Who doesn't occasionally feel like they are in a rut? This is a short relevant essay with actionable advice. As soon as she said "Avoid using the word innovation" I thought better of all her earlier advice. (Michalko)



Why the Best Idea Doesn't Always Win • 12 August 2014

The best idea ends up losing. This is an excerpt from Scott Berkun's book The Myths of Innovation. In it he summarizes why we (Americans, truth be told) believe the best wins. He also gives a good introduction to the secondary factors influencing innovation with examples of dominant ideas that are clearly less than optimal, e.g., the QWERTY keyboard.

I'm a fan of Berkun's (even if he doesn't like Prezi). And this excerpt is a good reminder that for all the talk about great ideas breaking through and our urge to lionize individual entrepreneurs the things that take hold are shaped by culture, politics, economics and other contextual factors. Consider the story of why the Tappan Zee Bridge was built across one of the widest parts of the Hudson River. (Michalko)



Making Mergers Work

MIT Sloan Management Review • 8 September 2012

Why should you care about what makes mergers work? This article was awarded the prize for most outstanding MIT SMR article on planned change and organizational development. "The authors examine why mergers and acquisitions so often fail to achieve the results and synergies they promise. The article argues that much of the difficulty lies in the failure of executives of the acquiring company to seriously consider the quite different ways that not only operational but also psychological integration between previously separate corporate entities can be achieved."

So why should you read this article about what makes mergers work? And endure the free sign up process necessary to access the journal? Because even if you are in an academic institution you will be on one end or another of a merger. Think about the re-organizations, re-structurings and new service creation that is going on in order to re-establish the value proposition of the library to its university or its citizenry. All of those have the characteristics that come up in a merger even if the action is integrating a branch library or amalgamating two departments to deliver a new service. This is a pretty pragmatic article that emphasizes the importance to success of managing identity integration. Which is it—assimilate, federate, confederate or metamorphose? (Michalko)



Kill the Company to Save the Company

Big Think • 14 August 2014

How to save the company? Kill it. In this post and brief video Lisa Bodell reflects on how companies tend to shy away from change or have systems in place that serve as anchors, holding them back. She explains the ideas behind her book Kill the Company and how this helps staff to embrace change starting with those habits that are obstacles.

This is a short video that might persuade you that the best way to plan your future is to think about the ways your competition could put you out of business. You might consider the technique to enrich one of those "strategy planning" sessions when the thinking isn't being bold enough. (Michalko)



Original Sin, Wayfinding, A Card Trick

The Internet's Original Sin | The Atlantic

Why You Never Get Lost In An Airport | Co-Design

Willie Nelson Does a Card Trick | Mental Floss

One long article—You may have already come across Ethan Zuckerman's apology for inventing pop-up ads. It's a terrific analysis of how the Internet's business model became surveillance.

Because you should never get lost in a library either.

One rambling video of a pattern-based card trick—Which I remember my Uncle George performing almost word for word. (Michalko)



Above the Fold Quiz

According to an item in this week's News and Views section, what library has the largest collection of materials in WorldCat related to ice cream parlors?

Get the answer.