Research Publications Newsletters Above the Fold Above the Fold - 12 June 2015


Present Your Ideas: Overcome the "Curse of Knowledge" • 1 May 2015

Present your ideas without the curse. TED curator, Chris Anderson, uses the "curse of knowledge" to explain why it so hard to give an effective presentation and how you can improve.

Lorcan has featured comments about the "curse of knowledge" in various of his recent presentations. See for instance this recent summing up at a Columbia University Libraries forum. The whole thing is worth your time not just the "curse" portion. Here's an interview in which Steven Pinker, the popularizer of the concept, discusses it. It's really good to remember that all of us are afflicted. (Michalko)



Innovation Needs Outsiders. Here's How to Source Them • 22 April 2015

Where do you get the outsiders needed to innovate? Jorge Barba explains that organizations get blinded by the "curse of knowledge." They have trouble getting to new ideas, the ones that span boundaries and are found and at the intersection of domains. The way to get those ideas is to shift perspectives. How do you shift perspectives? He says bring in outsiders.

As libraries work to create new, distinctive services that are shaped by unique local needs, by changes in the way research and teaching are done and by newly formulated university goals and directions they are bringing in outsiders. These are professionals with skills from outside the library domain. Are we taking advantage of their perspectives to do more than launch a new service? Are we using them to help us rethink processes, redo strategies, and redirect resources? (Michalko)



What to Do When Your Future Strategy Clashes with Your Present • 29 April 2015

Mark Johnson points out that sometimes the "basis of competition in an industry shifts so dramatically that shifting with it requires a new long-term vision that calls for the organization to do things it never would have done in the past. The hardest part is connecting long-term goals to near-term actions—especially when those new actions directly threaten the way you make money right now." He uses a case study of MedStar, a Baltimore–Washington DC regional healthcare provider, to demonstrate a successful approach to the dilemma.

I'd say that this is not unlike the challenge facing research libraries. We have to build new distinctive services that will deliver value over the long-term while shifting resources from traditional assets (e.g., collections) and processes (e.g., description). It seems like the conceit of "portfolios" built around the future state, around innovation, and around investment, could work for the library. Libraries that have moved their collections budget to on-demand acquisition have achieved some of what MedStar did in the management of their investment portfolio. It's shifting "the balance of funding to favor new-growth innovation over the core innovation initiatives, even though the core represents nearly the entire organization at the start." (Michalko)



Leading Teams through Change at the Speed of Business • 11 May 2015

Elizabeth Doty says "the trouble is, our approach to change has itself not really changed over time: Our instinct is still to take an event-driven process and try to execute it more and more quickly. We tend to drive change initiative by initiative, and lose track of the confusion this can create for teams doing the work." She gives some concrete suggestions on how to responsibly manage teams in these circumstances.

I was not familiar with the acronym VUCA which business leaders seem to have adopted from the military to characterize the nature and pace of today's change—volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. I think she is right on when she proposes that failing, floundering teams don't understand the changes they are being asked to make, don't see the opportunity or feel they are not valued. She proposes some good but difficult things to do to change those circumstances. Giving people a narrative they can understand and repeat is the starting place. P.S. I loved the team that had been reorganized so many times they referred to it "the island of misfit toys". Probably derived from this old TV show. (Michalko)



Fashion, Favorites, Fungi

At This Fashion Library, You Check Out Clothes Instead Of Buying Them
Co.Exist • 6 May 2015

Why Do We Re-Read Our Favorite Books as Kids, and Why Do We Stop When We Get Older?
Flavorwire • 15 May 2015

Dying Trees Can Send Food to Neighbors of Different Species via "Wood-Wide Web"
Scientific American Blogs • 9 May 2015

The first because who wouldn't want to "own less, live more". Of course, the shop is yet another clever Dutch idea based in Amsterdam.

The second because I used to do it and don't anymore. I stopped for fear of disappointment. Maybe I need to rethink that attitude.

The third because I couldn't resist the pun or the remarkable "diagram of the mycorrhizal network". Really. (Michalko)



Above the Fold Quiz

According to an item in this week's News and Views section, where can you see a live demonstration of a prototype system OCLC Research is developing to explore how Entity-based Linked Data can be used for discovery, editing, and visualization?

Get the answer.