Jim Michalko retired from OCLC in February 2016. He'll be greatly missed, but Above the Fold will continue on. Over the next several weeks we'll bring you Jim's final selections and thoughts. From there several of our colleagues will continue to select new articles offering views and insights that can help our work evolve and have impact.
adaptivepath.org • 3 December 2015
Once you know you are a service you can design for it. This is a short summary of The Service Experience Conference 2015. It "focuses on the design of end-to-end service experiences across touchpoints, from definition to modeling to service delivery. It is for people who are passionate about creating great service experiences while also delivering value to the organizations that deliver them."
I bring this to your attention because of our recent work on user-centered service design particularly The Library in the Life of the User event. You might want to read the short recap that we published—Shaping the Library to the Life of the User: Adapting, Empowering, Partnering, Engaging. I was unaware of the community of practice that has clearly emerged around designing a service experience. We should be sending people to conferences like this rather than just talking to ourselves. One of our big questions has been whether institutions should grow their own user-centered design groups or hire third parties. Here's where those third parties look to be gathering. It's worth mousing around the conference program. (Michalko)
Priceonomics.com blog • 5 January 2016
Young people are doing a lot more of it than they did 10 years ago… Each year, using what is called the American Time Use Survey, the U.S. government collects data on exactly how Americans spend their time. The results of the survey map out, with incredible detail, the exact number of minutes a representative sample of Americans spend on activities like sleeping, working, playing sports, and talking on the phone. The most recently released data is from 2014. In this blog post the Priceonomics folks focus on the change over ten years in the habits of young adults.
I did not know about this data collection activity. The authors decided to look at the change in use of time for people in their twenties (their definition of young people). Worth looking at their summary analysis. Time spent on educational activities is in the middle of the pack and stayed pretty constant over the decade. It's what takes up the plurality of their time that increased. No it does not have anything to do with a smartphone. (Michalko)
Leaders vs. Empowerment—who wins? The author contends that one of the fundamental inconsistencies in workplaces today is the gap between leaders' desire for "empowered and engaged" employees and what actually ends up happening during the personal interactions of leaders with employees. The goal should be to get everyone thinking and everyone taking responsibility for their behavior.
There's a whiff of management bromide in this article (one more recounting of the Milgram experiments about obedience to authority. Ouch.), but the author ultimately provides some very straightforward practical advice that a mindful manager can follow. It would let people in your organization move up, what he calls, the "ladder of leadership." Eventually the people who say "tell me what to do…" would say instead "I just did…" (Michalko)
fastcompany.com • 12 January 2015
Silos don't develop because of malice or ill-will. Laura Vanderkam summarizes a new survey (from MIT Sloan and London Business School) which finds very few senior managers think they can trust colleagues in different departments. It also finds that two thirds of senior managers can't name their firms' top priorities. She talks about how to change this situation.
For all the talk about employee empowerment it turns out that most staff don't feel empowered to say no. Some companies have even "gone so far as to create 'No' cards that managers are supposed to use a certain number of times per year." So this is how organizational silos get created--we don't share clear priorities and we don't feel that we can say no therefore we don't deliver because we don't know how important it is and then we are not trusted. Rinse, repeat. (Michalko)
P.S. My colleague, Lorcan Dempsey, introduced me to the phrase "cylinders of excellence" as in "They aren't silos, they are cylinders of excellence."
Watch 580 Hours of VHS Footage Condensed into 5 Minutes
Mental Floss • 12 January 2016
Corporate Wellness Programs Make Us Unwell: An Interview with André Spicer
Harvard Business Review • 2015 May
Dr. Gustav Zander's Victorian-Era Exercise Machines Made the Bowflex Look Like Child's Play
YouTube • 8 January 2016
The first because it causes marvel on lots of levels -how many shows you can recognize in millisecond snippets, how much time it took to digitize, how he has another 500 hours to go, how you'd feel after 24 around-the-clock days of watching, how I'd like it as a screensaver etc.
The second because it calls out the insidious guilt and anxiety these programs breed, suggests that it creates a corporate climate where shaming is okay, and explains why they have ruined my relationship to donuts.
The third because a Smithsonian librarian surfaced the images. Their steampunk creepiness has made my gym seem cozy. (Michalko)
Above the Fold Quiz
According to an item in this week's News and Views section, what is the "facilitated collection"?
Get the answer.