Innovation TLA 2010

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This is my presentation from the panel "Innovators, Early Adopters, and the Rest of Us--Getting the Most from Your Library's Technology" at the Texas Library Association Annual Meeting, 2010. I shared the stage with Stephen Abram and John Blyberg and we had a great time!

Transcript of Innovation TLA 2010

Innovators, Early Adoptors, and the Rest of Us

Leah KrevitRice UniversityThe Rest of Us

Innovators, Early Adopters, andThe Rest of UsLeah KrevitRice University

We often think of our users as a group. They are reallyindividuals, devoted to different tasks and goals.We need to think about them as individuals and we need tothink more about them right now than the technology.People. ThenTechnology.User Experience (UX)UsabilityUser InterfaceUser-Centered/User-Centric DesignInformation ArchitectureFindabilityAccessibilityInteraction Design

Resources like this teach us how to listen to users and design library things for them.

Our users are trying to get our attention. We need to make our resources work for them and not make them work to use our resources.Information. Not Format.DigitalPrintOtherWe must learn to be format-neutralCouncil on Library and Information ResourcesA three-report volume will examine key issues in the research library's transition from an analog to a digital environment for knowledge access, preservation, and reconstitution.Can a New Research Library be All-Digital? Lisa Spiro and Geneva HenryOn the Cost of Keeping a Book, Paul Courant and Matthew "Buzzy" NielsenGhostlier Demarcations: Large-Scale Text Digitization Projects and their Utility for Contemporary Humanities Scholarship, report of a CLIR investigation

Your People. Not My People.Who are your users?What are they doing?How are they doing whatever it is?Why are they doing whatever it is?When and where are important, tooSome characteristics are always true (we are all human beings) but others will always differ (I like PC, you like Mac)

Sometimes we completely forget what our users look like!PersonasPersonas and the Role of Design Documentation, Andrew Hinton at Boxes and Arrows, Feb. 26, 2008Personas are not documents, and they are not the result of a step-by-step method that automagically pops out convenient facsimiles of your users. Personas are actually the designers focused act of empathetic imagination, grounded in first-hand user knowledge.So, perhaps Jason Fried is completely on target. We can only design for ourselves. Being aware of it, making it explicit can make us find creative ways of designing for people who are different from us perhaps we need to create experience labs, so that for a while we can live the life of the people we are designing for."

Whose perspective matters most? Yours or theirs? The Librarys or the Users? The Vision ThingIn order to move forward and to innovate for your users, you must have:A visionOf your usersTheir information needs and desiresHow they workCurrent and emerging technologyHow that technology might evolve Where in the stream of that evolution you want to insert your users and your library

The Vision Thing hurts sometimes, so.Fix the Current StuffThe websiteSocial spaces (real and virtual)The catalogThe institutional repositoryThe e-journals/databases listThere is a lot that can be done to improve existing services and products

Fix existing things with personas you havecreated of your user community, narrowingyour group to a few representativesthis experience will help you to develop your vision and determine the innovations you need to implement.Innovate, OrNew management principles which can help transform a library into a more innovative culture:Variety, diversity, experimenting, depoliticizing / depolarizing decision makingFlexible resource allocationEnabling activism through democracy (devolution of accountability, distributed leadership)Engagement and mobilization for a common causeIncreasing the odds and finding serendipityGary Hamel: The Future of Management

Our users are innovating all the time.Failure to InnovateTame The Web, Michael Stephens blog, Apr 13, 2010 3:44 PM Jeff Trzeciak writes about the recent Ithaka ReportMy biggest take away from the report is this quote:If the library shapes its roles and activities based on what is currently most highly appreciated by faculty, it may lose a valuable opportunity to innovate and position itself as relevant in the futureIn order for this to actually take place we have to have librarians with skills and characteristics that lend themselves to marketing/promotion, creativity/innovation, vision and risk. How are these characteristics playing out in our libraries given that we tend to be a profession that values tradition over risk and innovation? Yes, there are many innovators out there but there are many, many more who are not. Too many of us would rather hide behind evidence based librarianship as an excuse for not doing something different than actually attempt something new (and risky).Take a look at the report and Jeffs post. To me, this is another call to arms for library schools to ramp up curriculum around marketing, creativity and innovation. These ideas should also be a part of the process ofrealigning positions and focus of our current employees.

Our users are collaborating all the time.Good EnoughPrinciple of good enough (from Wikipedia): the principle of good enough (sometimes abbreviated to POGE) is a rule for software and systems design. It favours quick-and-simple (but potentially extensible) designs over elaborate systems designed by committees. Once the quick-and-simple design is deployed, it can then evolve as needed, driven by user requirements. Ethernet, the Internet protocol and the World Wide Web are good examples of this kind of design.Examples of this in library activities:Less than perfect catalogingLower resolution scanningMaking new tools (widgets, gadgets, toolbars) available that change so fast you might as well throw them out there for people to use nowStopping The Tweaking

Our users may be waiting, but they are not waiting for us.ObstaclesWalt Crawford (and Eric Schnell), Library Leadership Network blog, July 28, 2009: The Trouble with ConsensusOne of the problems I have with consensus building is that an individual or a small minority can effectively block agreement to a proposal or idea. It unfairly tips the decision-making scales towards a staff member who may simply like existing conditions, which may continue to exist long after the majority would like the conditions changed. Consensus building has the potential to reward the least accommodating group of staff members while punishing those trying to innovate.By giving all group or staff members the right to block any idea or proposal, an organization can essentially be held hostage to an inflexible minority or an individual. The impact this has on a library's ability to create innovative library services can be significant since creative or alternative ideas can be blocked or slowed by a small minority.

Blocking innovation is the same as saying No to users. It makes everyone cranky.Obstacles cont.More from Walt: Discussing Innovation to DeathConsensus building also focuses on the need to discuss the topic ad nauseam and the need to seek the input of anyone who could possibly be affected. This turns decision making into a very time-consuming process. This poses a liability to organizations trying to become more innovative since decisions often need to be made quickly. Since innovative processes often result in half-baked solutions, it is simply not feasible to incorporate the opinions of everyone who could be affected in a reasonable period of time.

I dont know. It feels kinda half-baked.Yeah, it does. Thats okay. Lets just do it.Innovation ExampleSearch10Federated Search Tool at HAM-TMC LibrarySearches the top 10 resources used by the research and education community in the Texas Medical CenterNon-trivial research toolCollaborate with NASADevelopment relationship with Vivisimo

Texas Medical Center Library + NASA Life Sciences Division =innovative collaboration to create innovative solutionCollaborationHAM-TMC LibraryNASA Life Sciences DivisionResearch Tools MatrixTechnical requirementsOpen meetingsNot bound to one anotherjust collaborating in the same problem space2006 2008Read all about it in Library Hi Tech 27 (2), 2009: Discovering discovery tools: evaluating vendors and implementing Web 2.0 environments

Donefor now.29Done. Not Perfect.The Cult of Done Manifesto : Bre Pettis (I Make Things) March, 2009

There are three states of being. Not knowing, action and completion. Accept that everything is a draft. It helps to get it done.There is no editing stage.Pretending you know what you're doing is almost the same as knowing what you are doing, so just accept that you know what you're doing even if you don't and do it.Banish procrastination. If you wait more than a week to get an idea done, abandon it.The point of being done is not to finish but to get other things done.Once you're done you can throw it away.Laugh at perfection. It's boring and keeps you from being done.People without dirty hands are wrong. Doing something makes you right.Failure counts as done. So do mistakes.Destruction is a variant of done. If you have an idea and publish it on the internet, that counts as a ghost of done.Done is the engine of more.

$$$$$$Ways to get things done:Top management buy-in/understandingPoliticalEmotionalRe-align existing budget structuresRe-prioritizeBusiness case: twitch = Twitter PitchOpen sourceInvestigate grants: there are tons of them

That was a cool project, but whats next?On the Horizon2010 Horizon ReportOne Year or Less: Mobile Computing One Year or Less: Open Content Two to Three Years: Electronic Books Two to Three Years: Simple Augmented Reality Four to Five Years: Gesture-Based Computing Four to Five Years: Visual Data Analysis

Our next user?

Website design is moving in new and creative directions and we need to move our library sites along too, with user-centered design and making content more easily accessible and usable.CreativesWe are making things for themThey are making things for usWe need themGo find them Hire them Support themSome of them are already librariansSome of them are notGet as many as you can

Creatives often look like this

and this.All images provided by Flickr, morguefile, and deviantart

Wordle by Wordle

Screencaps by me

Thanks for this opportunity to share with you!Leah [email protected]