“Respond in the field to what’s really happening.” – Sebastian Thrun. Not coincidentally, this is also a law of good improvisation.
Ideas can distract
At the 99u conference (yes, I’m still writing about it) Thrun said that we must always reinvent ourselves – any long term company or organization must. He recommended rapid prototyping to keep moving forward. Here’s the video of his talk.
“Solve societal problems first (and the money will come later).” Of course, this is easy to say when you have significant money up front to experiment.
Mr Thrun and the MOOC monster
Thrun didn’t want to speak much about his work in education, but he did say we’re a bunch of doubters who believe the 1:1 faculty to student ratio is essential. I don’t know if that’s true, but he has a salient point when he says that educators can’t use the past 1,000 years to predict the next 1,000.
One example: his five year old thinks a magazine is broken if it doesn’t respond to his touch the way an iPad does.
So, libraries must respond to what’s really happening. One that I frequently hear about leading the curve is North Carolina State University.
Which academic libraries do you consider inspired in their responsiveness?
I am responsible for communications and public programs at an academic library, and my librarian friends say this is an unusual position. I’m glad to be one of the first, but I hope I’m not alone in this role for long. (Are others out there? If so, please let me know!)
It’s a fabulous role to play, making memorable programs and shining a light on the library. This role is one way that our library addresses the prevalent question:
How do we show the campus and community we are a valuable partner?
The showing not telling is a very important distinction.
You are a unique and special person; an independent thinker who does not accept others’ statements without satisfactory proof. I used to think that too until I read about “fifty quid bloke” many years ago and realized that I was not so special after all.
Admittedly, fifty quid bloke has moved on to be replaced by “Top Gear Tiger” which is definitely not me, but I’m sure there’s a marketing guru out there who knows me better than I know myself. Read more
The internet introduced me to Charlotte Morford via a design blog.
One of my first charges after I arrived at the library was to put together the annual publication. In my research, I discovered the amazing University of Virginia Library annual reports. Have you seen them? They’re gorgeous and informative and inspired.
Charlotte is the Director of Communications at the University of Virginia Library and among many other things, hired the design firm Design Army to produce the publications. Luckily, she’s been very kind in sharing her experiences with me, and now, with you.
When Karen and I kick back and talk about libraries over a large Yogurito on the rocks (Japan’s #1 yogurt based liqueur), one of the themes that we find ourselves returning to is that librarians put ourselves under too much pressure. By claiming expertise in so many disparate fields, we can’t possibly do more than bluff our way through many of them. Our answer is that we need to take the pressure off and give each other permission to not know stuff. Read more
One key recurring theme I got out of the 99U Conference in New York City was people. In short, you need to put them at the center; listen to them and make them feel good.
Indeed, we acknowledge our shared humanity by creating an empathetic experience. So, making something better is an act of compassion.