October 22, 2012, 1:08 pm
In seven days I’ll be giving a talk on R&D for academic libraries but here is the enhanced version of the conference paper. This is a follow-up (actually a sequel) to Think Like A Startup. I described the intentions of this paper last month so I’ll save us all from repetition. The key point is that assessment programs should be engines for change seeking progress not sustainment.
I reread the paper on Saturday and the thing that stood out was how much content I had to cut in order to get it into the ballpark of the conference’s word limitations.
If this paper is too long for you (or if you think assessment is boring) then at least go watch Dan Pink’s Ted Talk. The part about “functional fixedness” is critical and it highlights the potential tunnel vision we can develop preventing us from empowering the evolution of libraries.
Another key point is the need to…
October 19, 2012, 1:15 pm
We celebrated Open Access this week since we had Cameron Neylon (PLoS) on campus for a few days as part of our Distinguished Innovator in Residence program. I’ll have more to share about that later, but today I wanted to highlight an interesting component of our OA program: The Knowledge Drive.
Rebecca Miller developed the concept so I’ll let her tell the story:
Late last spring, I watched people line up to give blood at a Virginia Blood Services drive on campus. I thought about what made it to successful; VBS had advertised the need for blood, so there was awareness on campus. The drive was also convenient, since VBS took the blood drive to where potential donors were, rather than waiting for donors to come to them. Donors were also receiving items like T-shirts, flip flops, or stickers that let others know that they were contributing to a greater good.
October 4, 2012, 12:51 pm
I was deeply involved in writing a strategic plan this summer. Actually—technically—it was a response to Virginia Tech’s long-range plan, but still– it is a vision for the future of our library. Many people contributed to this effort and we knocked it out in 90 days.
We spent time envisioning higher education in the near future and then imagining roles that libraries would need to fulfill. I prefer this to the more traditional (continuous) department-centered approach based on “making what we currently do a little better”— our effort was an attempt to design an aspirational vision.
We thought of future libraries abstractly as…
- a platform for student success and faculty innovation in a global context.
- a hub for strategic partnerships.
- a regenerating entity that adapts to changing user needs and expectations.
More on those ideas:
October 1, 2012, 2:14 pm
I took my son to an office store this weekend. We went down the desktop aisle: they had four. By the time he’s a teenager desktops will be faded memories. He already has his own iPad.
This semester I’m participating in a seminar titled Awakening the Digital Imagination: A Networked Faculty-Staff Development Seminar. We’re using the New Media Reader and it’s loaded with all the classics: V. Bush, Licklider, Engelbart, Kay, etc. Each week we read an essay and discuss the foundations of computers and the web. We’re encouraged to blog our thoughts and so I’ll devote a few posts here to that experience.
Over the last few weeks I’ve been thinking a lot about my early encounters with computers. I can’t recall the first one I ever saw or typed on, but it must have been in elementary school. I know my…
September 26, 2012, 2:43 pm
If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter then you’ve heard me talk about the paper I was writing over the summer. It’s for ARL’s Assessment Conference and at one point it was over 14,000 words.
It was probably one of the most challenging things I’ve written because of time (3 months) and space (5,000 word max) limitations. The background reading was amazing; I skimmed 30 books and read nearly 50 articles, blog posts, and reports. I immersed myself into R&D culture. And sadly there was so much material I couldn’t use and even worse, so much material that I just didn’t have time to read.
I had two objectives with this paper:
- I wanted it to be a follow-up or sequel to Think Like a Startup. That paper resonated with a lot of people, so my working title was “operate like an R&D lab.” I took the section about assessment and gave it it’s own platform. I…
September 5, 2012, 1:33 pm
Quick post to get this blog rolling again.
Last week our Herman Miller rep dropped off a SPUN chair for us to try out. As soon as I saw it I had a negative reaction. It was just too silly and impractical. When you spin around in it you feel like you’re going to fall off.
The story could have ended there.
The next day I heard library staff talking about it. They had seen it in the mailroom when it arrived and in the lobby of the Dean’s Office. It was mysterious. It was unusual. It was cool. Had I missed the point?
Like any good startup I knew that we had to test the concept with potential users. We put it out on the main floor and invited students to share their thoughts on Facebook and to tag the library.
Last night we had eight students offer comments, two included photos of themselves in the chair. That’s pretty good for the second week of …
July 23, 2012, 3:48 pm
I’ve been thinking a lot about caterpillars lately. I read the Very Hungry Caterpillar to my son every night and it always makes me think of organizations going through transformative change.
What’s fascinating to me isn’t just the physical transformation that occurs. Obviously sprouting wings and becoming more colorful is amazing, but the internal composition changes too. Their appetites change. Their digestive systems change. But what really gets me is the perception-shifting that must occur. Imagine you’re stuck crawling on the ground and slowly climbing trees, flowers and bushes then suddenly you’re able to fly–to move nimbly. Imagine the cognitive transformation that first day when life is about exploring a much wider universe.
You think ARL will be ok with me citing a children’s book? I also want to pitch Willy Wonka as the role model for R&D. That’s for another …
June 19, 2012, 5:36 pm
Last week at the New Media Consortium Summer Conference Joichi Ito gave a talk in which he built upon the concept: “the Internet is a philosophy.” It’s not about servers or websites. It’s not about mobile devices or mobile apps. It’s a philosophy. It’s not a technology—it’s a belief system. His presentation was based upon his NY Times essay from last December.
This came up during a recent conversation with Gardner Campbell. BTW: I recommend reading his Foo Camp chronicles. Basically, everything is a philosophy:
All this stuff is based on a cogitative narrative. They are beliefs that were developed into a tangible concept—but at the heart, at the molecular level, they are still just ideas. Ideas that could be morphed, remixed, or…
June 7, 2012, 8:03 pm
Just got off the phone with Eric Ries and I’m sure I came off as a total fan boy. His work was a huge influence on my white paper. Anyway, we talked about lean startup in higher education. Here are a few notes: (typed super quickly)
Change the Content/Context
He made the common argument that universities were designed for a different era, and that even newly launched universities follow the same old model. He talked a bit about this with the Washington Post.
The problem he sees is that this worked with the older social contract: you attend, get degree, get into a profession, and then retire. The problem is that this social contract is being re-negotiated by the job market—and universities are still operating under the old contract.
Eric is an evangelist for entrepreneurialism—he argues that this skillset/mindset is invaluable to…