10 rules for crushing innovation ...

[ Note: Discovered tonight in my drafts. Although my November talk is over, I think the list is still to good not to share. Edit date shows I orginally wrote it in early Sept. ]

In November I’ll be doing a talk on innovation at OLC’s Innovative Environments conference this year. And if you read my blog often then you know that this a subject area that I am very interested in.

Thanks to Steven Bell at Designing Better Libraries for pointing to this article from University Business on “10 simple rules for crushing innovation and maintaining a culture of inertia

1. Request a formal written proposal.
2. Send the proposal to a committee.
3. Schedule meetings to discuss the concept.
4. Lose the proposal.
5. No money in the budget.
6. "Have you talked to ... about it?"
7. "We don't, haven't, won't, can't ..."
8. "Sounds exciting, but I'll need more details."
9. "Yes, but ..."
10. Quote Nancy Reagan and "just say no."

I think we’ve all witnessed some of rules these in practice, and just maybe even used some of these ourselves. Ok, I admit I’ve been guilty myself in the past of #s 1, 6 & 8. But I’ve worked hard to change # 8 from "more details" to “I’m right behind you and happy to support your leadership on the project.”

With large bureaucracies, formalizing and socializing ideas is unfortunately necessary in order to move ideas forward. It’s hard work navigating through red-tape channels, but from experience I’ve learned that if you’re persistent and demonstrate leadership (this second item I can’t stressed enough) the effort is worth it. The tape also becomes weaker the second ( and third, forth, etc …)time around.

At the Innovative Environments conference in November, I will speaking to some of these points from both the employee/idea generator and leadership perspective. It's important to understand that innovation is more then implementing great ideas. In order to get to the "doing new things" stage you have to get your ideas noticed.

Read the full article and anticipate the red-tape. Then brainstorm ways to demonstrate your 1) passion 2) vision & 3) leadership. Everyone has these qualities in some shape or form. It's just to what degree do we share them with others.

PS: And if you're in Columbus on Nov 6 & 7th, why not join me attending the Innovative Environments conference. From the line-up of speakers and guests, I'm really looking forward to it.

PPS: My talk is opposite three heavy hitters (Joe Branin, Andrew Pace & Stephen Abram) so I'm little nervous.

My Dewey Decimal Classification

[ a just for fun post]

According to this little finding aid, my dewey classification is 023 Personnel Management. TBH I find this funny and a bit scary at the same time.

Helene Blowers's Dewey Decimal Section:

023 Personnel management

000 Computer Science, Information & General Works

Encyclopedias, magazines, journals and books with quotations.

What it says about you:
You are very informative and up to date. You're working on living in the here and now, not the past. You go through a lot of changes. When you make a decision you can be very sure of yourself, maybe even stubborn, but your friends appreciate your honesty and resolve.

Find your Dewey Decimal Section at

Thanks Ridiculooogy and Rock Me Like a Librarian for posting.

Thing 20: YouTube

Ok, here’s another post to cross another Learn & Play activity off my list. I’ve been a fan and user of YT since long before (if you can call 14 months long) it was acquired by Google. Here’s a lost little video I uploaded in early 2007 that shows a collaborative art project that I created along with several dozen other strangers on

If you haven't tried out the, try it out. Collaborative art is fun!

Thing 19: CML Power Tools

For thing 19 of Learn & Play, we are encouraged to check out CML’s Power Tools page and since I’ve already blogged about power tools page before here on LibraryBytes, I’m taking the easy out on this exercise and just pointing you to my earlier post.

To date, I think I heard that 156 staff have already completed this journey, with many more trying to wrap up (as am I) before the December 6th deadline hits. For those of you still blogging and moving through your things, keep the faith. You can do it! The home stretch is almost here. Keep on learning … I'm right there with you!

Thing 18: Web 2.0 Fun

So for my 18th thing for Learn & Play, I chose the Fun Stuff category to explore. Hairmixer, listed as #2 on the this year’s’s Web 2.0 Awards, looked too much fun to pass up. Here are my results. BTW feel free to giggle :)

I think it’s safe to say that I definitely can’t pull off the Pink and Paris Hilton looks and I just don’t have the locks to maintain a Catherine Zeta Jones. Still it was fun.

Ok, only four more things to do for L&P.


Help us tell our story by telling yours

When I ran into Nancy Dowd at Internet Librarian just a month ago she mentioned that a fabulous new marketing campaign was in the works from the New Jersey State Library. She was right. Take a look for yourself...

Tell Us Your Story

Wow! I love it and can't wait to see the results.

The religion of “best practice”

Dave Ferguson left a comment on my blog yesterday that stuck such a resounding cord with me that I was motivated to flickrize it. Here’s the result:

After I did some crafting on this new image -- which you can bet will also show up in some future presentation of mine -- I stumbled across this thought-provoking post from Bailey WorkPlay:

Best Practices encourage the belief that there is just one true path.
Ever hear a consultant or industry peer tout best practices like they were written in stone and brought down from the mountain by Moses himself? They preach that all someone has to do is simply install these practices into their organization and they’ll score easy rewards. They’ll argue quite strongly that to ignore best practices is to needlessly “recreate the wheel” and waste valuable resources. It’s enough to make you feel like a sucker if you don’t immediately sign up to learn as many best practices as possible. But let’s be frank…the sucker turns out to be the blind adherent to the religion of best practices. Hopefully, this isn’t you.”

Read the full post, Tools of the Devil- Best Practices and let me know if you agree.

From an innovation standpoint, I can definitely see how blindly subscribing to “best practices” can definitely lead to the death of innovation. However, learning from "best practices" is another thing. The religion of learning I will always subscribe too!

Related thoughts: Best practice or fresh practice?


My 7 year-old's definition of community

My youngest's definition of community

Not only is it a library... it's a library online !

... with sponge bob the librarian handing out ice cream :)


Innovation: You won't find it inside the circles

I've had this index card tagged in my newsreader for over two weeks now. Just last night I revisited it and found myself pondering the “C” and how much Jessica Hagy has really hit this one on the head ... and squarely!

But it worked in the 90s!

To be honest the comments on Jessica's blog really say it best. Once you try to wrap “best practices” into the confines of standard operating procedures you kill the very nature that made them best practices to begin. Bottom line --- You can't indoctrinate something that owes its attractiveness to innovation.

Anyway, I have feeling I will be able to use this image somehow in some future presentation (yup, that's why I'm posting it here) In the meantime, I'm convinced that real opportunity in this image lies not inside any of the circles, but in the larger white space outside the spheres ... that's where you really find innovation.

Latest Cookbook from MaintainIt

The long awaited 3rd technology cookbook is finally out MaintainIT and for me, I must admit, that this cookbook is perhaps my favorite. The “Planning for Success” cookbook offers a slew of best practices for planning, building and managing computer technology in libraries. Topics include TCO ( Total cost of ownership), leasing vs buying, remote desktop applications and even a section of what to consider when evlauting and implementing social media tools in your library. Best of all, this cookbook, along with the other two, is completely FREE.

MaintainIT “Joy of Computing cookbooks:

PS: Don’t forget to check out the FREE webinars MaintainIT offers, too!

Proposals Sought for Grassroots Programs at 2009 ALA Annual Conference

For year’s I have been annoyed at the program submittal process for ALA conferences. Specifically, the provision that many ALA divisions practice that require program submissions to be “sponsored” by a committee, group or a division member. To me this policy extremely limits new voices from participating in national conferences...

Well, low and behold & I might add, a huge kudos to Jim Rettig, ALA President, for creating a new avenue for new talent to participate. This came through email today...

Proposals Sought for Grassroots Programs at 2009 ALA Annual Conference

Do you have a great idea for an Annual Conference program but don’t belong to a committee or other group that can plan and produce a program? As part of ALA President Jim Rettig’s “Creating Connections” initiatives, you are invited to submit a proposal for a program to take place at the 2009 ALA Annual Conference July 9-15 in Chicago.

The purpose of a Grassroots Program is:

  • To expand opportunity for participation in ALA by giving members who do not belong to committees or boards within ALA an opportunity to plan and produce a program at the Annual Conference
  • To provide programs at the Annual Conference that address very current issues by compressing to the greatest degree possible the program planning schedule
  • To enrich the variety and quality of programs at the Annual Conference.
    Proposals can be submitted by a single ALA personal member or by any group of ALA members who do not serve together on a committee or board within ALA. Proposals can address any topic of interest to ALA members. Proposals must be original; they cannot replicate a program previously presented at an ALA Annual Conference, Midwinter Meeting or national divisional conference. Proposals previously submitted to a committee, board or task force in ALA, one of its divisions or one of its round tables, cannot be resubmitted

Proposals will be judged on:
  • Relevance of the program’s topic to ALA members and the profession at large
  • Timelines
  • Knowledge of proposed speaker(s) on the topic
  • Originality – i.e., the degree to which the proposed program looks at a topic in a new and fresh way or treats a topic that has not received as much attention as it deserves, either because it is very new or due to some other factor

Proposals can address ALA’s key action areas:
  • Diversity
  • Equitable Access to Information and Library Services
  • Education and Lifelong Learning
  • Intellectual Freedom
  • Advocacy for Libraries and the Profession
  • Literacy
  • Organizational Excellence or other areas.

A jury will select up to 10 programs to take place during the conference. The jury will be made up of members of the student ALA chapters at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and UCLA as well as several members of Jim Rettig’s presidential initiatives advisory committee.

Each selected program will be listed in the program book for the 2009 ALA Annual Conference and will be noted as being part of the Grassroots Program Track as a juried program. You are also welcome to publicize your program by whatever means you would like, but please indicate that it is part of the “Grassroots Program Track.”

Each program will be allotted a $500 budget to cover speaker costs or other expenditures.

Additional information and a submission form can be found at

Deadline for submission is Feb. 6, 2009.

All I can say is ... Yay!


Too good an opportunity not to tout …

Boulder Public Library has just announced the type of leadership opportunity that makes me smile.
“The Library Innovation and Technology (LIT) Manager will be a visionary, energetic member of Boulder Public Library’s Leadership Team. The Manager will be responsible for supporting leading-edge technology and digital services into the fabric of the library’s mission and on-going activities. A strong dedication to innovation and rapid integration of services is necessary. The LIT Manager will work with all Public Library departments to maximize the resources of the public library in order to create meaningful and remarkable services, programs and experiences for internal and external customers.”

To be honest if I wasn’t totally thrilled with my move to CML this past year [don’t worry CML, I am :)] I might be tempted. But since I know that there has to be at least one person (or two) out there reading my blog who might be motivated by a fabulous opportunity like this, I just had to share. Get more information here and here.


Last Friday was a long day for me. I flew into NYs JFK, drove to Merrick, NY, found a little deli for lunch, gave a three hour (yes, three hours) talk to a great group of librarians from the Long Island Library Resources Council and then jumped back into a car to return to JFK for an 8pm flight home.

It always amazes me when my timing on my talks comes out just right. 120 slides and 3 hours – that’s a long time to talk and a lot of information to share. When I glanced at the clock upon advancing to my last slide, the hands said 3:29 – just one minute to spare :)

For those in attendance, here are my slides:

It’s Not About Us: Exploring Social Media Strategies in Libraries


Thing 17: Online Applications & Slideshare

I am a big fan of online applications and online storage. Online apps not only allow people to easily collaborate, they are the ultimate storage safety net. For me is a pseudo online app that has come to my rescue on more than one occasion. Although in the trust sense, some might not call it an online app (because you can't really create presentations slide with it) you can create slidecasts (audio slideshows) from presentations you upload.

Anyway, as I said Slideshare has come to my rescue on more then occasion. By hosting my slideshows on the web, I have access to them where ever I go – even when I forget to bring along my thumb drive.

So for my blog post about Thing 17 on CML's Learn & Play, I thought I'd highlight Slideshare. And i just noticed that they have a new widget that allows me to share all my upload presentations in a “presentation pack”

Pretty neat, hey? Just another reason to love Slideshare.

OK, I'm on the home stretch for Learn & Play, only 6 more things to blog :)


Thing 15: JFK vs Nixon (aka The Blog vs Wiki debate)

Thing 15 of the CML Learn & Play challenge asks you to comment on your findings about wikis. Here's a discovery I made tonight... who'd have thunk that JFK and Nixon actually debated the merits of Blogs vs Wikis over 40 years ago. I'm Serious... have a look :)

PS: Watching this video makes me wonder how this topic might have played out in a Obama / McCain showdown. On second thought, I think we already know. But, if your curious at all on learning about how the Obama camp successfully engaged the public through social media like blogs and wikis, MIT Technology Review had a great cover story on his campaign's use of online tools last month titled, How Obama Really Did It.

Even if your not an Obama fan, from a social media standpoint it's an interesting read.


Analyze your blog – Use at your own risk :)

Here’s a list of a few fun blog analyzers that supposedly offer up some insights into your blog and writing style. Note: I can’t validate the scientific integrity of any of these tools. I share them here for your pure amusement purposes only :)

  • Typealyzer – provides a Myers-Briggs type analysis of your blog and shows you the area of the brain that your writing style reflects most.

  • Genderanalyzer – determines what sex you write like.

  • Readability Test - Determine what grade level your blog is written at.

  • What is your blog worth - Determines your blog worth based upon Technorati ranking and advertising potential.

And just for the record, here are my results: ISTJ, Woman, High school*, $47,569

Note: The first time I did the readability test (well over a year ago) my blog reading level was “elementary school.” Guess my detention hall tutoring has paid off :)


Thing 14: Thoughts & perspectives

I have to admit, trying to follow along with CML’s Learn & Play program by blogging each of things has had its challenges. Not because of time, but rather because 90% of the exercises in the program are one’s that I created. Indeed it’s been a strange sort of challenge to be on the “learner” side of the program this time. But the L&P team has been doing such a great job at coordinating and leading the effort, I feel in way obligated to try my best to support the program by participating along with staff.

For exercise 14, participants are asked reflect on a one or two perspectives on how 2.0 is affecting libraries. In answer to this question, I offer up one simple response … just read my blog.

In fact started this blog over four years ago in an effort to keep onto of the shift I was beginning to see. Here is first post.

In looking through the archives, Feb 05 marks my first entry with mention of anything 2.0. My good friend Michael Casey coined the phrase in what seems so very long ago and I guess in web-time is was. 4 years has truly gone by fast.

Anyway, if you’re wondering at all what my perspectives are on libraries and the shift, just grab any two month’s archives at random. You’ll see it’s forever evolving. :)


The Shift: In case you haven't noticed...

... it's accelerating... and fast! This just in.

U.S. News & World Report Abandons Print for Web

Friday, November 7, 2008 11:21 AM

WASHINGTON — U.S. News & World Report, long the number three newsmagazine in the United States behind Time and Newsweek, has become the latest U.S. media outlet to abandon print for the Web.

The move to become an Internet-focused publication was announced to U.S. News employees in a memorandum on Tuesday from management of the magazine.

"We're accelerating this transformation in response to our rapid growth online where our audience is now about 7 million uniques a month and growing," U.S. News president Bill Holiber and editor Brian Kelly said in the memo.

"For all of you who have worked so hard to make this transition possible, say good-bye to Web 2.0 and welcome to Journalism 5.0," they added. ...

The shift to the Web by U.S. News comes just a week after the 100-year-old Christian Science Monitor announced plans to end its daily print edition and become the first national U.S. newspaper to become entirely Web-based.

On a side note. This announcement takes care of eliminating the only periodical that my household gets. It's been a steady gift that was renewed by my in laws for us every year at X-mas. I think originally it was my FIL's idea and attempt to influence our political views, but since both my in laws past away over a year ago and we still get the magazine, I think they must have paid our subscription out at least five years advanced.

I must admit this news saddens me a bit. Not because I'll miss the magazine in post each week ... but because I'll miss the weekly memories it triggers of my ILs (I was fortunate to have great ones, too) every time it arrives in the mail.


Election 08 - We Feel Fine

A collection of images and thoughts captured from We Feel Fine tonight.

Election 08 - We Feel Fine
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: election)

9:48 pm -- The election results aren’t final yet, but if these images and thoughts are any indication, it feel goods to exercise democracy

Encouraging Organizational Innovation

Encouraging innovation at an organizational level can be a stretch for many libraries. “How do I change the culture?” is one question I’m asked often at conferences when I speak and more often the question goes further depending upon who is asking it. From front-line employees and middle management it’s “if administration/management isn’t willing to change.” From administrators and upper managers, it’s “if our front-line managers/employees aren’t willing to change.”

The funny thing for me, is that almost every time I get this question, what I find is that the person asking it really doesn’t want to hear advice on how to change their organization through their own behavior, they want someone else to change theirs instead. This is sorta the premise for my talk tomorrow at the Innovative Environments conference which is appropriately titled “Innovation starts with “I” and, yes ... it’s totally true. Innovation starts at the individual level. Organizations that recognize this and create environments that tap into their employees individuals’ strengths can create a cascading effect that elevates innovation throughout the entire organization.

No matter where you are on the org. chart ladder, you can play a critical role in encouraging innovation in your organization. The key is that you have to be willing to work at innovation from your own organizational perspective in order to build the trust and relationships (either up, down or sideways) which in turns enables innovation to flow throughout the rest of it.

Granted, innovation works faster when all levels of the organization are working in tandem on this. But if your organization bumbling or if you find yourself asking the questions I shared in the first paragraph above, I suggest that the first is really asking yourself, "what can I begin to do now/differently to help move my organization forward?"

For those that are curious or in attendance tomorrow at the Innovative Environments conference, here are my slides.

Innovation Start with "I"
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: innovation)

PS: If your in attendance, please be sure to also stop me and say “hi”

PSS: A huge nod to Tony Tallent, who co-presented an earlier variation of this talk with me at CIL last year. Wish you could be there too!


Which comes first... the container, conduit or community?

I’ve been thinking a lot about community, containers and conduit. In fact, I’ve been thinking about it ever since I heard Howard Rheingold’s opening keynote at Internet Librarian two weeks ago in Monterey. Howard (Smart Mobs author) offered up a lot of great thoughts on collective action, co-creation of knowledge, and technologies as community enablers. But what surprised me most was the last few slides he ended on, or rather I should say, the final technology website he pointed us to, - a "free and open-source web service that provides teachers and learners with an integrated set of social media" tools for creating community around classroom curriculum.

As soon as Howard unveiled this new free portal (which I have to admit, does in fact look and sound like a pretty awesome set of tools for educators) my brain started spinning and I quickly tweeted this NTS.

Howard's last slides got me wondering ... why after just guiding us through a great talk about all these ideas about unstructured co-creation and self-assembling collectives, did he end by focusing/showcasing a new community “container” instead of focusing on the conduit connectors of self-forming communities? The answer in my mind is a little bit rhetorical… it’s because our definition of community is still rooted by the “container” and containers are much easier to build then connections.

Connections are made and enabled through conduit. Conduit by its definition is a “channel through which something (as a fluid) is conveyed.” It’s what enables connections to be made regardless of the container type. And, it’s really what enables online communities to form and gain momentum as connections are made across “containers” between different members’ “community containers” of choice. Therefore in trying to create online communities for libraries ( or any other organization for that matter) does it make more sense to focus our resources, time and effort on trying to create “new containers” for communities to assemble in, or does it make more sense to focus our efforts on creating “connecters” that enables community building to transcend and bridge across “container” boundries?

As you might be able to see, I’ve been fumbling around with this thought for awhile now trying to sort out something cohesive enough to post out here on blog. Although I don’t have my thoughts sorted out just yet (although I’ve made a first attempt here), I’m really curious about anyone else’s thoughts to this question … “Is a “container” required/necessary to create an online community?” and if not, “then what/where is the best way/place to start?”

Anyone got any thoughts?