One of the purposes of this blog is to feature and explore innovation in libraries. Staying relevant and succeeding in the coming decade will require that libraries undergo reinvention and renewal through intentional, ongoing practices within our organizations and in partnerships with others. Using the so-called “Google 9” principles of innovation (there are several variations around the Web), I am proposing the following adaptations and elaboration for libraries:
1. Ideas come from everywhere — anyone in any unit or department, regardless of position can propose an innovative idea and it will be considered.
2. Innovation, not instant perfection – test early and often and evaluate based on small versions or pilot projects.
3. License to pursue dreams – allow individuals opportunities and flexibility to pursue ideas and concepts that interest them (and that are relevant to creating/sustaining an innovative organization).
4. Morph projects, don’t kill them – there are often useful, effective elements of programs or services that can be preserved or transferred to a renewed or updated version or to other initiatives.
5. Share as much information as you can – ensure internal mechanisms are in place that enable collaboration.
6. Users, users, users – continually bring their focus and feedback into discussions around planning, implementing and evaluating programs and services.
7. Data is apolitical – organizational hierarchy, authority and influence still matter, but be rigorous in the use of metrics.
8. Creativity loves constraints – articulate the vision, then set parameters for available resources and timelines or deadlines.
9. You’re brilliant? We’re hiring – recognize innovators when you see them, hire them if you can, or if you can’t, consider collaboration or other ways to get them involved.
While innovation is commonly tied to technology, it’s also important to focus on non-technological means to find new and creative ways of offering or supporting programs and services that are linked to the needs of users.