Ten Years Out

(Also posted at ALA L2, but I wanted this post to be open for comments from any and all too)

Good Morning all from Northern Michigan! I hope you had a good holiday weekend!

I’m reading Taylor’s meditation on innovation from the Public Innovator’s Lab:

In our western culture, corporate wealth rises and falls on quarterly reports. We don’t repaint. Instead, structures less than twenty years old are razed in favor of new retail facades. We are too willing to tear down and start anew. We are enamored of the innovative pilot projects when we haven’t let our previous efforts take hold. Defying the spirit of Iroquis thinking, we do not evaluate the long-term consequences of our decisions or think about the footprint that we leave for future generations. How can we consider the impact of our decisions on the seventh generation when we can’t consider the impact of our decisions on the current generation ten years out?

This paragraph should be included in planning materials for libraries! Not only technology planning, but planning of all kinds. This post brings to mind some questions I hope we are considering as we implement change in our organizations and association:

How many projects are you juggling right now? How many are on target and are moving smoothly?

Have you let go of failed plans or pilots and learned from them? (and communicated that learning to all involved?)

What is the method of evaluation for a new service? What is the needed ROI (Return on Investment) to make that project a success?

Is the service flixible enough to change over time as technology, users (members?) and society does as well?

What unintended consequences might appear? (Brainstorm, research and ask your users for input to figure what some may be)

How sustainable is that new technology and does it allow us to move on to better systems without a lot of issue?

Most important of all: in a climate of constant change, how do we keep that balance of community need with rapid decision making and innovation?

I’ll urge you to go read Michael Casey’s incredible piece on Vertical Teams and change.