November 23, 2009

If you build will require many trips to Home Depot to finish it.

I attended the first in a series of presentations arranged by the University of Minnesota Libraries this morning. We've* arranged for six (6) big names in the library world to address our staff on our six strategic areas of focus.

This morning we** heard from Lorcan Dempsey***, VP at Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) about "Discovery and Delivery."

One of the things he said that drew my attention was that, in today's environment of scarce attention, if something takes a lot of effort to obtain (e.g.**** it has a "high transaction cost"), It is the same as if it didn't exist.


* as in "people other than myself, but I work here so I am going to "we" this
** this time "we" does include me
*** Hey, I told you it was big names in the library world, right?
**** Or is it i.e. ?

May 13, 2009

Failure IS an Option

I created a workshop called "How to Fail." I facilitated it last year and the evaluations were positive. Basically, it looks at how failure is a necessary part of learning, creativity, and progress. If you aren't occasionally falling flat on your face, you probably aren't stretching yourself hard enough to experience the many lessons life has to offer.

If an organization can embrace failure - even encourage failure - it would go a long way toward breaking down the stifling, lackluster, and change-averse cultures of blame and mistrust.

The other day I engaged in a hearty round of failure. It was neither awe-inspiring nor invigorating. It was awful.

Continue reading "Failure IS an Option" »

April 15, 2009

Drive-by Decisions on the Rise. Film at 11:00.

Over the past few years, I've seen an interest in learning how to make "data-driven" decisions. This means that business and strategic choices get made by looking at actual data so the decisions are based on reality more than assumptions.

Something about it has always made me slightly uncomfortable, but I never put my finger on it. Today, talking with a previous boss, she said something that clicked it all in place for me. "Wouldn't it be better," she said, "if we allowed ourselves to be data-informed?"

That's it, exactly. I think that is probably the intent behind data-driven decision making already, and I think the wording doesn't reflect that. The idea of "informed" rather than "driven" allows for the voice of experience, of intuition, of creativity, of justice, to all be part of the package. It is the difference between making a decision based on information and knowledge, and making one based on information, knowledge, and wisdom.