Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The Librarian’s Google-y Guide to Innovation



By Beth McGough, Communications and Creative Services Manager

Kathy Chin Leong recently wrote for Fast Company about Google’s nine principles of innovation. These principles drive Google’s culture and successes from the revolutionary search engine to self-driving cars and virtual reality.
What can libraries gain from Google’s nine principles of innovation?
Innovation comes from anywhere
Who is coming up with new ideas in your library? The director, managers? What about the student workers, pages or circulation clerks? The workers on the frontlines can provide valuable insights and solutions to provide better service for patrons.
Focus on the user
Some librarians are guilty of focusing inward and creating webpages full of jargon or teaching researchers as if they too were librarians. Hyper focus on the user can solve these common missteps and improve the user’s experience.
Aim to be ten times better
“If you come into work thinking that you will improve things by ten percent, you will only see incremental change. If you want radical and revolutionary innovation, think 10 times improvement, and that will force you to think outside the box.” Kathy Chin Leong
Bet on technical insights
Take stock of insights about your library and users. Don’t be afraid to implement new services based on these insights. It could be revolutionary!
Give employees 20 percent time
This is a hard one for time-strapped librarians. But, even taking a little time to explore outside of one’s job description can result in inventive new services. 
Default to open processes
Libraries are naturally open environments. Foster this open atmosphere to tap into your library users for great ideas.
Fail well
"Failure is actually a badge of honor," [Google's chief social evangelist, Gopi Kallayil] says. "Failure is the way to be innovative and successful. You can fail with pride."
Have a mission that matters
Libraries have been practicing this principle as long libraries have existed. Kallayil affirms this is the most important principle.
This post was originally published on the ProQuest Blog

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