Deepening the Conversation

thinking about questions of authority, technology, learning, and 2.0 in academic libraries


2 Comments

Innovation, Dispositions, and my love for JSB

I have a confession.

I have a huge girly intellectual crush on someone. I just can’t stop thinking about John Seely Brown. I was introduced to him last month at Internet Librarian, where he gave the first keynote (embedded at end of post) and set the tone and theme for the whole conference. He brought together notions of play, innovation, 21st century learning and skills, and introduced me to a word I’ve been looking for for years (dispositions).   I can’t tell you how many times I’m thinking about something else, and suddenly, I’m thinking about JSB.

Just now, I was thinking about a conversation I’ve been taking part in about innovation, and realized that JSB’s dispositions are the answer!

So, in this conversation, someone said they didn’t always think innovation was the answer, since it was somewhat unaccountable; constant change without reference or viability or cost-effectiveness or even whether or not the new things were appropriate for users and audience. Maybe somethings shouldn’t change? The proposed alternative was to support creativity. And while I certainly think creativity should be supported, I’m still pretty hung up on innovation as an organizational good.

The conversation spun off into another thread, where Dean Dad’s recent post about the cutting edge and retaining desktop computers was recommended as a thought piece about why innovation isn’t always a good.  Sometimes the old clunky tried-and-true needs to stick around for a reason.

Dean Dad is absolutely right. And, while I might be inclined to say that there is an innovation impulse behind his assertions, I realize that I may be defining innovation idiosyncratically.  I think I mean a willingness to explore every opportunity, to be willing to let go of what’s familiar and comfortable, to be willing to buck trends and step out in front, to think out of the box, to try new ideas (even if the new idea is an old idea), to not accept “because we’ve always done so” or “let’s form a task force to investigate” as acceptable answers. To lead when  you have a new thing to try, to follow only when following suits your users needs. To do whichever for good reason, not because or for knee jerk or unexplored reasons.

I think I mean a disposition.

JSB lists 3 dispositions essential for success.

  • Curiosity.                Amplify it.
  • Questing.                 Probe, seek, uncover
  • Connectivity.          Learning with & from each other

JSB points out the half life of skills has radically shortened, and that learning new skills is not something that we will be able to manage by returning to school. We need to develop certain dispositions, and foster them (not teach, they can’t be taught) in our users/patrons/learners. We have to foster these dispositions in ourselves, our colleagues, our students. And doing so comes from supporting play, tinkering, and learning.

I think that’s a big part of what I mean when I think about innovation. Not always just new for new’s sake. But the disposition, and the environment, that affords the possibilities.

Here’s the keynote. (If you  like it, he’s got 130 video talks on Youtube)

Video streaming by Ustream


3 Comments

Internet librarian, arriv’e!

I’m sitting on the couch at one of my favorite hotels, in one of my favorite seaside towns, at one of my favorite conferences. I’m in Monterey, at Internet Librarian, and even though I know I love this conference, it was really nice this evening to be reminded why.

First, it’s a smallish conference. I don’t know the numbers offhand, but somewhere between LOEX and ACRL, and like those it’s focused, but with reach. Technology and Public Services, talking together. And learning from each other.

One of the things I love most about the conference is the people. These are smart, funny, engaged, innovative folks. And the conversations outside of sessions are unbelievably valuable. Today, i attended the Gaming and Te enology Zoo, where I played a fascinating cooperative board game, but I learned so much outside of that one conference event! I played with a Motorola Bionic webtop computer/ phone with its owner, and we miraculously resolved a full screen issue–while sitting on a bench enjoying the sun. I went to dinner with a former SUNY colleague and she convinced me that I really can build yahoo pipes to do what I want, and turned me on to a resource for finding the answer to my need for a platform agnostic PDF annotation tool. And, who knew? Evernote has competitors! I shared some info about Google Bundles, we talked about a tutorial tool I’ve been investigating, and joked about turning that conversation in to a web series (wouldn’t you want to watch two geeky library gals discuss their favorite collaborative web tools!?!?)

Tomorrow, the conference starts in earnest, and I’m really looking forward to my chosen sessions. I’ll blog some about them, but I’ll also be reporting out at the free ACRL-ULS post-Internet Librarian webinar on October 24. Most likely this week, the blog will be full of insights and new tools to explore that come up in out-of-conference conversations.


Leave a comment

IL2011 Cybertour: Web 2.0 Resources andTools #IL2011

I am pleased to announce that I will be presenting on the Cybertour at Internet Librarian next month. It’s a fantastic conference, with the best location (I really miss the ocean!). If you’ve never been, I’d recommend adding it to your list of must-do conferences.  Really. How often do the tech experimenters and the public service folks get to sit down together and drive the conversation?  It’s not just me, either — here’s a list of reasons to attend.

I’ll be talking about:

Web 2.0 Resources & Tools

Hear about one tech librarian’s cool tool picks as she shares her experimentation and thoughts on their possible use in libraries.  She has been playing with tools for easily creating tutorials, with “mother blogs” using Posterious, and getting deep into sharing and bundling features for info dissemination on Google Reader.  Hear her tips and opinions!

I’d love to hear your suggestions and ideas — are they easy tutorial tools you love, or want to know more about? Have you played with a new tool for information dissemination but want to get me to dig deeper into it? Leave a comment, let me know; I’ll be working on this presentation next week.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,627 other followers