I wanted to share with you some of the "a-ha – I must write that down" moments I had in Denver. I hope you will find them to be as illuminating as I …
From the Leadership Development Institute with Dr. Jose Marie Griffiths on Sunday morning: we’re seeing a trend emerging called "collective intelligence" – some examples are Wikipedia, Amazon, Flikr. Also: information and economics: information will continue to be an economic driver.
On Monday morning, we were treated to a Synergy Session with Stephen Abram, Eugenie Prime, Clifford Lynch and moderated by Tom Hogan. Questions had been submitted in advance by the membership and they started off with:
"How can we persuade business leaders that info pros are worth investing in?" Eugenie emphasized that: 1) WE must be convinced; and 2) we have to DELIVER. "Otherwise, business leaders have ‘cognitive dissonance’ – they see the facts but they don’t believe."
"How can info pros help their organizations manage and search for information that springs up all over their organizations?" Cliff pointed out that there’s been a shift that allows the non-specialist to have access to vast amounts of information. That said, within organizations there’s a vast amount of information that’s being amassed that needs "data curation" to preserve it for re-use so that the value of the investment in the creation of the information can be fully realized. "This is a huge opportunity for info pros but it reflects a change in role and scope of "traditional" librarian opportunities."
"What innovation has had the greatest impact in the last 5 years and what’s coming in the next 5 years and what will be the info pro competency?" All 3 speakers waded in on this question. In terms of competency, "adaptability and paying attention to what’s happening in the environment broadly." "We’re not talking about a technical skill. Technical skills become obsolete very quickly." "It’s the leadership competency that allows you to use the technology." "How things work has a longer shelf life. How to do it changes quickly." "No single technology has made the difference. We are now seeing the cumulative effect of lots of development – cheap camera phones, GPS. It’s a whole new way of looking at the environment."
Personally, I found it interesting that the concept of "collective intelligence" came up again (after I had heard it for the first time the previous day): "There will be a need for people to work together synchronously and asynchronously. There will be more group approaches to problems in business."
Eugenie’s final words: "The biggest issue facing our profession is that we don’t run our information centres like a business and we lack the business acumen to do so."
Stephen’s final words: "Be the change you want to see!"
I attended several other sessions between Monday morning and Wednesday – but I will leave you with a quote from Dave Pollard from the session I attended Wed afternoon just before heading home: "Here’s what’s keeping business executives awake at night: 1) mitigating risks; 2) reducing costs; 3) increasing value / person; 4) strengthening key customer relationships. Tell us how knowledge managers, information professionals, librarians can help us with that."
SLA conference – always food for thought.
-Juanita Chair-Elect, Leadership Division