Innovation Boot Camps workshops and conference presentations are a lot of fun, but they really only scratch the surface of what is possible when it comes to innovative thinking. Many of the workshops I’ve mentioned in the blog served as team-building activities. Personally, I think the team-building objective is perfectly fine. After all, IBC is a simple way to work together and build confidence in each other (and it beats those “trust fall” activities any day). The problem comes when someone wants to take their IBC experience back into their workplace. How can you effectively translate the activities from an IBC workshop into your environment?

I’ve had this question a lot, so as I continue to¬†explore and experiment with methods of innovation I’ve begun to lean more heavily on start up thinking. After all, ideas are everywhere – it’s making those ideas happen that is hard. Don’t get me wrong, I still believe innovation is a core activity for any organization (and one we desperately need more of in libraries), but if we’re going to turn good ideas into tangible products and services, we have to up the ante. If we operated like start ups what would Library Land look like? As some of you know, I’ve also started another project with exactly that aim called The Startup Library – you might want to check it out…

Of course, I’m still happy to do workshops that build teams through play and introduce the basic principles of innovation!

Our presentation at ALA 2013 Chicago (see previous post) was Robin’s last hurrah with Innovation Boot Camp. She has begun to spend more time focusing on User Experience (or UX as the cool people say) in the Library. Certainly UX shares many core ideas with IBC, but it has a more structured qualitative research methodology. Come to think of it – UX is a perfect fit for Robin.

Robin: Thanks for leaping into this crazy journey with me. Who knew we’d still be posting on this blog years after our initial experiment? You may be done travelling the region for IBC, but you know I’ll be dragging you into something else before too long. You’re not getting off that easily…

Robin and I were invited by the University Libraries Section of ACRL to do a session at ALA 2013 (Chicago) on Innovation Boot Camp. After much planning, we settled on an active learning session so that attendees could play along with us. The only catch was we had no idea how many people would actually show up Рconference participants can be notoriously fickle! We had to make some last minute changes (since the room was set up in rows, not tables), but, in the end, we had an intimate group of 80ish people. We had them playing with Lego, imagining how librarians are like life guards, and building snow sleds (with the requisite Canada jokes). Thanks for the invite Nora!

You can get the slides from our talk, or just read a synopsis from one of the attendees.

P.S. Chicago was amazing… may just have to come back when I don’t have a conference to go to!

One of my most favourite sessions was the one I ran for the Ontario Library Association this past June. OLA staff had gathered an impressive cross-section of library folks at U of T’s iSchool. Some old, some young. Some from universities, some from public libraries, some from colleges. Some who love active brainstorming, and some who strongly dislike it. My job (MJ) was to get them to imagine a potential future for the OLA SuperConference – the country’s biggest library conference.

After working through a series of brainstorming activities, OLA staff had pages and pages of new ideas to sort through (sorry guys!). Truth be told, I hope some of the ideas get implemented. I consider OLA my “home field” conference and I’d love for it to push the boundaries of the library profession.

I (MJ) had the chance to travel to Queen’s in Kingston to do an off-site innovation workshop/team-building event for the Queen’s Library Staff. When people who work together (at least at the same institution) do an IBC session they usually hit the ground running – and these folks were no different. Incredible ideas and lots (and lots) of laughter. I had a great time – except for getting stuck in Toronto traffic on the way home. Thanks for the invite Nathalie!

I (MJ) had the distinct privilege of travelling to beautiful British Columbia (hey, it says so on their license plates!) to run a full-day workshop for the British Columbia Library Association. As expected, there was a large contingent from UBC but it was also great to see people from SFU and Vancouver Public. I also got a “behind-the-scenes” tour of UBC’s Automated Storage and Retrieval System (aka their Book Robot). Thanks Gordon!

Book Robot

Note to self: Next time spend more than a day and a half on the West Coast of this great country.

This post is waaay late, but Robin and I were fortunate to spend an afternoon in King City (Seneca Campus) at the annual conference for Library technicians (OALT/ABO). At one point I even had photo-evidence…