Disruptive Suggestion #6: Be Utterly Transparent
Radically embrace the truth. I love it, but can you think of anything more scary? What is your library’s truth–maybe use has decreased significantly in the past decade? Maybe you don’t know what your users want? Maybe you have been slammed recently on Twitter? Maybe the campus library is the laughing stock of the college? If you are in denial about the relationship between your library and its user community things will never improve. The only way to get out of whatever uncomfortable situation the library is in is to fully accept it and commit to improving it. Or maybe you don’t even know what your user community thinks of you, in which case it is time to find out.
Ever shop at Whole Foods? Every Whole Foods I have been in posts comments and questions from their suggestion box on a public bulletin board with responses from the manager. This would be a great approach for a library. Done a large scale user survey with scary results? Make the results public, along with the improvement plan. Launch a service that missed the mark? Own it. And either scrap it or improve it so it does help your users.
I hope this series was helpful not only helping you to see how libraries can be disrupted–radically transformed into better service outlets–but also in showing you that the breadth of business literature can be applied to improving libraries and other mission driven organizations.
This is the final installment of a seven part series that not only provides suggestions for transforming and innovating in the library, but also (and more importantly) shows how business literature is helpful in improving the services we provide. As a case study the series refers to concepts presented in the Forbes.com article 6 Highly Profitable Ways to Disrupt Your Industry.