Disruptive Suggestion #4: Make Stupid Objects Smart
The Forbes.com article explains, “A dumb product just sits there. It doesn’t talk to the network, doesn’t have a memory, doesn’t react to changing events around it. In contrast, a smart product acts intelligently.” It goes on to describe several examples of “smart” objects: The dumpster that alerts when it needs to be emptied; the light bulb that flashes before it burns out; the dog collar that monitors dog behavior.
Because of privacy concerns the notion of objects with a “memory” might not be the right fit at a library, but there are ways to “smarten-up” the library. What about a system that tells users where the unoccupied study carrels are? What about a circulation system that texts users when the material they have requested is available or warns of an approaching due date? And what if you could reply to the text to renew the items?
Be open to the idea of smart objects and aware of how this is being used both inside and beyond libraries. Sure, some smart technologies are prohibitively expensive to most libraries but this will not always be the case, and even small, inexpensive changes can be transformative.
This is the fifth in 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.