The Future of LIS – if there is one

Eine Stimme aus der Außenwelt gibt Ratschläge: Frank Lekanne Desprez (Consultant und Prof. bei ZeroSpace Advies): The Future of Library and Information Services – if there is one war ein spannender Beitrag zu einer Weiterbildungsveranstaltung an der Bayerischen Staatsbibliothek im letzten Jahr.

Sein neuester Vortrag: Prepared Minds – from Research to Prosearch auf dem European Industrial Research Management Association (EIRMA) Meeting im Oktober diesen Jahres in Eindhoven zeigt noch mehr, wie wichtig ein „Nachvornedenken“ auch in der Wirtschaft ist. Nicht mehr re-search ist wichtig, sondern pro-search.
Auszug aus dem extended abstract:

We are entering the “Conceptual Age” where the future belongs to creators and empathisers, pattern recognisers and meaning makers, such as artists, inventors, designers, storytellers, caregivers, consolers and big picture thinkers. Computer programmers, lawyers, MBAs will have less leverage.
The future will no longer be about doing things faster or better (efficiency) but about the nature of things and activities: inventing or developing entirely new activities, applications and business processes. Innovative and improvising knowledge professionals will strive not for efficiency but for effectiveness. They organise innovative ideas and concepts in understandable and attractive formats. It is not about volume but about one or few of a kind, and unpredictability.
Economies will fare well when a high percentage of employment corresponds to creative occupations. This is the case for the US, Belgium and the Netherlands, where about 30% of all employment corresponds to creative activities. At the bottom end we have Portugal, Italy, Austria and Germany (13% to 18%).

Future Knowledge Professionals are:

  • self navigators (autonomous)
  • career driven (not job driven)
  • minimally supervised (‘hire smart people and leave them alone’)
  • working at home or in sites away from their unit
  • committed (‘crafting dreams with a deadline’’)
  • experience ‘shared leadership’ and ‘portable leadership’
  • make long working hours (ad hoc)
  • passionate about what they do
  • sensitive to values and norms of a company
  • refresh and refocus
  • gradually evolve into intellectual workers (Furedi, 2004): revolutionary, stretch the existing, ‘open-space mindset’ and they value ‘making sense’ instead of ‘making things’. The rule within such an environment should be that people do 30% specified work and 70% „free“ work. Never present a professional with a finished product , service or process: “Only ever give them a 30% solution that basically defines it, then leave a 70% ‘space’ that they can fill with their contribution (Newman, 2006)”

Productivity of knowledge workers usually is improved in different ways:

  • increasing output with decreasing input
  • increasing output with constant input
  • increasing output with more slowly increa-sing input
  • constant output with decreasing input
  • decreasing output with strongly decreasing input.

But it’s not the output or productivity that counts, but the impact of the output (outcome) that is crucial for effective and successful pro-searchers!

(L)earning for a living or life-long learning both convey the idea of an obligation to learn all along your professional life. But there is no alternative. So, how do you turn knowledge into value for your organisation? Before tackling this question, we should perhaps characterise knowledge – describe our conception of what knowledge means and how it operates.

  • Resides in the ‘heads’ (‘stock’: directly available, but today’s knowledge is soon out of date)
  • Circulates among people; something people do together (‘flow’: exclusive, it updates organically)
  • Is not easy to organize
  • Must be turned into action (reflection is also an action…)
  • Stimulates the process of organizational learning (and forgetting)

Manches erinnert doch immer noch an: Davenport, Thomas H.; Prusak, Lawrence: „Blow Up the Corporate Library“. In: Knowledge Management. Libraries and Librarians Taking up the Challenge, hrsg. v. Hans-Christoph Hobohm, München: Saur, 2004, S. 11-19. ( IFLA Publications; 108 )

Unsere Diskussionen während der Exkursionen der aktuellen Blockwoche machen dies immer wieder deutlich. Wie oft wurde von Kreativität und neuem wirtschaftlichen Denken gesprochen. Und das in Berliner Bibliotheken… Frank Lekanne sagt uns aber auch, warum das für uns so schwer ist. Unbedingter Lektüretipp.