Links to Thinking Creatively

  • Tips to become more creative including the SCAMPER technique also called a Creative Thinking Checklist.

    2. SCAMPER: Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Modify, Put to Other Uses, Eliminate,


  • 5 Questions to ignite innovative curiosity:
  1. What am I ( or not) seeing that is new and different?
  •  9 extreme creativity questions:
  1. What would be bigger and bolder than anything you have ever done…..?

Innovation, Creativity, Problem-Solving

I am taking a quick break to search for articles relating to innovation and creativity.  Other than the words knowledge and conversation, those words are frequently used in the New Librarianship class.

This article by Drake Baer is about seeking out and connecting with four types of people to make a work team successful and ultimately make a work project successful.  The four types of people who are essential to a work team are the person who is the super connector or socialite, the person who likes to mentor,  the IT Guru and even the newbie. I liked this sentence:  Innovation, like the flu, is contagious.  Broad social bonds expose the work group to more ideas and ideas lead to combinatorial creativity.

I clicked on the hyperlink on “combinatorial creativity” and it took me to this article informing me about the two traits that predispose people to creative thinking: openness to experience and need for cognition.  Those who have the “openness to experience” trait simply like to try new things.  Those who have the need for cognition trait, like to think and to learn.

Creativity is defined as a process of drawing analogies between one body of knowledge and another. Creativity is a process of cross pollination across a range of fields. Innovation happens when disciplines intersect.

“Markman writes that if you are open to new experiences and love to think, you can learn deeply about a range of fields and cross-pollinate between them. You can mine your knowledge in one area for a solution that untangles a problem in another.”

New ideas are combinations of old ideas.  I have heard this one before.

Ecclesiastes 1 verse 9: That which has been is what will be, That which is done is what will be done, And there is nothing new under the sun.

Nate Silver, described as blogger and statistician/freelance data scientist, is number one on a list of 100 Most Creative People.  His name was very popular in the last elections because he accurately predicted the outcome. He describes the two types of creativity as pure expression and problem solving.  Pure expression is the creativity expressed by dancers, musicians, artists and so on.  Silver’s creativity is of course the problem solving type and he earned his reputation starting off as an expert baseball statistician.  In this article, his accuracy and his savvy in choosing the problems he wants to solve with big data are admired. One could say his asset is his credibility.   In New Librarianship, credibility is also the Librarian’s big asset.

Librarian Challenges: Borrowing ideas across disciplines that can solve library  problems and ultimately improve the library community. Seeking out a range of people who can bring new ideas to the “table”.

Grand Challenge of Librarianship

Today is the start of Week 4 and the focus is on issues within the community and how the librarians engage with the community.  However, I am reading the discussion on the grand challenge of librarianship first because I don’t think I have grasped the concept.

The Instructor, in a video-clip I watched last week, said this is it: The grand challenge is coordinating the knowledge infrastructure (technology, people, sources of information/knowledge, permissions – intellectual property) to unlock the potential and passions of society.  In discussing the infrastructure there were other challenges. These are the ones that I can recall:

  1. How to balance the goal of profit with the goal of information.
  2. How to move from information consumption/production to participation or How to turn people from passive information consumers to active builders of the knowledge economy.
  3. How to coordinate the infrastructure to eliminate the digital divide of haves and have-nots.

Here is one librarian’s view of the grand challenge. The librarian/blogger asked in March 2013, How would we create a library that had the ability to change or grow remotely? I thought the grand challenge of librarianship, the rallying call would be something to do with change or innovation.

Jian on the discussion board came up with a grand challenge template which looks like this:  “A grand challenge [for libraries] is a fundamental problem in the information [knowledge] society with broad applications, whose solution would be enabled by the application of […] that could become available in the near future.”

Another “conversant” wrote her grand challenge for her school community: How  to get more of our students to be proactive [on] their own learning. I can identify with this challenge but is that grand enough?

Daveheart: The Soapbox

@Librarian_Kate tweeted this under the #newlib hashtag: “Also, we need to start a PREACH IT FATHER DAVID hashtag for the stuff in this course we really like.

R. David Lankes tweeted a response : “I once had a class create a twitter back channel using Daveheart after my habit of getting on a soap box.”

For me, this is R. David Lankes’ soapbox:

  1. Librarians should articulate a new worldview of librarianship that goes beyond tools (otherwise called artifacts, products of learning, also known as books, ebooks, DVDs and so on) and founded on theories such as conversation theory, motivation theory, sensemaking and postmodernism.
  2. In the knowledge model, a foundation of librarianship, there are conversants, language, agreements and memory ( a means to capture, preserve and retrieve community agreements).
  3. Library users/patrons should be called members of our community. Members of the community should not be seen as problems but as people in need of power to  improve their lives.
  4. No matter what community librarians lead and/or serve, the mission of librarians is to improve society through facilitating knowledge creation in their communities.
  5. To be a librarian is powerful. An empty room with a librarian is still a library.
  6. Librarians are power brokers, advocates of libraries, radical change agents, activists, leaders, trusted mediators, motivators, innovators, facilitators of conversation and therefore facilitators of knowledge and learning.
  7. Librarians must go to the conversation – go to the places in the community where members frequent such as Facebook,  their workplaces, schools, places of worship.
  8. Reading is a conversation that one has with oneself.
  9. Access is a core librarian value and a means of facilitating knowledge. Access means more than equity of access and access to artifacts; it is about connecting members of the community to experts in the community and being a part of the conversation. The Librarian is an information source in the conversation and the community is part of the library collection.
  10. Librarians provide knowledge services and training ( information literacy curriculum in school libraries).
  11. Librarians provide safe comfortable physical and virtual library environments as means of facilitating knowledge.
  12. There is no scarcity of information any longer, there is scarcity of attention.

This one does not fall under Dave’s soapbox but I found it a valuable tip:

“Take a good idea and apply it everywhere you can”.  I think this tip is a #PreachItFatherDavid moment. The Example given was the Big 6 Information Literacy Skills created by Mike Eisenberg and Bob Berkowitz.  They now have The Super 3 and Little 12  and applied it by creating bookmarks, cards, videos and workshops.

Grand Challenge

At last, I have completed week 3 and I have come to the grand challenge of librarianship/ the large-scale goal/rallying call to other fields. The grand challenge is coordinating the knowledge infrastructure (technology, people, sources of information/knowledge, permissions – intellectual property) to unlock the potential and passions of society.  I have not absorbed this grand challenge. I thought the grand challenge for librarianship was the pressure for change.  The community is changing and the library has to prioritize resources to meet the challenges of change in the community.

I get the library as a platform for innovation, that the librarian does not have to master everything, that the librarian can be a facilitator bringing expertise together and making resources available to the community.

Here is something interesting.  This blogger focused on the political implications of new librarianship as presented in the course and asked, Does librarianship have a left-wing bias?  Advocating access to all and resisting censorship sound very left wing to me. But somehow I think in the library as cradle of democracy section, the course is focusing on getting us to answer this question and it is not connected to left wing politics, What difference has the library made in the governance of the community in which we serve – academic, business etc.?


Why libraries?

I watched First Coast News on television yesterday where a woman was pleading to residents of Duval County to save public libraries in Jacksonville by supporting a straw ballot campaign for the creation of a Duval County Library District.  They are fighting the closure of six libraries and reduction of hours in remaining libraries.  On the Save Jax Libraries website, these are the justifications/reasons to save their libraries:

Early literacy remains a problem in our community and the public libraries are a critical part of the solution. (Learning – Literacy)

— Public libraries should be sufficiently funded so that their doors are open to the children of our community during weekdays and weekends.  (Access, Safety Net?)

Attracting businesses and jobs to Jacksonville requires that we pay attention to the health of our public libraries that support our overall educational system.   (Economic Impact, Education)

Businesses will not relocate to a city where its public libraries are shuttered and closed.  (Economic Impact)

— Libraries offer more than just books, but provide a range of services and materials for the entire population. (Access to Services)

I have not finished viewing all the video-clips today but so far I have learned that the 7 justifications for libraries are that they are:

  1. Collective Buying Agents
  2. Economic Stimulus Agents
  3. Centers of Learning
  4. Safety Nets for children and the elderly for examples
  5. Stewards of Cultural Heritage
  6. Cradles of Democracy
  7. Symbols of Community Aspirations.

Mission of the library: Do’s and Don’ts

Let me not forget this statement: The mission of librarians is to improve society through facilitating knowledge creation in their communities.  Today, for the first time, the lesson is focusing on the mission of the library. The mission statement is an invitation to the community to be part of/join us in the mission. From the lesson today, I have extracted some rules:

  1. Do keep the mission short.
  2. Do keep it inspirational (…. to inspire lifelong learning, advance knowledge and strengthen communities).
  3. Do be clear.
  4. Do make the mission about learning, knowledge, discovery, innovation/creativity,
  5. Don’t focus on providing “stuff”  (the library tools e.g.books, ebooks etc).
  6. Don’t leave out the community.
  7. Don’t over promise what is impossible to achieve.

I have more tips on how to write a mission and vision statement on storify.