The world has always had innovators and inventors. According to Wikipedia the oldest known tools used by humans are 2.5 to 2.6 million years old. In the late 1800’s Benz and then Daimler produced vehicles with an engine. Henry Ford manufactured cars in the United States and his fortunes really took off when he started producing black Model T’s on an assembly line. General Motors started offering colour choice and an annual model change, which forced Ford to change. And so on. From earliest times there have always been those who have had new, interesting, innovative ideas. Where do those ideas come from, what is the spark?
I am looking at a poster on my wall. I picked it up at Christmas in a home decorating store; the price was reduced, but more importantly, it spoke to me. What does it say? I quote the lines on the poster; the musings are mine.
“Say something silly”, raise eyebrows, start people talking. Brainstorming sessions when they are “real”, when people truly speak their mind, can generate some great ideas. Some say that it was not Ford who developed the idea for the assembly line, that it came from his employees.
Start with a chuckle, into a belly laugh and eventually you will “Laugh ‘til it hurts,” and those around you will join in. We have all heard about the health benefits of laughter and if we are healthier we are happier and less stressed and more creative. Collaboration will more likely thrive in a workplace that is fun filled with happy people.
“Take a risk.” Do you have the courage to bet on your ideas? Ever sat in a meeting and had an idea, but before you said it, someone else did. And then everyone agreed that it was pure genius. Need I say more?
“Sing out loud” and if you aren’t a singer, then yell, grab a mike and announce it to the world, write a blog post, tweet, be heard. One small idea, like a seed that is nurtured can grow into a mighty oak.
“Rock the boat” does not mean that we have to tip and drown. Sometimes a little rocking makes us realize that we are in unsafe waters and we need to take precautions. Has Amazon not rocked our (librarians) boat? Replacing the library catalogue with a discovery tool means that we are able to better assist library users. Thanks Amazon.
“Shake things up” by having everyone in the organisation do someone else’s job today. A new set of eyes will reveal stale ideas, inefficient processes, procedures that are no longer necessary. Remember ‘we do it this way because we always did it this way’ is not a good reason to do anything. Imagine the opportunities you will discover.
“Flirt with disaster.” I’m not talking about courting disaster, à la Amy Winehouse, or inviting disaster by living on a known flood plain or hurricane alley, but a simple flirtation, something that gets the adrenalin flowing, the energy levels up, and you feel like you can do anything. That is when the creative juices start flowing.
“Buy something frivolous” does not have to mean expensive. Frivolous is actually defined as trivial or unimportant, and maybe the candies in the bowl on the circulation desk may appear trivial to you, but to your library users, they may mean a thoughtful gesture.
“Colour outside the lines.” Jeff Tobe teaches companies to “Colour outside the lines without falling of the page.” Is this the new way of saying “think outside the box?”
“Cause a scene” or you will not be noticed and when you are forgotten, people stop coming to your library or using your services and then your budget is cut, staff are lost . . . Causing a scene does not have to be bad, but since most of us do not like attention, it seems like a bad thing. But why shouldn’t libraries be noticed, talked about and the centre of attention for once!
“Order Dessert” or just ask for more, please. Let your vendors know that you need just a little extra from them, if you are going to sign on the dotted line. Let administration know that the budget cuts have to stop, there’s only so much money that can be saved by the library before the organisation is hurt because of the inadequate library funding.
We are encouraged to fit the norm and not “Make waves.” Why? If Galileo, Newton and Einstein did not make waves where would we be? If Coco Chanel had not come along what would 50% of the population be wearing? Jump in and make your own waves.
“Get carried away” by your vision for the future and “Have a great day.”