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The powers of consortia: scaling capacity, learning, innovation and influence

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Libraries and related organizations group together in a variety of ways to get their work done. They consort, for example, to lobby, to negotiate and license, and to build shared infrastructure.

However, there are other aspects of collective activity that are becoming more important. In fact, I suggest that two are increasingly central to successful library activity: these are learning and innovation.

Thinking this way about consortial activity suggests four areas where libraries come together to create scale advantages: capacity, learning, innovation, influence.

Some consortial organizations span several of these, some are more specialised.

This presentation will consider consortia under these headings. It will also briefly discuss how choices about scope, scale and sourcing are important decision points for consortia when considering their mission and investments.

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The powers of consortia: scaling capacity, learning, innovation and influence

  1. 1. Lorcan Dempsey, OCLC @LorcanD THE POWERS OF CONSORTIA: scaling capacity, learning, innovation and influence JULAC 50th Anniversary Conference (5 – 6 December 2017) The University of Hong Kong
  2. 2. Then and now …
  3. 3. Library Defined by library operations/metrics (collection, reference, …) Defined by university needs (research support, student success, community engagement). Organization Bureaucracy: Well understood goals, perfect the means. Enterprise: Changing goals, reallocate the means. Expertise Subject, process Partner in research and learning, creation, … Systems Back office Workflow, digital scholarship, shared systems Space Configured around collections Configured around user experiences Collections Just in case; Central; Institutional; Consumption. Facilitated (just in time); One service among others; Collective; Creation.
  4. 4. Harvard Business Review (1999)
  5. 5. CORE COMPONENTS OF A FIRM Customer Relationship Management Product Innovation Infrastructure Back office capacities that support day-to-day operations: • “Routinized” workflows • Economies of scale important Develop new products and services and bring them to market: • Speed/flexibility important Attracting and building relationships with customers: • Service-oriented, customization • Economies of scope important
  6. 6. Engagement Innovation Infrastructure Infrastructure • Physical inventory • Storage • Systems infrastructure • Repository Service development • Resources and services to support evolving research and learning workflows. • Integrated D2D of print and electronic resources. • Digital services for scholarly and cultural communities Engagement • Targeted research support • Student success and retention • Community focus and development • Refocusing space Library …
  7. 7. Locally assembled collections. The place to go.
  8. 8. Engagement Innovation Infrastructure Strong institutional focus: Local value and differentiation Consortial focus: Scale capacity for efficiency and impact in service infrastructure Joint focus: Scale innovation and learning to support changing libraries. Institutionalization of innovation Balancing library & consortial roles
  9. 9. Scaling capacity Scaling learning Scaling innovation Scaling influence
  10. 10. Scaling capacity Scaling learning Scaling innovation Scaling influence
  11. 11. Negotiation and licensing Shared ILS Shared digital infrastructure Shared Print Collections Shared discovery to delivery of library collections Shared ILS Shared Research Data Management Shared Print Collections Remember …
  12. 12. Scaling capacity Scaling capacity
  13. 13. Scaling capacity Scale here has advantages of Impact and Efficiency • Shared negotiation/licensing • Shared library systems platform • Shared digital infrastructure • Shared collections • Shared expertise Powers of consortia
  14. 14. Scaling capacity Powers of consortia Soft power of consortia Trust Personal relations History Proximity Facilitates learning and innovation Scale advantages of Impact and Efficiency • Shared negotiation/licensing • Shared library systems platform • Shared digital infrastructure • Shared collections • Shared expertise
  15. 15. Scaling capacity … shared vision … … history of collaboration and cooperation … … transformation … rapid developments … … declining or limited resources … … existing collaborative initiatives … Soft powers
  16. 16. Deepening shared infrastructure • Library services platform • Research data management • Digital collections Operationalising the collective collection • Coordinated approach to: • Shared print • Resource sharing • Digitization Leveraging the network • Nurturing communities of practice: scaling learning and innovation • Exploring sharing expertise Scaling capacity: some trends
  17. 17. Scaling capacity Scaling learning Scaling innovation Scaling influence
  18. 18. Scaling capacity Scaling learning Scaling innovation Scaling influence
  19. 19. Advocacy: National policy Professional interests Advocacy: Special interests Scaling influence
  20. 20. Greater need to influence the environment in which libraries work • Understanding • Funding • Value Advocate for library user interests in complex information environment • Copyright legislation • Publishing models • National information policies • Surveillance, privacy, … Leveraging the network • Nurturing communities of practice: scaling learning and innovation • Exploring sharing expertise • Incubation Scaling influence: some trends
  21. 21. “When the rate of change inside an organization becomes slower than the rate of change outside, the end is near.” Jack Welch https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/185636-if-the-rate-of-change-on-the-outside-exceeds-the
  22. 22. “When the rate of change inside an organization becomes slower than the rate of change outside, the end is near.” Jack Welch Scaling capacity Scaling learning Scaling innovation Scaling influence https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/185636-if-the-rate-of-change-on-the-outside-exceeds-the
  23. 23. Scaling capacity Scaling learning Scaling innovation Scaling influence
  24. 24. In rapidly changing environments, it’s important to realize that tacit knowledge trumps explicit knowledge. … Tacit knowledge becomes accessible through shared practice. … By working together, we also develop deeper, trust-based relationships that create a safer environment for us to explore new insights with others in our group that we have a hard time expressing to ourselves. John Hagel
  25. 25. Learning: • Central focus of some consortia/groups. • Important focus for many others. • An explicit and central role in facilitating networks, communities of practice, leadership development and peer learning … Scaling learning We achieve our aims through advocacy, workforce development, capacity-building and partnership. .. use the meetings as an opportunity to share ideas on a particular aspect of networked information and to incubate new initiatives. ACRL develops programs, products and services to help academic and research librarians learn, innovate and lead within the academic community
  26. 26. Learning: Soft power of existing networks Scaling learning … networking … discuss direction … 'pool uncertainty’ … shared practices … communities of practice … peer learning
  27. 27. Scaling capacity Scaling learning Scaling innovation Scaling influence
  28. 28. Scaling capacity Scaling learning Scaling innovation Scaling influence
  29. 29. • Novelties: The choice of Gold as a color for the iPhone; the naming of a version of Android as “Kit Kat”; coining a new word. • Creations: The fall collection of a fashion designer; a new movie; a blog post. • Inventions: Anything described by a patent; The secret formula for Coca Cola. • Innovations: The iPhone pricing model; Google’s revenue model; The Ford production system; Wal-Mart’s store design; Amazon’s logistics. http://www.asymco.com/2014/04/16/innoveracy-misunderstanding-innovation/
  30. 30. For universities this means spending less time on unproven strategies.
  31. 31. Supporting the transition from bureaucracy to enterprise • Scaling learning and innovation becomes central • Prepare for big challenges Innovation is system wide • Innovation has to be fixed in practice • Institutional innovation and innovation in collaboration are key Scaling Learning & Innovation: some trends A purposeful but emergent approach has to be designed • Formal approach but also soft powers …
  32. 32. Scoping (Right) Scaling Sourcing
  33. 33. Scoping What does it make sense to do? What does it make sense not to do? Scaling capacity Scaling learning Scaling innovation Scaling influence
  34. 34. What does it make sense to do? What does it make sense not to do? Scaling capacity Scaling learning Scaling innovation Scaling influence Very different types of skill/resource Scoping Mobilize consortial networks
  35. 35. Scoping (right) Scaling Sourcing
  36. 36. (Right) Scaling At what level should an activity take place? Consortial activity is about ‘right scaling’ Shared print Research data
  37. 37. Scoping Scaling Sourcing
  38. 38. Sourcing How should a service be provided? Balance between control and efficiency? Mission? Public provision Collaborative sourcing Third party provision
  39. 39. Scaling capacity Scaling learning Scaling innovation Scaling influence
  40. 40. Scaling capacity Scaling learning Scaling innovation Scaling influence Libraries need to collaborate to create impact and efficiency. Libraries need to collaboratively advocate for user and library interests in an increasingly complicated environment. Libraries need to more actively mobilise their networks of shared practice to address grand challenges as research and learning behaviors change in a network environment. The consortial challenge
  41. 41. Lorcan Dempsey, OCLC @LorcanD THE POWERS OF CONSORTIA: scaling capacity, learning, innovation and influence Thank you!

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