Pam Sandlian Smith, Library Director, Anythink Libraries, Thornton, CO
“Gone is the time when companies could react quietly by just managing their assets. Gone is the time when the success of the future was modeled on the past. Disruption is a way of unearthing new opportunities. It means being nonconformist, unorthodox, rebellious. It means always trying to change the rules. It means believing that a company can transform its future through the sheer power of an idea.”
Jean-Marie Dru, Beyond Disruption: Changing the Rules in the Marketplace
When the future is uncertain, to some people the safest thing is either to do nothing new, or simply accelerate strategies that worked in the past. As marketing genius, Jean-Marie Dru notes, our future success cannot be modeled on the past. To be future ready requires a willingness to rethink the rules, to be disruptive. To be future ready requires a willingness to invent a future, hopefully one that works better than the present or the past.
Imagining our future at Anythink Libraries required a team of people who were willing to abandon library structures that were not working for our customers, or were not sustainable in a world of limited resources. It required a collaboration of people who had infinite trust in each other’s abilities and perspectives. It required a willingness to live with ambiguity as we were challenged to find the right answer, not the first answer, or the safe answer, but the answer that fit the criteria of a new paradigm.
Instead of designing a library for books, we designed a library for idea people. A place for people to connect, interact, discover, even play with information. Playing with ideas, creating a place to think, discover and honor one’s inherent sense of creativity required a rethinking of our roles and responsibilities. Our internal manifesto indicates a responsibility very different from merely organizing information:
You are not just an employee, volunteer or board member. You do not merely catalog books, organize periodicals and manage resources. You are the gateway into the mind of the idea people who come to our facilities to find or fuel a spark.
Part Wizard, Part Genius, Part Explorer
It is your calling to trespass into the unknown and come back with a concrete piece someone can hold onto, turn over, and use to fuel their mind and soul.
As Anythinkers, we are becoming future ready by exploring the responsibility of being part wizard, part genius, part explorer.