Jill Blaemers, San Diego Chapter Director; Taxonomy and Social Science Divisions
Cindy Romaine has challenged us each to become future-ready, that is, to prepare ourselves for our desired future. In considering how I want to respond to that challenge, I am reminded of a conversation I had many years ago, with an executive at the company I worked for at the time. He asked me where I wanted to be in five years. The smart, albeit cliché, response would have been to tell him that I wanted to be in his job in three years, but, nope, that’s not how I think. Instead, I told him that, in looking ahead, what I saw was a continuing evolution in how we organize, disseminate, and access information, and that our roles in it were going to need to evolve as well; I wanted to contribute to figuring the whole scheme out. Staking a claim to one particular route to the future wasn’t to me then, and it isn’t now, a viable option for an individual or a company.
We each sit in the midst of a constantly changing reality that is the result, at any given instant of time, of a myriad of individual, social unit, and societal-level decisions, small and momentous, all influenced by factors in the natural world. Not to be trite, but change is endemic to the human condition, so to be future-ready, we need to be eyes wide open to its fact and its force. What we need to focus on is our contribution, as information professionals, to creating whatever that future looks like, and to be ready for that requires a certain mindset, attitude, and action, the point Cindy makes.
To me, being future-ready means many things. Personally and professionally, the minimum requirements are resilience and adaptability. Future-ready means bringing my skills of assessment and analysis to the status quo, as well as skepticism to calls for change for change’s sake and speed for speed’s sake. It means being ready and willing to get my hands dirty today with the hard work of implementing change that makes sense for tomorrow, at the same time scanning and evaluating the external environment for opportunities and threats, all with an eye on the horizon. It means a personal and professional commitment to lifelong learning and the incredibly lofty, yet so critical, goal of achieving an information-literate society in a world where information is seemingly available to everyone while, at the same time, a digital divide persists. Fundamentally, it means a laser focus on doing my best to help connect users with authoritative, accessible, actionable information.
Jill Blaemers is an information industry veteran, currently working independently providing consulting services related to product development of electronic academic reference databases and assessment of user needs and market conditions/opportunities. She serves as a Director on the Board of SLA – San Diego, and is a member of the SLA Social Science and Taxonomy Divisions.