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Why Nations Fail

My mother, who knows about the work I do in libraries around culture change to produce vibrant organizations, sent me an article from the New York Times Magazine online called “Why Some Countries Go Bust” ( The article reviews a new book by Turkish M.I.T. professor Daron Acemoglu and his collaborator James Robinson called “Why Nations Fail,” What seems obvious to me is that the principles they present apply not only to nations but to organizations, as well. As the author of the NY Times article says,


Getting Lost on the Way to Community Service

A popular library rallying cry in these defunded times calls for developing methods  "supporters" can use to advocate for "our" institutions. I see it in the way we want to draw attention to "values" we provide through readers' advisory promotions, collection maintenance directions, and programming targeting youth. We want to demonstrate how thoroughly we learned the marketing lessons we taught ourselves across the past decade.


The Difference Between Creativity and Innovation

In my Edgy Librarian webinar on Culture Shift in Libraries, I asked the question “Does it feel like, all of a sudden, everyone is talking about the need to be creative and innovative?”  Most of the people on the webinar responded “yes.”  Much of the webinar covered why this is so, and what to do about it.  What I didn’t get a chance to do was really get into what it means to be creative and innovative.


Expose Your Skills

I was reading the SF State University Magazine today.  There’s an article about an historian who wrote a graphic novel about a court trial of a slave woman named Albina in late 19th century West Africa: the kind of history that’s hard to find because of the dearth of records kept.  He wanted to make sure the story of a “tough as nails, powerful, argumentative and resilient woman” was told.  In the article, the historian, Trevor R.


The Next Great Evolutionary Leap

One of my Applied Improvisation colleagues sent me to a Harvard Business Review article by Tony Schwartz called "Why Don't We Act in Our Own Best Interest" which mirrors a conversation I've been having with many.  It relates directly to my previous three blog posts on creating a culture of “yes” and the value of practicing the skills of Improvisation.


What Does it Mean to Have an Organizational Culture of “Yes”

In my last blog post, I asked the question  “What would happen if your organizational culture was one of “yes”?  I imagined that some people reading the post thought something like “She’s crazy!  If we say “yes” to anything more, we’ll explode.”  Indeed, libraries already do so many things for so many people that adding more, probably won’t work.  I’d like to clarify what I mean by creating a culture of “yes.”



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