Provoking Innovationby Kathryn J. Deiss, Director, MLS Strategic Learning Center, and Team Leader, Zephyr Innovation Incubator Program
How do libraries find the time to innovate? How can library employees learn to find their creative powers? What are the politics of innovation and how can libraries capitalize on understanding these? How can libraries learn to create prototypes of services in order to learn and thus create the best possible permanent iteration of a new service?
The Metropolitan Library System in Chicago and south suburban Chicago has established the Zephyr Innovation Incubator Program to help libraries with just such questions. The Zephyr Innovation Incubator Program (Zephyr) is a compendium of services geared to the questions of innovation and creativity in libraries.
Among the services provided are:
- Innovation guides and spaces – people to help facilitate the innovation and creativity process with library staff and uniquely created spaces in which to do innovative thinking.
- An innovation and creativity curriculum – classes and series designed to provide library staff with the critical skills necessary for innovative or break-through thinking.
- Future scanning and trend spotting – information gathering to help libraries see the emerging issues more quickly.
- Innovation technologies – introductions to new technologies or new uses of known technologies that can create innovation in services and products that libraries provide