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Going Boldly into the Present

Michael Edson, Director Web Strategy & New Media, Office of the CIO, Smithsonian Institution, delivered the keynote speech on the third day of Computers in Libraries. He began by telling the audience to “Go boldly into the present.” The present? Huh? Edson continued, “To talk about where we go from here, you have to think about where we are and where we’re going to. We’re no longer in a culture of continuity.”

When he began at the Smithsonian, Edson thought strategists were visionaries. He’s now concluded that strategy should be a physical tool, a shared story, that makes something happen. We’ve been galvanized over the past few years about how quickly things disappear. We need tools to think about new ideas. Innovation is an endurance race.

Snap out of the idea that strategy is about the broadcast idiom. He cited books written between 2002 and 2006 that recognize the importance of community. These ideas are absent from strategy workshops. You can build real strategies from the long tail, Joy’s law, cognitive surplus, network effects, and Moore’s law and mobile, and the recognition that every user is a hero. We’re not in a read culture, it’s a read/write world. We can build on these ideas, they’re not new anymore.

Big piece of what we think of as the distant future is here now. It presents us with a real, bankable opportunities. For example, the World War II Museum in New Orleans sees results of digitization as a reputation and revenue builder. Cheap platforms and successful examples are all around us in abundance.

What can we do differently to create value? How do we pivot? Edson described five patterns.

1. Extraterrestrial space auditor: Compare what organization says it does with what actually happens.

2. On ramps and loading docks: Innovation is likely to happen somewhere else, not inside walls of organization. How can we get ideas and volunteer labor into our organizations. Think expansively about what a platform is.

3. Edge to core: Innovation happens at the edges, but edge innovators need a commons

4. Focus on the mission: Have big, audacious goals

5. Place the bet. It’s all about execution.

Michael Edson

Michael Edson

Finally, ask yourself, what world am I living in? What impact does my country, my city, my organization want to have in that world? What should I do today? This is your job and society needs you to succeed at it. Think big, start small, and move fast. Go boldly into the present.









Live Streaming Wed Keynote: Michael Edson

If you enjoyed our Tuesday morning keynote, make sure you check out tomorrow’s keynote speaker, Michael Edson, Director of Web & New Media Strategy, Office of the CIO, Smithsonian Institution.  Under links on the right hand side of this Infotodayblog web page you’ll find the link to the live stream.  We’ll be archiving it too so you can look at it again and again.  Should be fun.

BTW, here’s Michael tweet from a few days ago:  “Working on keynote for Computers in Libraries Wednesday. Need to write new talk about the public domain. Inspired by James Boyle, Jefferson”

CIL Program Rocks!

I am very excited about our upcoming CIL 2009 event in DC (well, Crystal City VA — close!)  The keynote speakers will bring lots of insights:

*Lee Rainie, Director, Pew Internet & American Life Project

*Erik Boekesteijn, Science & Innovation at DOK, Delft Public Library & one of the Shanachie‘s interviewing Paul Holdengraber, Director, Public Programs, New York Public Lbirary

*Michael Edson, Director, Web & New Media Strategy, Office of the CIO, Smithsonian Institution (not originally in the advance program so check out the details here) will be talking about Digital Strategies & Knowledge Commons

There are 5 streams of focused content on each of the three days of the conference, with lots of workshops on Sunday March 29th and Thursday April 2nd.  Many experienced practitioners and experts sharing their experiences and strategies.  If you haven’t already registered for the conference please do!

Jane Dysart, CIL 2009 Conference Chair