An impressive group of movers and shakers from the California library world were on a panel on how to make a best case for boosting technology efforts during tough economic times. These are clearly unprecedented times—we’re all having to do more with less.
It’s often not just a director that is needed for approval of new technology. The director of the Napa City-County Library, Danis Kreimeier mentioned the wide range of stakeholders she needs to serve – library commissioners, library foundation, CEO, friends groups and branches in 4 cities, etc.
First things to consider before making a proposal:
What problem are you trying to solve? Really think about missions and goals
Whose problem is it– county, city ?
Is it sustainable? If you leave can anyone else run it?
She recommends using this:
“Communicating your Strategy: A Script,” by George Needham and Joan Frye Williams
She has used this and it actually works! Everything she’s proposed has passed. Here are the details:
First consider these:
Will it show?
Can it grow? – develop and evolve or a deadend?
Does it flow? – can community members access it?
Tell people briefly where you’re headed
Give them the facts that support your proposal
Tell them what actions you are proposing. Let them know that you thought things over before deciding what to do.
Describe how your strategy fits in with others plans and strategies (the city or county).
Explain how your strategy takes advantage of existing assets/resources (people, equipment, etc.).
Tell them how and when you’ll know whether this is successful.
Show your passion!
Invite them to join you.
Fred Cohn, assistant city manager, Monterey, says to banish the phrase “technology project” from your vocabulary – they’re business projects. Challenging times like this mean approach your business in a different way – it’s often easier to find resources from within. It’s really about marketing 101 – a process to identify and meet needs, take concepts and principles to heart (go check out a marketing book).
The panel then opened it up for audience involvement, asking what happened when they brought back a good technology idea and what strategy they used and what happened.
Barrier – internal processes for approval, including lawyers – and all that was for using a free product hosted elsewhere worth $100,000
Suggestion — try to understand what stakeholders have to lose and why they might be resisting.
Another good point – be prepared to answer tough questions such as what happens if the vendor of this free product goes under. Then what?
Barrier – concern for extra work when a new IM service was suggested.
Suggestion—support the request with data and request a pilot.
Paula J. Hane
ITI News Bureau Chief