Susan Schramm, Founder and Principal, Go To Market Impact (a consulting firm helping organizations in times of change), is not a librarian, but she is a very zealous promoter and supporter of libraries. She believes that libraries will be catalysts for transforming smart communities. Change is going on, and there is a gap that libraries can fill.
A smart community has an infrastructure that allows its residents to be connected, so that information is gathered and available to be connected to create efficiencies.They are a way to flourish and are based on data. A city has a personality; a smart city is one you like to hang out with. Smart social services might take information from silos and start to create open data models so they can share transformations and identify trends. Smart parks or airports are components of smart cities.
We used to talk about “how” or “if”; now we talk about “when”. The human capital of the community makes it come to life. What are the jobs that need to be filled that we don’t have the skills for? What about the issue of ethics? They are built into the infrastructure. We need to deal with decisions that are based on lack of information.
Some of the challenges are opportunities for libraries to insert themselves into the discussion.
Some of the less common areas are being tackled. How do we raise our impact?
Top challenges (every organization has these).
- Clarify our value proposition: Why are we doing something? Why us? How you provide something makes you different. Why now? Creates urgency. What is your customer’s urgency? Do not launch a program without asking why now.
- Target our audiences: Do a stakeholder map. Who wants to solve the problem? All of your stakeholders can be investors and can be asked to carry your message. Choose them wisely.
- Help customers “buy”: Customers are very knowledgeable about problems they want to solve. They don’t want to be sold to. Create a customer experience journey map; it’s the fastest way to figure out where they are getting stuck. Brainstorm commonly asked questions and those that are difficult; then brainstorm answers. The result is consistency and confidence.
- Ask the hard questions; have courage. Decide what to stop doing, not because you think so, but because there is analysis that everybody can understand. Partnering is important, but not just with friends. What are you going to do as a leader?
Transformations in our cities call for the library to have a role. Think about expertise in your team that can be used to solve problems. What is your next step?