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LOEX 2008 Kickoff

Posted by comartslibrarian on May 2, 2008

This morning opens the LOEX 2008 Conference in Oak Brook, IL. Over 300 librarians are gathered here for the Library Orientation Exchange, to swap ideas about library instruction and education in information literacy.

I’ll be blogging on the opening session in this first post, with more updates to come…

Laurel Ofstein of DePaul University is delivering the opening address on “Creative Collaboration” in library instruction.

Roadblocks to Creativity

  • Killer phrases (“It’s not in the budget,” “We tried that before,” “We’ve always done it this way,” “get a committee to look into that,” etc…)
  • Being open to possibilities
  • Include different viewpoints in the group
  • Start with wild or unusual ideas

Climate for Creativity

  • Challenge and Involvement of all employees, keeping them engaged
  • Freedom to innovate, autonomy v. strict guidelines
  • Idea Time: Is there “margin” for employees to brainstorm, develop and test ideas?
  • Idea Support: Instead of an automatic “no” (i.e. killer phrase), are resources made available to explore innovative ideas
  • Is conflict tolerated? Is discussion encouraged? Can disagreements ever be made impersonal and non-political?
  • Humor and play in the workplace
  • Trust and openness; mutual respect for each other
  • Willingness to take risks and try new things

Working backwards — starting with the best solution — is one way to generate new solutions to problems. Ask “Wouldn’t it be nice if…” to brainstorm for desired outcomes.

Brainstorming for library instruction: Use note cards, ask each person to contribute 2-3 ideas (1 per card), then shuffle the cars around randomly, and read them aloud. Any patterns emerging?

Now brainstorm steps toward achieving those outcomes! Dare to try “assumption reversal” by turning convnetional wisdom upside down and thinking about how to make these reversals into reality.

Ofstein is the Assistant Director of the Center for Creativity & Innovation at http://creativity.depaul.edu

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