Core Value: Innovation
Curt Carver's thoughts on Innovation
Innovation is the core of our organization. The cutting edge work that we at ITS accomplish today will not be what we accomplish in three years. This is what makes working at ITS exciting, challenging, and fresh. Our commitment to innovate, our knowledge of our customers and their needs, and our organizational agility distinguish us from commercial vendors. We are an organization walking down a hallway of dizzying distractions looking for windows of opportunity.
Innovations become dizzying distractions when they solve problems that don’t exist or create additional problems; in these circumstances, we are wiser not to change course. The windows of opportunity address the prioritized issues we do have so that we fundamentally enhance how we provide services to our customers. Often, our customers clearly see the window of opportunity. Sometimes, we need to help them understand the potential of the change. The key difference between an innovative organization and a reactive one is this capacity to anticipate and our understanding of the real problems facing our customers.
We all can be agents of innovation if we stop defining success in these terms: clearing our inbox, surviving another day without getting in trouble, or by just following the process. Instead of abiding by this motto: 'If is not broken, do not fix it, ' adhere to this one: 'If it does not make any sense, it is not our policy.'
I believe that we are not really innovating unless we fail occasionally. This means I will understand honest mistakes in the pursuit of innovation. You are much more likely to be chastised for standing still than anticipating, prioritizing, seeking guidance, and innovating.
Two quotes from General Colin Powell follow: the first one is about the characteristics to look for when hiring folks, and the second is a statement to help clarify innovation — as I see it.
“Look for intelligence and judgment and, most critically, a capacity to anticipate, to see around corners. Also look for loyalty, integrity, a high energy drive, a balanced ego and the drive to get things done.”
“'If it ain't broke, don't fix it' is the slogan of the complacent, the arrogant, or the scared. It's an excuse for inaction, a call to non-arms.”
GALILEO exemplifies the spirit of innovation and collaboration
Long before Google, the USG library community and ITS took advantage of the brand new World Wide Web to deliver a core set of journals, magazines, and reference works beyond library buildings to users throughout the University System regardless of geographic location, size, or category of institution, 24x7. This innovative effort, GALILEO (GeorgiA LIbrary LEarning Online), quickly extended beyond the University System to provide valuable services to the entire state. For many of these users, GALILEO was their first introduction to the Internet, much less graphical interfaces, as well as the benefits this technology had for learning and research. The community of more than 2,000 GALILEO institutions includes the USG, K-12 schools, public libraries, the adult technical institutes and colleges, and a group of private academic colleges and universities. Through collaboration and resource sharing, GALILEO seeks to provide equal access to information for all Georgia citizens. While individual libraries benefit from the cooperative sharing of resources — lower costs and increased access to a wider range of materials — the goal is to improve library services for all Georgia citizens.
Merryll Penson, Executive Director of Library Services, says “I believe GALILIEO was the first system-wide technology initiative after PeachNet. GALILEO’s delivery over PeachNet helped people understand the benefits of robust networks for transmitting data, providing the impetus and legislative support for bringing both internet access and GALILEO to public libraries and schools.” Even in this era of ubiquitous information that has followed its early innovation, GALILEO still provides the core resource for the libraries and media centers of Georgia, fulfilling its mission to be “One Statewide Library” by bringing quality, authoritative, and secure digital materials of all kinds to the citizens of Georgia, including encyclopedias, books, thousands of periodicals, and unique materials of historical and cultural significance. In addition, GALILEO now has multiple interfaces that serve different audiences and communities of interest, special tools for federated searching and linking to ejournals across all resources, a toolbar for easy use in common browsers, online training for library staff, and video tutorials for users. More than one billion user experiences attest to the success of GALILEO.
GALILEO turns 15 this year; the birthday is a great opportunity to share and express the value that GALILEO provides to the state of Georgia. The future promises to continue apace, as new discovery tools and tools to assist the integration of library resources into online learning environments enhance the GALILEO environment.