The anatomy of a change agent. #3: 2012
Unlike any other animal on earth, humans are attracted to new, unique, and different ideas. It is one of the things that make humans, well human. However, I am beginning to realize that people have different appetites and capacities to embrace change. That got me thinking about a recent study that suggests:
- 15% of folks are “neophiliacs.” That is, they like the new or the novel. In an information obsessed world, they can perpetually feed their habit with the television monitors at the airport, Wi-Fi, and iPhones. Think of Steve Jobs or Ralph Lauren. In library land, think of trend spotters Stephen Abram of http://stephenslighthouse.com fame, Lori Bell from the faculty of San Jose State University, or the amazing Gina Millsap, CEO of the Topeka Shawnee County Public Library. (http://tscpl.org/ is currently my favourite website.)
- A second 15% of the population are at the opposite end of the change spectrum and are not early adaptors. These are the folks who struggled to embrace the online catalogue fifteen years ago and are questioning the real impact eBooks are having on our customers. These are the late adaptors.
- The remaining 70% are the “neophiles,” the vast majority of us who, with a little encouragement and benchmarking, will embrace new ideas and change. Just give us a few minutes to get comfy and figure out how to turn it on!
Despite our gut instincts, the ability to embrace new ideas and change is not gender exclusive or “age-centric.” Men are no more likely to embrace change than women. For example, when you think of eBooks, it’s the 50-60 year old female customer at GPL who is embracing them. They are lining up for our petting zoos and training programs; they love their eBooks! Libraries need all three types of change adaptors on our boards, on staff, and in our customer base. We definitely need the Stephens, Loris and Ginas, but we also need the folks who require that sober second thought to give libraries balance and manageable growth. Plus we need those folks who struggle to adapt. They keep us questioning our relevance and constantly striving to improve the customer experience. We need them all!
Kitty Pope #3 March 2012
PS: Yes, that is Gina and me a few years ago in Florida!