Friday, September 14, 2012

#RSQ12: Tamara Kleinberg (and the Starbucks library)

The closing keynote for the R-Squared Conference was Tamara Kleinberg, the founder of imaginibbles and author of Think Sideways: a game-changing playbook for disruptive thinking. Kleinberg talked about engaging our imagination and led us through several creativity exercises.

I believe the hope was that Kleinberg would get us interacting in a way that allow people from the four experiences to share what they had learned. Unfortunately, that didn't occur. Rather than the creativity exercises that we did, we might have created cross experience teams to brainstorm solutions for specific library situations. That brainstorming could have included her one exercise which was to take on the persona of a company (Disney, Starbucks, Chipolte, or a few others) and design a new library.

My table was tasked with designing a Starbucks influenced library and that was fun! It led to a very different layout and focus. The hub/center of the library was the cafe, with music/media being close to the cafe, then the books. Music is piped into the space. Seating is comfortable in order to encourage people to linger. People can download media easily, including ebooks. People can even download parts of ebooks, which means they can select specific chapters that they want to read. In addition, people can combine books with music, so that a book could have a specific soundtrack.

Better safe than sorry may be the most dangerous thing ever saidThe library would have extended hours, opening early and staying open late. And it would be a kid-free zone. This is keeping the way people use Starbucks, where you don't find kids hanging out. It is a place for adults.

When I tweeted an overview of the library, I received responses from a few people who liked the idea! We only took 10 minutes for the exercise, so imagine what you team could come up with if you did it. Imagine brainstorming a new product idea as if you were Apple or some other company that creates experiences.

I began reading Kleinberg's bookon one of my flights. The book includes many stories and exercises that you can do in order to spark your creativity. It's a book that can read in bits, allowing you to tap into specific exercises or ideas. I need to consider what exercises to share/use with others, as well as who I might recommend the book to.  (Actually, there is a new person in my school who is very focused on creativity and who might like this book.)  The book is definitely a quick should be able to read it and use it quickly.

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