It may all burn down in a most delightful way! Taking risks and challenging the 'done thing' to enable opportunity-led innovation in an academic library [poster]

ALIA Library

Thompson, Ellen; Lewin, Kim

Asia-Pacific Library and Information Conference 2018, 30 July - 2 August 2018 Gold Coast: Roar Leap Dare
This conference poster presentation outlines the impact of emerging technologies on academic libraries.
Virtual Reality [VR], Augmented Reality [AR] 360° video technology, and more recently holography, stands to be one of the most disruptive suites of technologies affecting organisations, including the education and library sectors. While educators are investigating how these technologies may enrich learning experiences, libraries are developing digital literacy programmes to enable their communities to experience emerging technologies which are impacting upon the way we live our lives. Academic libraries are exploring ways to make the range VR, AR, 360° and holographic technologies more accessible to staff and students across the university, regardless of faculty affiliation or degree programme. This includes seeking out content for the platforms – content provision being the traditional responsibility of the university library. Where the technology, content and the user intersect is where unforeseen opportunities to innovate are occurring, and Libraries, such as QUT Library, are in the unique position of being able to bring those three elements into contact. 
There are many challenges in this space, and an approach would be to scope and the solve the problems: problem-led innovation. Alternatively, there is opportunity-led innovation - a “let’s see where this goes” approach. It is a more transformative mind-set and one which necessarily challenges existing processes, attitudes, and structures. The catalyst for one opportunity-led experience at QUT Library was the purchase of a specific piece of high-end VR technology – the Oculus Rift. Centred on how the Rift was acquired and deployed, this paper will share both top-down and bottom-up perspectives of opportunity-led innovation.
Firstly, the perspective of a senior library manager whose goal is to challenge internal barriers to innovation; empower staff to become intrapreneurs; to create and influence an organisational culture within which creativity and experimentation may flourish; and where ideas can go from inspiration to implementation. This is a stage on a continuum of cultural change at QUT Library, one which will ensure library services and staffs are in a good position to adapt and reinvent in the face of constant flux.
Secondly, the perspective of a faculty librarian thriving in a climate where intuition and risktaking is rewarded, where open-ended experimentation is encouraged, and where – if the established processes and procedures are barriers – the ‘done thing’ can be challenged, rules can be bent or bypassed and the end point is allowed to be fuzzy. This openness also means there is space for the client to step into, to co-create solutions and services which meet “authentic demand”.
It may all burn down delightfully in the end, but this in itself is a valid outcome of risk-taking, and may even be the most valuable contribution to fostering a culture of innovation.

Deakin, ACT: Australian Library and Information Association
Queensland University of Technology Library