Changing Twice: Luc de Brabandere

August 22, 2006 on 1:35 pm | In Human Systems, Stimulated by the Literature | 1 Comment

“If you want to change, you have to change twice. You not only need to change the reality of your situation, you also need to change your perception of this reality.”

These are the words of Luc de Brabandere, an innovation consultant at Boston Consulting Group in Paris, written in his wonderful book: The Forgotten Half of Change. What he is trying to indicate is that you have to change things (structures, programs, ways of doing things, etc.) to improve and innovate, but you also have to change the way you look at these things: thus changing reality and changing perception are the two halves of change.

Though hard to choose one aspect of this book to focus on, one of his most interesting passages is about Seeing — perhaps because it so tied to the issue of our perceptions. He describes four seeing dichotomies:

Seeing and Perceiving — Our eyes are not cameras and we get ideas by changing our perceptions of things

Seeing and Believing — We believe what we see but sometimes we se what we believe (this is a significant problem in terms of perception of reality — I think of mental models)

Seeing and Knowing — Even though we know certain things we can still see something different; for instance, we know the earth revolves around the sun but we still see the sun setting (another mental models problem)

Seeing and Hoping — We don’t see the world as it is but as we are

These seeing dichotomies pose some limitations on us and make getting clarity on reality more difficult. Yet our perceptions and our mental models (if tested) can serve as the keys to change. Seeing what is missing, seeing what exists that we didn’t see before, seeing an “empty chair” at the table, seeing new landscapes of possibility, and seeing more clearly the essence of what we desire. All these are crucial to effectively changing, adapting, and innovating — to develop “the new” and the innovative for users and for ourselves.

Efforts to Transform

August 21, 2006 on 12:10 pm | In Transforming | No Comments

Many university libraries are working to transform how they deliver services, assess and evaluate service and learning, and develop new types of relationships on campus to better influence learning and teaching. There are as many approaches to doing this as there are libraries. And these libraries are using blogging technology to communicate their work and intentions to a broader community. For a long time library strategy conversations were held internally and rarely invited the user community to be a part of them except obliquely through the use of focus groups and surveys.

McMaster University Libraries in Hamilton, Ontario (Canada) is one example of a more interactive approach to the shaping of strategy and the conducting of strategic conversations regarding transformation. Unvierstity Librarian, Jeff Trzeciak, has started a blog to open these conversations with the McMaster community. He has also established a Transformation Team to develop recommendations to him and to the rest of the Libraries regarding how to respond to the external environment within which they find themselves.

While there are no community members on the Transformation Team currently I wonder if this is not a way of changing/transforming even while in the process of discussing transformation? I applaud Jeff for starting the blog and appointing the Task Force and wonder how many intersections they will find once they begin to look for innovation (one of the charges to the Task Force).

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