Respond to what’s really happening

“Respond in the field to what’s really happening.” – Sebastian Thrun. Not coincidentally, this is also a law of good improvisation.

Ideas can distract

At the 99u conference (yes, I’m still writing about it) Thrun said that we must always reinvent ourselves – any long term company or organization must. He recommended rapid prototyping to keep moving forward. Here’s the video of his talk.

“Solve societal problems first (and the money will come later).” Of course, this is easy to say when you have significant money up front to experiment.

Photo of Sebastian Thrun at 99u in New York City wearing Google Glass and standing in front of a giant screen that says MOOC

Mr Thrun and the MOOC monster

Thrun didn’t want to speak much about his work in education, but he did say we’re a bunch of doubters who believe the 1:1 faculty to student ratio is essential. I don’t know if that’s true, but he has a salient point when he says that educators can’t use the past 1,000 years to predict the next 1,000.

One example: his five year old thinks a magazine is broken if it doesn’t respond to his touch the way an iPad does.

So, libraries must respond to what’s really happening. One that I frequently hear about leading the curve is North Carolina State University.

Which academic libraries do you consider inspired in their responsiveness?