Citizens gaming artificially intelligent policy mechanisms, a telepresence Luddite movement, ecological damage from cyberattacks, corporations supplanting governments, & rights for intelligent software agents – Caroline Baylon of the UK’s All-Party Parliamentary Group for Future Generations explores potential implications for the digital world, cybersecurity, and AI in the IMAJINE scenarios.
Sometimes – often – the most interesting ideas comes from the margins. The status quo is best challenged from the borderlands and fringes, the shadows, anywhere that is overlooked.
In our digitalised world, new ways to create, manage, and share information are emerging all the time. The most innovative and rewarding approaches might not come from the institutions that are longest established, have the best trained staff, or the most substantial budget.
They might come from places where people are driven by passion to experiment with something new.
I recently sat down for a chat with Dr. Ludi Price, China & Inner Asia Librarian at London’s School of Oriental and African Studies, and an Honorary Visiting Fellow at City University’s School of Library & Information Science. Her research has focussed on fan information behaviour: the ways in which communities of people with a shared passion for pop culture have managed, organised, and distributed information relating to their fandom.
What can information professionals, the institutions and communities they serve, learn from the way that fans deal with the same challenges and opportunities faced by those who deal with information for a living? Ludi has some answers.
Following our recent two-part discussion on this blog, you can hear Saskia Van Uffelen, Belgium’s Digital Champion, speaking with me on the OECD’s Government After Shock podcast in this week’s discussion.
During our interview, Saskia explores communication, leadership, and adaptation beyond crisis. If we pull on the “elastic” of our society and its institutions too far, it will break. Are we ready to fashion a new, more resilient world as the crises of 2020 demonstrate the old one’s limitations?
Saskia Van Uffelen is the Digital Champion for Belgium, tasked with promoting the benefits of digital society as part of the European Commission’s efforts to ensure every European citizen acquires the digital skills they need to remain productive, employable and enfranchised. After a career encompassing roles at Xerox, Compaq, HP, Arinso, Bull, and Ericsson, she is currently Corporate Vice President for the French group GFI, supervising developments in the Benelux countries. Saskia is also the author of Dare For Tomorrow: Leading, Working, Learning, and Living in a Digital World. You can read the first part of our interview here.
As Digital Champion, you have an interest in the future of the public library, an institution which is also very dear to my heart. The social changes you’re describing will have an impact on our civic information institutions, and the context they operate in.
You’ve said elsewhere that, “If anything has remained the same in your organisation (culture, processes, eco-systems), it will simply not work anymore. You need to adapt your company and your culture. Adapt or die.”
Are libraries too prone to thinking about what used to work, instead of looking strategically to the future and to forces outside their sector?Read more
Saskia Van Uffelen is the Digital Champion for Belgium, tasked with promoting the benefits of digital society as part of the European Commission’s efforts to ensure every European citizen acquires the digital skills they need to remain productive, employable and enfranchised. After a career encompassing roles at Xerox, Compaq, HP, Arinso, Bull, and Ericsson, she is currently Corporate Vice President for the French group GFI, supervising developments in the Benelux countries. Saskia is also the author of Dare For Tomorrow: Leading, Working, Learning, and Living in a Digital World.
The crises of 2020 have moved many aspects of our lives online, not always without complications. I started by asking what this year looks like from the perspective of Belgium’s Digital Champion.Read more
I think one of the hard things about trying something new is figuring out how to work with people’s expectations. When you click that link, do you want to be told a good story? Do you want to be given a good puzzle, with the satisfaction of finding the “right” solution? How much effort should you be expected to put in? How much uncertainty should you experience?
We talked about strategy and foresight, audience and agency, libraries and information (inevitably), and also learning from the wonder, freedom, and richness of children’s play.
It was a good chat. Check it out over at the Writing Platform website.
This week, I caught up with Martin Kristoffer Bråthen. Martin’s head of innovation at Biblioteksentralen, the cooperative business which supplies libraries across Norway with collection materials, equipment, and services.
Martin was a participant in the recent scenarios for the future of Norwegian schools project, and previously talked about ‘the Future Sound of Libraries’ on this site in 2018.
This time, we got together to talk about physical versus digital library services; curation, content, and filter bubbles in the age of Netflix; and, inevitably, the pandemic.
In fact, that’s where we started. I asked him how things were over in Oslo. Read more
Our University of Oslo scenarios for the future of schools, out this week, surfaced health, and perceptions of health, as a battleground between parents and institutions in the education sector of 2050.
This was an “a-ha” moment for university researchers seeking new issues to explore around the digitalisation of education.
In scenario planning, we don’t aim to predict the future, but rather to generate plausible visions which can usefully inform present-day decision-making.
The future stories we create together are intended to highlight issues and drivers which exist in the present; the future scenario can then be set aside in order to focus on the issue at hand.
For the Oslo education researchers, a world in which parents and institutions warred over children’s health in a heavily-surveilled society – bickering with ‘the algorithm’ even over when to wipe your child’s nose – highlighted the extent to which their research should explore questions of health and wellbeing.
Today, in the Norwegian news, we see a parent-led Facebook group urging the city to close schools while the municipal authorities maintain that there is no reason yet to do so.
The campaigners argue that if businesses are sending staff home, then young children – who are less able to follow guidelines on infection control, like coughing into your elbow – should certainly go back to their families too.
Questions of distance learning, and education via screens and digital devices, may be sharpened by the current pandemic – even for the youngest children.
How will coronavirus affect the way we teach and learn, in the short and long term? Could it impact even the youngest children, irrespective of whether they contract the disease?
Good foresight work can help communities, institutions, and individuals navigate such turbulent and uncertain situations. You can read more about the Oslo education scenarios project here.
I joined multimedia artist Peter Miller a.k.a. Scribbletronics to talk about his work creating art from the digitised collections at the State Library of Victoria.
Our conversation ranged across questions of serendipity and creativity, empathy and respect for historical figures whose images we use, and the sheer delight of experimenting with visual art in the archive.
In 2017, I spent six months developing special community engagement projects for the University of Southern Queensland (USQ).
I had a wide remit to find new ways to connect with the local community, pilot external partnerships, and encourage innovation in line with a new service model being rolled out across the university’s Scholarly and Information Services division (SILS).
During that time, among other projects, Dr. Kate Davis and I won & delivered the division’s first external tender; SILS partnered with the university’s radio school to pilot podcasts bringing together academic experts, artists, and professionals from across Australia; and we joined forces with Ann Arbor District Library in the US to offer coaching & professional development.
This week saw the announcement of another project coming to fruition: a partnership between staff on the university’s Toowoomba campus and Cobb+Co Museum, the local site of the Queensland Museum Network.
Cobb+Co’s Learning Officer Tony Coonan worked with SILS’ Zoe Lynch and Shane Gadsby to develop a browser-based version of Burguu Matya, a traditional game attributed to the Wiradjuri people.
The game had been available to play in physical form at Cobb+Co’s Binangar Gallery, dedicated to Aborginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Zoe and her team of media designers, invited to explore external partnerships, proposed developing an online version which could be played on devices both within the museum and statewide.
The successful small-scale pilot tested the SILS in-house media design team’s capacity for work with external clients, strengthened relationships between the university and its local community, and explored the opportunities for USQ to enrich the cultural and learning offer for both the people of Toowoomba and users of the wider Queensland Museum Network. The future relationship between the university and the museum will be structured and enhanced by a memo of understanding.