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Innovating Paradigms

Scott Bahlmann

My previous entry considered the implications of scarcity, and how it can limit innovations. It seems the most effective way to challenge this perception would be through a paradigm innovation. Our final presentations included a proposal for this sort of operational shift in regards to inclusive spaces on the UW campus. Even though they began by saying it was a proposal for a process, rather than a project or location, I still latched on to those specifics in their example rather than the operational suggestions they proposed. Even while in the process, the execution of an idea seems to hold more impact than the way the ideation is approached. 

The International Criminal Court had to really engage communities on a large scale in counter the traditional localized tribunals of our grandparents. With a global organization able to provide greater objectivity and resource sharing, the ICC had a long process of establishing procedures, participants, and position. I found it really interesting that some of the most involved members during the creation of this organization decided not to be member states once it was established.  


Changing internal perspectives is essential for these paradigm shifts. I’m interested in how we can achieve an environment of inventiveness that facilitates participation from the community. 

Gurian explored the shifting role of the curator in response to community knowledge, indicating that a wide range of sources and perspectives should be included. This supports a shift from neutrality to inclusion, giving genuine representation rather than a space for personal interpretation. Though Gurian was more focused on a collection, I feel that my role is to act as a curator of my community, giving them space and voice. Open Library has shown how this opportunity for involvement generates investment. Eva was clear that being responsive to the communities suggestions was essential in order to avoid creating a feeling of betrayal. This helped generate buy in for the changes she wanted to facilitate for her users. UDelft went even further, supplying a budget for students to make proposals for. This clearly allows for direct representation of the student body in the space, and we saw the VR area that resulted from it. 

One of my weaknesses is inviting the direct contribution of others. I grew up very resourceful and independent, and have generally found it easier to take on all the tasks in a project myself. With others involved, I would have to explain my expectations and trust that they were understood, and that the other participants would be as invested in the outcome as I was. This course has shown that the best way to build that investment is to let others help develop the outcome, and then support their path to accomplishing it. I’ll certainly be more considerate of this, especially in light of one of our class discussions back at the Bicycle Hotel. When considering positive and negative leadership qualities, a few of the undergrads were disappointed in leaders who didn’t offer them satisfying roles on a project, who felt like they weren’t trusted and underutilized.  

UDelft Students created a VR zone.

UDelft Students created a VR zone.

Lucy shares a story at her local library.

Lucy shares a story at her local library.

This is often seen in the public library setting where teen volunteers, or volunteers in general, are given the same repetitive options; cleaning, cutting out items in bulk, removing old stickers, or sitting at a sign-up table. There is value in the quick list as a time saver and for volunteers that have a short time frame for their required hours. I feel it would be a more meaningful experience to find out the volunteers particular interests, and letting them work under a sort of mentorship with librarians in a way that would have particular meaning to them. This would expand the interactions, hopefully demonstrate more trust and create greater opportunities for personal growth. DOK’s Children’s Director program provides this sort of opportunity in a very expanded way. This year Lucy was able to participate in programs, meet the princess Laurentien at an event, engage and support her peers, and received compensation in the form of a free book each month.  

With the understanding that conversations and direct engagement are more important than self-reported data, I’ll use my reflection assignment to consider how my library community can be more directly engaged and represented in our decision making processes.