As I troll through the huge range of blogs that I visit daily, I learn a lot. I follow about 600 blogs a day. I try to sense what is happening in all types of libraries—academic, college, school, public, and special libraries. I see great new ideas being implemented throughout libraryland. I worry a lot that these ideas just don’t diffuse quickly enough through our world. I end up wondering this:
* Can school libraries and school boards be truly innovative? Is the public sector different?
* What allows good ideas and innovations to diffuse more quickly through our organizations?
* What are the root causes or barriers to innovation?
* Are there some solutions to this puzzle?
It seems to come down to understanding theories of diffusion. Here are a few definitions for diffusion and/or dispersion:
* The act of dispersing or diffusing something; "the dispersion of the troops"; "the diffusion of knowledge" (http://wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn).
* The spread of a cultural pattern from one culture to another, and where no directed change agent is apparent (http://oregon state.edu/instruct/anth370/gloss.html).
* The spread of people, ideas, technology, and between places (http://seamonkey.ed.asu.edu/emc300/azstandards/ssglossary.htm).
* Technology diffusion is the dissemination of technical information and knowledge and the subsequent adoption of new technologies and techniques by users. Technology diffusion is a component in the broader innovation process (www.smartstate.qld.gov.au/strategy/strategy05_15/glossary.shtm).
So, why does the diffusion of ideas and innovations in libraries feel so slow to me? Here are a few theories.
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