Innovation Can Be Fun
by Dick Kaser
This month’s cover features a Hindi goddess, but not just any goddess. It’s Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge, who plays a sitar two-handed while holding a book in her third.
Saraswati’s picture on this month’s cover illustrates two things: First off, this issue includes a story about a library serving a professional community in India where this goddess is known. Second, this issue as a whole turned out to be about innovation, and who could argue with the fact that having an extra limb would be a true innovation? In Indian mythology, Saraswati actually has four.
A wise person once told me that innovation isn’t just about doing things that are new or different; it’s about doing things that in the eye of the beholder (the user, patron, or customer) meet a need that may not have been appreciated before. Innovations are the things that truly alter and improve how we do things; they may even shift our proverbial paradigms.
At the National Insurance Academy library in India, where one of this issue’s feature articles is set, there is a shrine to Saraswati. At that place, the book the avatar is holding is Peter Drucker’s Managing in Turbulent Times. This book was published in 1980, but it could have been written yesterday.
As you read through this issue on innovation, recall that constant improvements are also important, and sometimes the best things take time to realize. Innovation may not just involve looking forward, but also looking back, or as Isaac Newton might have said, not just looking down, but up.
Hope to see you this month at SLA in Philly or ALA in New Orleans.
Dick Kaser, Executive Editor