Shortly after its establishment in 1970, researchers at Xerox Parc invented the personal computer, complete with graphical user interface, windows, icons and a mouse. Yet, Xerox completely failed to successfully market and sell the personal computer and is still today known for making photocopiers and mainframes. In 1975, an employee at Kodak built the first digital camera. In 2012, Kodak filed for bankruptcy, having had its photographic film business disrupted by competitors invested heavily in promoting the “new” technology of digital photography. So why do large organizations (including academic institutions) fail to evolve with the times? And what is your strategy for supporting evolution and innovation in your organization? How do you adapt to and benefit from change and new ideas?
In 2018, Athenaeum21 was commissioned to conduct an environmental scan of how and why digital strategies in a range of organizations succeed, and also why they “fail.”
In November of 2018, Athenaeum21 (A21) began working with the New York University Division of Libraries (DoL) to align the organization to its stated mission and values, and to uncover its longer-term aspirations. Continuing through April of 2019, the work focused on organizational discovery and alignment as well as identifying and designing shared criteria for prioritization of work. The work was intended to deepen the conversation among the DoL staff about setting and meeting their strategic goals within the context of foreseeable trends in education and research libraries. Both the activities and outcomes of this work are intended to inform the thoughtful design of administrative structures, decision-making criteria, and a communications plan that will empower staff to respond confidently to oncoming trends, challenges, and opportunities.