Developing innovative services and managing change
chapterposted on 30.06.2008, 11:47 by Graham Walton
Health care library and information services (LIS) face continual change. Nationally, geographical boundaries are altered and layers of management are introduced or jettisoned to impact ultimately on individual LIS. Locally, mergers between hospitals occur with previously unrelated library services being amalgamated. Within individual organisations, the reporting lines for the library can be completely changed resulting in new line management with different ideas and approaches. The librarian can find themselves part of a new umbrella structure with new colleagues and processes. Existing co-operative schemes can end with LIS being forced to locate new collaborators and partners. Software companies can develop new interfaces to databases necessitating wholesale changes to user education and documentation. As health professionals embrace evidence based practice, a new portfolio of services is required to support this trend. A larger organisation can decide that the library needs to physically move to new accommodation. The range of external environmental factors that can impact on libraries was documented in a complete issue of Health Libraries Review (Day and Walton, 1995). Most of the changes that were identified were unavoidable and required a response from the health LIS. This chapter explores change within the health LIS context and demonstrates the centrality of innovative practice. The drive to innovate has existed for many years. Indeed Machiavelli was aware of the pressure in the Middle Ages: "There is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle, than to initiate new order of things." Machiavelli's vision was limited by his failure to acknowledge that innovation can be managed as part of the change process. Innovation and change management are complex and intertwined concepts. Many books, articles and research projects have explored innovation and change. This chapter aims to provide a broad introduction to key trends and concerns. The nature of change in the 21st century is described together with the imperative this places for innovative service development. There then follows an exploration of creativity within the context of innovation. Approaches to the facilitation and management of innovative services are outlined. The chapter concludes by discussing resistance to change, and ways in which such resistance can be overcome.
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