Friday, 5th February 2016
Information centres in manufacturing environments can tap into the mindset of their users by providing opportunities for engineers and designers to experiment with new tools. Building a collaborative relationship with the IT department can be crucial to this process.
As part of an article on innovative service trends, Stephen Abram wrote: "All innovations can be important, but there's a big difference between those that merely improve a current process and those that are transformational" (Computers in Libraries, June 2011).
In the world of manufacturing and engineering, rapid prototyping of new versions of products and new manufacturing processes is crucial to success. Engineers are eager to experiment with new technologies and tools, to see how these might apply to their design and development activities. Transformational innovation can occur when an innovation matches up with the organisation's culture and users' needs.
A recent Jinfo case study about the information centre at The MITRE Corporation describes how its team has understood the culture of engineers and put itself at the heart of innovation.
The MITRE Information Centre offers its users dedicated spaces for work and collaboration which are outfitted with 3D printers. By making these printers available to create prototypes and develop ideas, the information centre not only draws employees to these locations, but directly fosters innovation across the organisation. This then supports the work of the centre's analysts, who are embedded in research and development teams.
Partnering with IT
Information centres with a focus on innovation are likely to seek out and experiment with new technologies to garner intelligence from their content sources. Whether it is using visualisation tools, video formats or big data analysis tools, such experimentation generally depends on support from the IT organisation. Responding to this need, our current Jinfo Research Focus "Strategic Alignment of IS and IT" is generating a number of relevant articles, reports and webinars through March 2016.
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