Catherine Dhanjal Practical Action on Jinfo's Research Focus "The information team with the right stuff", from a research and information centre manager
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By Catherine Dhanjal


We asked one of our subscribers what they found most useful and what resonated most with them in the  Research Focus, "The information team with the right stuff", in areas from the importance of knowledge in context to fully understanding research needs and how to motivate team members.


The information team with the right stuff"How are the articles, webinars and Community sessions from Research Focus, "The information team with the right stuff", being used?

We spoke to one of our subscribers, manager of a research and information centre in a business development bank, who explained how she found useful content in the Focus on areas from personal development to valuing the services of the information centre. 


Jinfo: What did you find most valuable about the Research Focus?

Research manager: In his article, "What will information management look like in 10 years?", John Orosa mentions that "Information managers will become curators of information and arrangers of knowledge in context".

As information professionals offering research services, we have always sought to organise knowledge in context, as that is where we are able to find and offer value for our clients. Of course, this goes hand-in-hand with understanding the needs of the organisation. I often use the analogy that we are translators.

We translate our clients' needs into value-added services that respect the budgets we have, while at a more granular level, by searching specific databases, we translate a client's information request in the database's language to locate the relevant information or data component needed. Thus, we see that the organisation's needs are dealt with at various levels. Orosa's conclusion is on target: i) Understand business processes and information requirements, ii) Organise information in a way that answers your client's need, and iii) Understand information flows.

This leads us into mind sets and continuous improvement. Robin Neidorf's article tackling "how to refashion information teams into client-serving consultancies" highlighted the importance of continuing professional development. This means taking charge of our own careers and remaining as up-to-date as possible for ourselves and our organisations. For ourselves, because no one else is accountable for our own personal development, and for our organisations, especially in an advisory capacity, because no one else understands information licensing, searching and the use of information like information professionals do.

In developing and motivating team members, I often assign projects with members' strengths and interests in mind. Working with one's strengths means you are tapping into a natural talent, something that generally comes easily. The task or project ends up being fulfilling, motivating and fun! This doesn't mean you ignore aspects of your career that need improvement, because that's where professional development comes in...and yes, you can and should also develop your strengths! 

Several important points come through in Robin's "Rethinking the role of information teams" and "Research Focus Insights and Actions" reports.

The first presents interview results which provide some benchmarks, highlight ideas and neatly summarise the collective insights of participants. The second concisely presents action steps within each insight. For example, SOAPS presents how one could be thinking about their processes (streamline, outsource, automate, push back or stop). With changing technology and client needs, one's service offering ends up being more malleable than we may think. Reading about SOAPS made me reflect once again on the pertinence of one of our services.

Finally, Helen Josephine's article "Upgrade communication skills to reshape business interactions" leads us into incremental improvements of processes and she highlights excellent questions to help focus one's thinking.

Jinfo: How did it affect your thinking?

Research manager: Overall, the theme of this Research Focus validates much of our thinking, while bringing up points that we can address going forward.


Jinfo: How does Jinfo help you to stay ahead of the curve on technology developments and gain other insights?

Research manager: In general, Jinfo's themes brings up issues that affect services such as ours. The fact that a theme lasts a quarter allows for some depth to be covered, as well as presenting the theme from different perspectives. More specifically on technology developments, it is useful that Jinfo highlights various providers which helps us in identifying and evaluating them.  

Find out more

The main lessons learned from this three-month Research Focus, plus a thematic index to all content published, are included in the Insights and Actions report from the Research Focus, "The information team with the right stuff". Visit the Research Focus page to get your copy.

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