LLP Episode #5: Kris Johnson 
“So, if I may, I have two things I could mention here that are inspirational to me but I’ll be really honest with you, I don’t tend to read a lot of books about leadership, particularly like library leadership. But, I find myself drawn to other sources of inspiration.

One book that you may be familiar with but that I have found myself drawn to in the past five or so years is by Seth Godin, and it’s called Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us. The thing I like about this book is, like all of Godin’s books, they are super easy to read. And, the premise is very simple. The premise is that tribes are groups of people connected to each other, to a leader and to an idea. What he really does in this book is emphasize that almost everyone can be a leader.

But, most of us are kept from realizing our potential by fear of criticism or fear of being wrong. Then if you’re drawn to being a leader but you ignore that opportunity to lead, you risk turning into what he calls a sheepwalker, which is someone who fights to protect the status quo at all costs. I think that is what aligns with my thinking about design thinking is that if you’re a design thinker you’re definitely not going to become a sheepwalker.

Another recent source of inspiration from me isn’t necessarily a book, but it’s a person. I’ve attended several presentations given by a designer named Jon Kolko. His last name is spelled K O L K O. He actually has several writings out there that are super inspirational. He’s written some books and actually, I mentioned Harvard Business Review earlier, he has some really good pieces in the Harvard Business Review, most recently one called, Design Thinking Comes of Age.

This is a really good piece because in it he advocates a set of principles collectively known as design thinking which are empathy with users, a discipline of prototyping, and a tolerance for failure, is the best tool we have for creating the kinds of interactions our users need.

And, that in turn we can apply the design thinking to help develop a responsive and flexible organizational culture. That’s what really resonated with me was that his focus on corporations as needing responsive flexible organizational cultures and how design thinking could help with that. I really wanted to make that connection to the work we do in libraries, as well.”

Buy the Book: Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us.

Listen to Kris’ full episode: