Being an Information Innovator

Records Management Journal

ISSN: 0956-5698

Article publication date: 12 July 2011




Sanderson, M. (2011), "Being an Information Innovator", Records Management Journal, Vol. 21 No. 2, pp. 161-162.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Innovation and entrepreneurship are not topics that hit the headlines very often in the records management press or conference agendas, despite plenty of evidence of entrepreneurial and innovative activities by records managers, for example, in implementing EDRM systems and change management programmes. Records managers' contributing to others' innovation processes is one thing but being innovative ourselves is another matter. Given that innovation is key to remaining relevant in a changing world and entrepreneurship so highly regarded, and rewarded, it is a surprise that this subject is not better covered in the literature, and it is a delight to see this publication.

Records managers should not be put off by the title, as the content is predominantly generic in nature and relevant to any information professional. It is not that you have too many books to choose from on this subject from an information professional's viewpoint. Whether a student or an experienced practitioner, this book is for you. It provides a landscape picture of the theory and practice of innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship, as well as the relationship between the three. It also enables you to assess yourself and gives some useful insights into the relevant competencies and behaviours, as well as an understanding of the environmental conditions needed for these to flourish. This book could help records managers improve self‐awareness and to develop a language for better articulating their contribution as an entrepreneur and innovator.

Written by an academic, seemingly for the undergraduate, the book is very well structured and easy to read, with plenty of questions to test your understanding, as well as a list of further readings for those who are motivated to delve deeper. Of particular interest to many records managers may be the differentiation explained between the paradigm shift type innovation and incremental innovation. Also, an understanding of how innovation is just as relevant in the public sector and “Not for Profit” organisations as it is to the private sector, with the customer and profit motive being replaced by the “citizen and external stakeholders”, with value being measured in terms of “social profit” and “social value”. The introduction of concepts such as “knowledge entrepreneurship” “risk element in innovation”, “adaptive behaviour for performance improvement” provides some food for thought.

Overall, I found the book richer in explanation than in inspiration. The chapter on “innovation in practice” was the most disappointing and could have been greatly enhanced by some real case studies, preferably from different information practitioners from across different sectors. I found the frequent reference to “information organisations” frustrating, as it was not made clear whether the reference was to “information vender” organisations only, or to any organisation where information is considered a major asset needing to be managed. Reference was predominantly to librarian professionals and the academic sector.

Despite a few reservations I would say with this fairly unique title, covering such an important subject for information professionals, should be on the reading list of every information student as well as any information practitioner wishing to brush up on the subject, or more importantly who want to better practise and articulate their and their team's entrepreneurial skills, creativity and innovativeness. Perhaps the future of our profession depends on it!

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