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Managing library innovation using the lean startup method

Mark Bieraugel (Robert E. Kennedy Library, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, California, USA)

Library Management

ISSN: 0143-5124

Article publication date: 8 June 2015




The purpose of this paper is to argue the case that libraries should use the lean startup method for developing, managing and launching radically innovative services or products.


Libraries need to innovate but do not have the management structure to handle the extreme uncertainty in implementing radical innovations. This paper examines the lean startup method for managing innovation, explores how it differs from traditional management tools, outlines the reasons for and barriers to innovation in libraries and highlights the new tools required to manage innovation. This paper also discusses the culture of innovation in libraries and how libraries innovate. The lean startup method is examined through the lens of a variety of innovation models.


The lean startup method for managing radical innovations is shown to be a sound alternative to traditional library management methods.


This paper is one of the few to examine a practical method for librarians to manage radical innovations in academic libraries.



Bieraugel, M. (2015), "Managing library innovation using the lean startup method", Library Management, Vol. 36 No. 4/5, pp. 351-361.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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