Tap Into The Creative Power of Constructive Conflict


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Disrupt to Innovate

Teamwork. Harmony. Getting along.

If these words come to your mind when you think about brainstorming and innovation, you’ll want to pay close attention.

Because it’s about not getting along, about disruption, about disagreement, and about contrasting perspectives. That’s what makes innovation happen.

In The Innovation Code: The Creative Power of Constructive Conflict, Jeff DeGraff and Staney DeGraff introduce a framework to explain how different kinds of leaders can create constructive conflict in an organization. Staney DeGraff is the CEO of Innovatrium Institute for Innovation. And Jeff DeGraff is known as the Dean of Innovation, a professor at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan and a friend of mine for many years. I recently spoke to Jeff about his latest book.


“Disharmony is crucial to innovation.” –Jeff DeGraff

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Many people think that conflict and in-fighting must be solved before you can innovate, but you teach that it’s a healthy part of the process. Why is discord a good thing?innovation code book cover

Innovation is simply a form of useful novelty. It’s the opposite of standardization. Positive tension is required to generate the energy required to create unique ideas. Apathy is the death of innovation, not conflict. So, to make innovation happen, you need to have divergent worldviews – points of departure. This creates new connections and forces ideas to morph into ever more potent forms. Take a good look at the most creative civilizations throughout history, and you will find they sit at the crossroads where a variety of people, and their ideas, meet both geographically and culturally: Athens, Hangzhou, Vienna, or New York. The same is true for teams and partners: Anthony and Stanton, Lennon and McCartney, or Shaq and Kobe. Every strength brings a weakness, and we need the “other” to push us forward and to overcome our own shortcomings. The key is to keep these conflicts constructive and focused on ideas, not personalities.


“Innovation is about constructive conflict-positive tension.” –Jeff DeGraff

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4 Approaches to Innovation

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U.S. Copyright Office Releases Section 108 Discussion Document


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From the U.S. Copyright Office/Library of Congress:

The U.S. Copyright Office today released its Section 108 Discussion Document.

Congress enacted section 108 of Title 17 in 1976, authorizing libraries and archives to reproduce and distribute, without permission, certain copyrighted works on a limited basis for the purposes of preservation, replacement, and research.

2017-09-15_11-16-34However, the exceptions outlined in section 108 did not anticipate and no longer address the ways in which copyrighted works are created, distributed, preserved, and accessed in the twenty-first century.

The Discussion Document emphasizes the Copyright Office’s longstanding position that section 108 needs to be updated so that libraries, archives, and museums have a robust, comprehensible, and balanced safe harbor to fulfill their missions.

The primary objective of the Discussion Document is to provide a concrete framework for further discussion among stakeholders and members of Congress.

In an effort to provide this framework, the Discussion Document includes model statutory language to guide future discussions and to assist in generating consensus on various discrete issues, such as adding museums to the statute; allowing preservation copies to be made of all works in an eligible entity’s collections; replacing the current three-copy limit with a “reasonably necessary” standard when making copies for preservation and research; clarifying the contract supremacy provision to grant libraries, archives, and museums more flexibility to make preservation and security copies of works covered by licensing and purchasing agreements; and eliminating the exclusion of musical, pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works, and motion pictures or other audiovisual works from the provisions permitting copies made upon the request of users, under certain conditions.

Direct to Section 108 Discussion Document
72 pages; PDF

Direct to Background Material


See Also: New Research Resource: U.S. Copyright Office Posts Archive of Briefs and Legal Opinions (September 14, 2017)

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The Library Assessment Cookbook


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Library Assessment CookbookACRL announces the publication of The Library Assessment Cookbook, edited by Aaron W. Dobbs. This new addition to the ACRL Cookbook series compiles lessons and techniques for academic librarians to adapt, repurpose, and implement in their libraries.

Assessment examines how library services and resources impact and are perceived by users, and guides strategic planning discussions and development of future acquisitions and services. Assessment is fundamental to positioning your library within your organization and effectively demonstrating how it furthers your institution’s goals. And it can be more of an art than a science, using the qualitative and quantitative data available to you to show your library’s alignment with the needs and mission of your organization.

The Library Assessment Cookbook features 80 practical, easy-to-implement recipes divided into nine sections:

  • Data Preparation for Assessments
  • Traditional and Online Collections Assessments
  • Instruction Programs Assessments
  • Outreach and Programming Assessment
  • Assessments Assessment
  • Strategic Planning Assessment
  • Service Points and Services Assessment
  • Equipment, Building, and Space Assessment
  • Website and Web Services Assessment

This Cookbook will help librarians of all levels of experience measure and demonstrate their institutional value.

The Library Assessment Cookbook is available for purchase in print and as an ebook through the ALA Online Store and by telephone order at (866) 746-7252 in the U.S. or (770) 442-8633 for international customers.

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OpenStax Takes Open-Textbook Model International


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Open Educational Resources

OpenStax Takes Open-Textbook Model International

OpenStax textbooks are free online and low-cost in print. (Image courtesy of OpenStax)

High-quality, openly licensed textbooks from OpenStax will now be available to students in the United Kingdom, thanks to a partnership between the Rice University-based nonprofit and The Open University‘s UK Open Textbooks project. The international initiative, funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, is part of OpenStax’s mission to make its open-textbook model available to students all over the world.

OpenStax textbooks are expected to save U.S. students more than $145 million this academic year, and the publisher is hoping to do the same for U.K. students, the company said in a news release. “Our goal is to bring affordable course materials to as many students as possible, so international expansion is an exciting and intuitive next step for us,” said OpenStax Managing Director Daniel Williamson in a statement. “By its nature, openly licensed content is meant for adaptation. This project will allow us to research which pieces of our model work well in an international context and which pieces can best be adapted to meet the specific needs of U.K. students.”

In particular, the initiative will examine the differences between U.K. and U.S. institutions and courses, and investigate how the OpenStax model can be adapted for the U.K. “The data suggests there is a great and growing need in the U.K. for more books like those published by OpenStax,” said Martin Weller, professor of educational technology at The Open University, in a statement. “We’ll be exploring how textbooks are chosen by U.K. instructors, what kind of messages resonate with U.K. audiences, how faculty adapt open content to meet their needs and what parts of OpenStax’s process can be generalized for initiatives in other countries. This partnership will help us develop the most-effective strategies for getting resources in the hands of as many students as possible as quickly as possible.”

In addition, the project will work to identify existing communities and institutions in the U.K. that are already using OpenStax books and other open educational resources. These early adopters will provide valuable feedback on the potential of open texts in the U.K., Williamson said.

For more information, visit the UK Open Textbooks and OpenStax sites.

About the Author

About the author: Rhea Kelly is executive editor for Campus Technology. She can be reached at rkelly@1105media.com.

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Ohio University’s new free-expression policy bars indoor protests


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As colleges nationwide wage free speech debates, Ohio University has taken a rare step by completely barring protests inside its buildings. But blistering backlash from campus groups may mean the policy is short-lived.

The policy change in part stems from a sit-in earlier this year where more than 70 protesters were arrested at one of the campus hubs, the Baker University Center.

Police had instructed the sit-in participants — who numbered more than 150 and were rallying against President Trump’s immigration policies — to leave. Those who refused were charged with criminal trespass.

Just a couple of months later, an Ohio municipal court judge found one student in the sit-in not guilty and questioned in his decision the consistency with which the university had applied its free expression policies.

The judge, Todd L. Grace, wrote that the Baker Center had previously served as a space for protests, in one case seemingly with tacit permission by university officials, who kept the building doors unlocked, even after the posted hours, during a rally held in response to the fatal shooting of a black man in Ferguson, Mo., in 2014.

Grace’s assessment prompted senior administrators to consider revisions, said David Descutner, Ohio’s interim executive vice president and provost. A university spokesman said that it was the university’s practice to prohibit disruptive indoor demonstrations, but that had never been cemented into policy.

A policy rewrite was rushed, to the university’s detriment, Descutner said. It was enacted recently — on an interim basis — without senior leaders consulting with faculty or students, who delivered substantial critiques after the policy was published.

Ohio also did not follow its procedure of releasing written rationale to justify such a policy, Descutner said, which he chalked up to merely “oversight.”

“Unfortunately all we can do say we’re sorry on that one; it’s the process part of it, and we should have done better,” he said.

The university hurried to institute something before the academic year launched, but as officials drafted the new mandate, bloody protests erupted in Charlottesville, Va., where white supremacists stormed both the University of Virginia campus and the surrounding city. The events heightened Ohio’s sense of urgency to establish firm policy, Descutner said.

The policy is provisional, but still in effect, but the ban will likely be more narrowly focused after the university hears feedback from various campus groups. Initially, student and faculty representatives had until early October to give their thoughts — that deadline will be extended to at least November, Descutner said.

He said that the university hopes to release more nuanced language, along with a rationale soon — but said right now the current version of the policy will be enforced. Descutner said that one professor at a Faculty Senate meeting Monday questioned the policy’s scope, pointing out that even an unobtrusive protest, something as mild as someone quietly holding a sign, could be construed as breaching the university’s new rules.

Asked if such a protest would be broken up, Descutner said that the university’s goal is to “get through the next couple of weeks and hopefully put something better in place.”

The faculty provided “vigorous and reasonable” criticisms at the meeting Monday, Descutner said.

“Clearly faculty are dissatisfied, and they had a number of very thoughtful objections as it was written, and one of the things we’re trying to do is engage in shared governance around these important decisions,” he said.

The Ohio University chapter of the American Association of University Professors also released a statement listing concerns.

“As a university we need to ensure the maximum capacity for free expression, including public assembly and protest, while guaranteeing such actions do not impinge on the rights of others to speak or protest in public and to be secured against physical harm,” the statement reads. “The interim policy [that] has been enacted fails this test of ensuring maximal expression.”

Student leaders were also displeased with the indoor ban, said the Student Senate president, Landen Lama. As president, Lama is the liaison to administration and will collect students’ responses to the policy.

Lama described the Ohio student body as “very activist,” saying some have been arrested at both student senate and trustee board meetings.

Personally, Lama is “not a huge fan” of the policy, but he said he understands why it was enacted. He said he wanted a couple points of it clarified, such as which campus officials could break up protests.

“We all understand why it’s happening,” he said. “The world has come to this point where we have such polarizing opinions that we are restricting speech, and we understand why, but we’re still going to voice our opinions.”

Legal experts said in interviews that the policy, as it stands, is legally defensible, though will likely face court challenges if it goes unaltered.

Outdoor areas of public campuses are meant to be open for free expression, but universities maintain greater legal leeway in regulating indoor locations and preventing disruption to their core functions, said Azhar Majeed, vice president of policy reform for the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, or FIRE.

FIRE was pleased that the new policy allowed for unscheduled protests outside, but Majeed said it was “disappointed” at the blanket ban indoors.

He said FIRE plans to contact the university and hopes some elements of the policy would potentially be reconsidered.

Colleges will likely start to define with more granularity where protests can and cannot occur, said Peter Lake, director of the Center for Excellence in Higher Education Law and Policy at Stetson University, a phenomenon he called “campus mapping.”

Complete prohibitions like Ohio’s tend to draw judicial scrutiny, he said. More specific policies tend to be more survivable.

The Supreme Court has not weighed in on how much campus space must be dedicated for free expression, Lake said.

“I think there are some open questions, and someone is going to test it,” he said.

The university has run up against legal troubles with free expression before.

With FIRE’s backing, an Ohio student, Isaac Smith, sued the university in 2014 after administrators instructed him to remove a shirt with a sexual double entendre. Smith was representing the group Students Defending Students, an offshoot of the Student Senate that assists students if they’re slapped with a conduct violation — the T-shirt read “We get you off for free.”

The university settled the lawsuit in 2015 by revising some of its free speech practices.

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Baker University Center at Ohio University
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