I don’t know, but it’s what I’m thinking about thanks to Jason Griffey
Think about the services in your library, and the amount of effort and resources poured into making your services as good as they can possibly be. What if good enough is really enough, and instead we should be expanding our range of services instead of seeking perfection in any single one? How does that change the way libraries operate?
He cites a Wired magazine article – The Good Enough Revolution: When Cheap and Simple Is Just Fine which he quotes
…it happens to be a recurring theme in Good Enough products. You can think of it this way: 20 percent of the effort, features, or investment often delivers 80 percent of the value to consumers. That means you can drastically simplify a product or service in order to make it more accessible and still keep 80 percent of what users want—making it Good Enough…
Aaron Schmidt responded in the comments
This is great, mostly because just yesterday I was thinking about just the opposite! My thoughts aren’t fully formed but my basic line of thinking is that good enough services are probably wholly unremarkable and don’t leave any sort of impression on our users. Doing Things Right (even if we have to do fewer things) with pride and quality, on the other hand, could make libraries stand out and make our users admire us.
I admire and respect both Jason and Aaron, so as a proper little librarian, I hurried off to do some reading to decide if I agreed with either, both or neither of them.Turns out I’m still not certain.
Sometimes good enough is good enough. Insisting on great product can mean you miss the boat, time wise. It can mean you’re so invested in the finished product that you’re resistant to changing it. It could mean you produce a Porsche when a Saturn could produce the same result, getting you from point A to point B.
Let’s say you can spend a lot of time and money developing a new system or product. Since were talking about libraries and it’s timely lets say it’s a new service that helps patrons find a new job. You could insist that you’ve covered all your bases, considered every possible problem, question and need before you make it available. But while you’re doing that there are people who need your help who aren’t getting it. Or you could make it available when it’s good enough. People will have access to a service they need and you’ll learn as you go what needs improvement. Remember holding on to it until it’s perfect doesn’t guarantee you’ll wont run into problems later. In this case, as long as you’re willing to make modifications as you go along, and you should be, it is good enough.
I can also see problems with doing things that are good enough. Patrons who encounter problems and obstacles to their goals may become frustrated and never come back. They wont be around to know when you’ve improved the system or service.
So I’m not sure where the line is. What do you think?
- It’s Not The ‘Good Enough’ Revolution; It’s Recognizing What The Consumer Really Wants
- Is good enough enough?
- The New Mantra of Tech: It’s Good Enough
- Getting to Good Enough
- What Can We Learn From Pew’s Changing World of Librarians
- You Can Not Do More With Less – Less for Libraries Means Less For Our Communities and They Deserve More
- We’re barely treading water, what will keep us from drowning?