Greetings. Libraries have been around for more than 3,000 years with the oldest one being discovered in what is now Syria–a country with a rich history that today is continually in the news but not because of its vast library of important texts and ancient poetry. Several centuries later the library of Alexandria, Egypt, would be built and gain renown as a great center of learning and a totally hip place to hang out (as depicted below).
Fast forward to 2012 and libraries continue to be essential centers of knowledge in nations and communities around the world though they are having to change in response to the internet and new ways of finding and sharing information. But the fundamental notion of libraries as repositories of information and collective wisdom remains. And the concept of libraries has also broadened to include a much wider range of "shared" materials. In fact, most communities are now likely to have a wide range of "libraries" with books, e-books, magazines, newspapers, music, films and even artwork, tools, assistive devices, sports equipment, toys, computers, software, formal wear, costumes, puppets and a bunch of other things that I've never even imagined. All items that can be readily shared by two or more people who each derive real benefits from their temporary use.
Which makes libraries a clever resource especially when we don't need something forever or even very often.
Which brings me to the very simple notion of creating a lending library for ideas in your company or organization. A place where your best ideas can be shared by anyone who might find a use for them. Or a place where ideas that haven't quite seen the light of day might find a new use or a new home. All because they were made available for others to peruse, think about and apply to the challenges and opportunities they face. Ideas that might otherwise be lost but could lead to new and powerful innovations for customers and colleagues.
And all they require is for someone to take the time to pull them together and make them accessible in an ever-evolving collection of possibilities.
We win in business and in life when we share knowledge and ideas. Especially ideas that have yet to find the right home.