The Gospel of Good Enough

Incredible article in Wired this month on the Good Enough Revolution, which explores and explains a set of emergent economic principles that I think are equally applicable to information seeking. There’s a degree to which we really need to start looking hard at economic models in library and information science…I think they can really inform the creation and distribution of the services that we offer. Check out this quote, for example…

…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…

At the OITP panel I was a part of at ALA, I think that Eli and I shocked a few people in the audience when we asserted that quality of information doesn’t matter. That isn’t to say it NEVER matters…I want my doctor and my lawyer to have the best information possible. But for the vast majority of information need, good enough is good enough.

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?


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