From page to potential: the merits of an IT book club

Published November 11, 2019

Colleagues talking.

Where do good ideas come from?

I’ve been thinking about all the ways an IT organization like ours can be, and should be, evolving. The engine of that evolution can be fueled by something as simple as a spark: a chance exchange of ideas between thoughtful, diverse people.

These sparks fly every day, especially at UB where so many of us are engaged in daily learning.

I overhear conversations like this all the time. You probably do too. Two people bump into each other in the hallway or the break room, and share a few words about their interests, or the latest book they’re reading.

Sharing in this way has intrinsic value, strengthening our connections to those around us and inspiring us to think differently about our own experiences. It also comes naturally to us, built into the evolution of human life and society.

But much more challenging is to provide the oxygen for those sparks to grow into something more. Given the number of avid readers among our ranks, starting a book club was an intuitive way we could not only encourage this kind of sharing, but provide a framework to take the ideas we share even further.

Many thanks to my colleagues Kari Costelloe and Kathleen Murphy who helped organize the effort and find our inaugural read: The Power of Moments by Chip and Dan Heath. The Power of Moments is about how brief experiences in our lives—like a random meeting in the hallway—have the potential to change our perspectives forever. That’s a power that can be harnessed to great positive effect, especially in areas like higher education, customer service and team management.

Not only do the ideas our group discusses offer a path toward the kind of evolution that’s vital to an organization like ours, but they have the power to help us as individuals stay connected to what’s important and impactful in our own lives.

I’m proud of our team for finding a way to harness their natural thoughtfulness and curiosity into something that will benefit and enrich themselves,their colleagues and the campus community around them. That’s what the work we do is all about.

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