project developed with Erlend Kyte at CIID Pilot Year
in collaboration with Copenhagen’s municipal library system (Københavns Biblioteker)
, 2009
Simona Maschi, Brian Rink (IDEO)
specific role: concept development, user research, service blueprint and service structure visualisation, experience prototype

Honors:The project was selected and presented at the Danish Ministery of Culture, April 2009

MindThread is a service that allows you, and your knowledge-needs to be connected to the perfect librarian. It also allows you and your librarian to visually build, use and share knowledge pathways you create and explore together.

Who is it for?
MindThread is for people with the need to go in-depth with their research — people who have a need for knowledge exploration and guidance. It could be anyone from a consultant in a small business, a student or someone that wants something more than just a generic answer. For the Librarian it’s a tool for keeping up-to-date with his or her areas of expertise, a service that connects them to other librarians, users and communities, and a chance to visually see and work with the network of information pathways they create. Most of all, it’s a powerful motivational engine, that enables librarians to provide the best possible service to their customers!

Why is it valuable?
The service enables the customer to always know where and to whom to look for maximum guidance for their current knowledge need. As for the librarian; it means they get the right questions, from the customers whom they can benefit the most. It gives them extra motivation, the opportunity to explore and dig more deeply into areas of expertise, as well as a way to easily connect with other expert librarians and other knowledge explorations.

How does it work?
The MindThread service is divided into three phases:

Phase One: Carpet Profiling. When you, either as a librarian or library user, sign up for MindThread, you start creating your own profile! This profile will hold everything you ever read, all the movies you’ve ever seen, all the places you’ve ever visited, links to all your social networks, and your whole education. Additionally, your profile will capture your current interests and your knowledge needs. Using the MindThread profile, librarians and customers will automatically be matched to one another based on knowledge need and expertise.

Phase Two: MindThread Exploration. After the carpet profile match has taken place, and your knowledge need has been accepted by the librarian, it’s time to explore the pathways for answering your questions. This knowledge exploration can happen locally, or remotely, depending on your wish or the geographical location of the librarian. The ability to view, explore, modify and connect is created by MindThread maps, a map visualisation of your exploration.

If there is a previous knowledge exploration that matches your current knowledge need, MindThread will automatically link relevant information from this session to your map. This gives you the possibility to stand on the shoulders of those who walked before you, getting deeper into the material and obtaining more knowledge than ever before.

This also gives librarians with less expertise on a specific topic the chance to use the framework and knowledge of an expert librarian when exploring an area with a user. In this way, an entire network of knowledge explorations will be built, updated, connected and shared among users and librarians, giving everyone using the service the benefit of each other’s work.

Phase Three: Finishing up. The carpet profile and knowledge map you’re working with are continuously updated by whatever new information you and your librarian come across, until you feel that your questions have been answered and you’re completely satisfied. If you at any time in the future want to check out how you got to a certain piece of information or how you connected two areas of interest to each other.

The carpet is there to tell your story. Hidden within its fibers, is all the information you and your librarians explored, including the visual pathways, links, and work you created.

What were your key learnings?
One of the best skills a good librarian has is his or her ability to harvest knowledge and connect the dots among all sources of information, from any field or domain. However, most of these connections are made inside the head of the librarian, with little or no “real world” systematic infrastructure to support this powerful skill. It’s necessary to connect the right customer to the right librarian in order to create a higher level of personal satisfaction and a stronger sense of motivation, on both sides.

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