People will surprise you. That’s the message I hope delegates took away from my Ozri presentation this year.
The appetite for ‘big bang’ projects has diminished, and organisations are increasingly looking for small measurable wins rather than large scale transformation. Management is much more open and receptive to thinking outside the square and taking risks when we deal with digestible bite-size pieces.
As GIS professionals, we can enable people to do great things by giving them the tools and data to do so. In the presentation, I showed how the US National Weather Service has created a commercial industry worth $1.5bn a year by making their data available for people to use, and how Apple has created $20bn of wealth since providing developers with tools that allow them to turn their imagination into smartphone apps.
We can do the same things inside our organisations. By making our spatial data and map making tools available to the business, we are allowing other people in the organisation to create their own value from these building blocks. We are unlocking the creativity and imagination of our people and letting them surprise us with their ideas for using the GIS platform – ideas that we would never come up with ourselves, but that wouldn’t be possible without our passion for GIS.
Rather than being the sole GIS champion for your organisation, you should be identifying other people who can become the champions for you. Like a pyramid selling scheme, those champions will themselves create other believers in the power of GIS, who then turn into the next champions.
As conference delegates return to work, I hope they reflect on everything they learnt at Ozri 2014 and take a moment to imagine how pervasive their GIS could be in their organisation – if only they give people the opportunity to surprise themselves.