Its a question worth asking: where do great GIS ideas come from?
I attend plenty of conferences. Its always a pleasure to see how companies and individuals are applying the technology. Always, there are a small group who stand out. Those with unique ideas and products. These are often breathtakingly simple. See Valarm and their work with monitoring and sensors for an example.
Where do great GIS ideas come from?
So do innovators sit in dark rooms on stormy nights pen in hand, feverishly scribbling down ideas?
Well, maybe some. But most have been carefully watching and listening. Clients are often the way innovators get started. Sentences like:
"If only we could .. "
"What we really need is .."
can be the start of new ideas and new products.
This is a common thread in many of our client and prospective client conversations. We are looking, and probing. Its amazing what you can learn from clients sharing needs and frustrations. Translating these thoughts into tangible GIS solutions is the art. Usually its the solutions to the simplest needs which are the most innovative. The sort of solutions which lead you to say "Why did't I think of that?".
Actively look for needs. Probe clients. Encourage staff feedback. Innovative ideas, and ultimately solutions, come from the discovery of needs.