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Innovation and the customer – don’t presume the outcome

Innovation and the customer

The customer defines what successful innovation is by its implementation and use. The issue is, they may not know what the solution or outcome looks like beforehand.

A problem with asking what the customer wants is that they may not know, or they have a preconceived solution in mind that may not be viable or effective, or it may be even undesirable or unsuitable. There is a problem of unlimited choice being a hindrance to decision-making. Be cautious of the “if money was no object…?” or “In a perfect world…?” questions as they can be paralysing due to the questions being unstructured and limitless. 

Freedom in creativity and innovation is best defined within a discipline. An example could be this: a skilled dancer can move freely, fluidly and with unbounded creativity because of years of disciplined training and structured practice. A skilled person will know what boundaries to push though and what rules can be challenged. If I tried the same free expression through dance I would probably break something, most likely myself, I certainly would not enjoy the experience and I can guarantee it would not be a pretty sight.

Determining customer needs without prejudging the result or outcome will better define what a solution will look like. The needs assessment has to be done with a great deal of care and skill, without an agenda or preferred outcome in mind. Do not lead the customer into giving you the answer you want to hear. 

If you apply the assessed needs with innovative processes then a solution that is beneficial to both the customer and the innovator is possible, but it may be entirely different to any preexisting solutions you or the customer may have started with.  

Paul S Allen

Barbed Wire

A creative call to action

Stand up, fight back

This is a call for all of us creative types to use our talents for social good.

We now more than ever need to use our art and talents to highlight the real New Zealand, so that people will see it is not the 100% pure image seen in the glossy marketing.

We need people to see the eroded sovereign rights, the increasing poverty, the widening inequality, the unemployed, the polluted waterways and growing environmental issues. the downtrodden, sick and forgotten and the many, many other issues being experienced in our country today.

It is now time…

A bed for the night

“A bed for the night” Homeless in Dunedin

      • For photographers to use images to unsettle and enlighten.
      • For singer-songwriters to sing the songs that challenge the status quo.
      • For thinkers and poets to question authority.
      • For the media to be independent and investigative not swayed by biased political or commercial agenda.
      • For people to stand up for all those who need a voice to be heard.
      • For all of us to tell the world that everything is NOT ok in this country.

We can, we should and we will do something about it.

Paul S Allen

PS: if you know of an event that highlights the need for social change or for justice or other protest in Dunedin NZ please contact me. As a photographer I am happy to use my skills for a good cause.

Paul

Change is Inevitable

Community – What are your motives for getting involved?

What is  a community?

Community is a group of people who have some form of relationship with each other or share a commonality of some description or another.  Communities are as infinitely varied as the people who are part of them.

Communities can be very informal or strictly formal associations.

Communities exist for as many reasons as there are people on earth. They can be skill based, task orientated, faith/religion/church based, non-faith, political, secular, work related, geographic, ethnic, gender, sexuality, or age based,  anything at all.

There should never be an assumption of a unified reason that a community exists, as you can never know the true intentions of all the participants.

The best you can hope for is that everyone, or at least most, will have enough shared intent to work together for a stated outcome.

It is always good to be reminded that where there are people, there will always be politics and there will always be at least one person who will assume, or usurp, control or power.

People do good for many reasons, some reasons are selfless and some selfish, for many it is a combination at one level or another. None of us have 100% pure motives for everything we do.

Why assume community organisations do?

Never blindly follow a “leader”,  always be willing to question and act on the answers you get. I have said before, “People who blindly follow a leader, political ideology, belief or value system without questioning, are fooling themselves with a false sense of security.” (Think – your country needs it)

Do not let this stop you from getting involved in your community,  the only assurance is that change can only happen if people are willing to get involved, what ever the reason.

All you can do is work on your own motives for getting involved in community.

Paul S Allen

Thieves Alley Market Day 2013

Aotearoa Is Not For Sale – Dunedin Rally April 2013

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Aotearoa Is Not For Sale, a set on Flickr.

Via Flickr:
Aotearoa Is Not For Sale.
Protest in Dunedin, NZ 27 April 2013.
Photos by Paul S Allen
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Think for yourself

The Long Dark Shadow

The Long Dark Shadow

Beware of leaders who tell you what to think. Think for yourself, if they are threatened by that, good.

One of the problems of society as I see it today is that we spend far too much time trying, and succeeding, to not think. We have been spoon fed doctrine, ideologies and propaganda without taking time out to analyse what we are being fed. It is far to easy to go along with the masses with the assumption that everyone else is doing it/thinking it so it must be right.

To think for yourself carries its risks. Your independent thought might just upset the people around you, it might upset those who manage the status quo and those in authority.

A true leader will always encourage free thought amongst their team.

One of the keys to successfully solving problems, fixing that which is broken or bringing about longstanding change is to simply allow yourself to think freely, independently and then collaboratively with other such free thinkers.

I dare you to have an opinion, don’t just mouth off over some minor irritation, investigate the issues, ask questions – expect and demand answers, be prepared to be wrong and to back down, but you must have your opportunity to think. The problem often is not what you think, it is whether you actually do think.

Never be made to feel inferior because you have your own thoughts on an issue. You do not have to just believe everything that so-called leaders teach you. Learn to question do not be put off or intimidated. People may not like the question, those in authority may especially be threatened because you question them, or seek clarification on points that you do not understand.

A belief system should be able to withstand rigorous questioning. Any belief system that does not allow deep questioning of its core beliefs and values should be treated with utmost caution.

The older I get the less afraid I become, and I find myself questioning the very core of my faith systems. What I find out is that there is so much I don’t understand and that I don’t have all the answers (and neither does anyone else), I do not have all the wisdom and I especially do not have any right to judge others.

The older I get the more issues become grey, and so does my hair.

The black and white taught thinking patterns I had when I was young have changed because I realise so much is beyond my limited understanding of the universe. As such I will not blindly follow any doctrine, belief, ideology or mass hysteria. I will question, I will not be satisfied with the status quo, I will think for myself and if others do not like that, tough.

I will not tell you how or what to think but I will encourage you to think. We may not agree on many or any issues and that is good as long as we respect each other for having the ability to think freely. May be one day we can dialogue and collaborate on an issue and bring about great and positive change. In the meantime think for yourself.

Paul S Allen

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