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Matt Sheehan
Matt Sheehan
Matt holds an MSc in Geography and GIS. He has been working with clients solving problems with GIS for over 17 years. Matt founded WebMapSolutions whose mission is to put innovative, intuitive GIS driven applications into the hands of new and existing users.

Does conformity allow for GIS creativity?

August 15th, 2014 by Matt Sheehan

Yikes, now that is a question: does conformity allow for GIS creativity?

But it is worth pondering. We encourage our children to think for themselves, to be creative, be individual thinkers. And yet we live in a world where one is expected to conform. In both action and thought.

Conform in action and thought?

In work we concern ourselves with pleasing bosses, not rocking the boat, remaining within organizational constraints. Ok, that is maybe an overstatement. But we are first and foremost concerned with conformity, not moving out of step. That is not all bad. But where does that leave creativity and individual thinking?

Orwell’s 1984 (actually in large part a love story), deals with enforced conformity. Big Brother.

Here I’m talking about inbuilt conformity. Institutional conformity. The Warren Buffets, Bill Gates and Edward Snowdens of this world, in their own ways, stepped away from this conformity.

Narrowing the scope. What has this to do with GIS? For fear of being repetitive, we live in exciting times. GIS is bursting from its niche. We are living through a time of big changes. A time of innovation and widespread adoption. A tipping point. Individually and collectively we need to throw off the constraints of conformity.

GIS Creativity

GIS companies are filled with brilliant people. Brilliant people limited by conformity. Give them a voice. Don’t tell them, let them tell you for once. These are unique times. All ideas and suggestions should be welcomed. Even those that are less comfortable: what or how you have always done business.

GIS is helping to transform organizations. We are watching amazing new applications of the technology. Sure we need some level of conformity, but don’t let it get in the way of creativity and innovation.

Agree, disagree? Let us know.

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Categories: ArcGIS Online, cloud GIS, Mobile ArcGIS, Web and mobile GIS

2 Responses to “Does conformity allow for GIS creativity?”

  1. Brian Boulmay says:

    Can conformity and GIS creativity coexist?

    We have been struggling with this – trying to balance the need for standardized and structured IT deployments while still not sure everywhere GIS will add value in the business. How do you size the servers, who gets to write into the database, how will we approve new webmaps… These are all challenges as IT wants everything known before deployment where the business wants a starting point and the ability to tinker.

    We are trying to tip the scales by having IT focus on delivering the “core” hardware and software – without mandates and restrictions on how it will be used… of course we put in some estimates – but the goal is an open capability – a scalable platform we can build from. This is hard for some – we threw out the idea of knowing the end information product and working backwards to design a system to support it… we focused on building a system to support unknown products – One Geography – One Map – available to be leveraged for all business processes…

    My advice – do restrict your GIS before you even get started…

  2. Brian Boulmay says:

    My advice – do NOT restrict your GIS before you even get started…

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