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I *believe* that your two last paraphrased comments are slightly skewed, regardless I too completely disagree with them as they are written here; it is a collaborative attitude that will help in both instances: inside/outside government as well as customer/technology.

Fair challenge. The second in particular should almost certainly be "as well as" instead of "rather than".

I put them in not for the sake of disagreeing with them, and still less with the intention of characterising the event that way, but because although I do disagree with them, I think they both repay some thought. There are times when I have been tempted by both of them, the first in particular. The question of how to optimise the balance between external and internal drivers of change is always important and always difficult.

A great write up - I'm sad I couldn't have been there.

Though understandably controversial, I think I see the rationale for both of the points at the end.

For simple bureaucratic reasons, it's often not possible to take on the vested interests or ignore the internal politics when working from the inside. As a simple example someone gave me on Friday: even a very good writer of user guides who works for Department X will always be influenced to get the nuance and detail of the text exactly accurate. But the external writer of the 'X for Dummies' book has a commercial incentive to focus on what readers will buy, and can ignore some of the politics in pursuit of the bigger picture - writing stuff people want and can use.

Similarly, any good market researcher will tell you that simply asking customers what they want, testing ideas, monitoring trends and so on will only get you so far. To innovate new products and services - think of the groundbreaking Apple examples like the iMac, iTunes or iPhone - you have to look ahead to what's possible technologically and what might be desirable to users if only they knew it were possible. Users accept poor user experiences all the time. There probably hasn't been a clamour for a more open JobCentrePlus search tool, but the JobCentreProPlus has the potential to spawn a significantly more interesting and effective approach all round to searching for jobs online.

I agree with Steph on innovation but also that the 'customer experience' is way too often forgotten or - worse - ignored. Innovators have to think through who will use their stuff, which audiences? I would also like to see more use of simple, accessible methods to connect with customers rather than always hiring 'experts'. connecting innovators to real customers could be extremely powerful and there's just not enough of it happening.

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