Both needs and services define territories; but not necessarily coterminous territories—because needs and services are inherently very different. So never confuse them!
Consulting work with both politicians and senior executives has revealed much unnecessary and disruptive confusion between «needs» and «services».
Needs and services actually complement each other because …
No organization or agency (i.e. service) can respond to any need comprehensively.
For example the need to communicate well (i.e. the social value of communication) will be met via educational services, speech therapy services, social services, elocution services, and more.
Few organizations or services ever deal with just one need,
e.g. primary schools address many needs: socialization, literacy, numeracy, physical fitness, social skills, health monitoring and more.
Needs are a form of , with the THEE-name « ». enable people to live together in a community, and have the following features:
Services are a form of , with the THEE-name « ». are properties of organizations or agencies, and have the following features:
People naturally identify with their profession and expertise. They are trained over many years and rewarded for recognizing certain ranges of needs and specific aspects of those needs. In time, they come to see «communal or personal needs» as identical to «needs for their services».
Taking a need-oriented perspective, as politics requires, absolutely demands multi-disciplinary, multi-service, and often multi-agency teamwork at all tiers.
Such a realistic approach is fraught with misunderstandings and hence conflict. When things go wrong, the problem is commonly attributed to "a breakdown in communication and cooperation between agencies." But the underlying reason is often a failure to understand and apply the principles of the way needs and services interact.
Needs and services are fundamentally different in nature and one must not be used as a synonym or surrogate for the other.
Needs are articulated through natural communities living within social territories. So needs are political in nature.
Natural social territories and optimal service territories do not necessarily coincide, and should never be forced to do so. More.
There are 7 hierarchically encompassing tiers of social territory and political organization—and every person in a society is simultaneously a member of each, like it or not. More.
Needs must be analysed and different aspects of each basic type of social need must be explicitly assigned to one of the tiers. Examples.
Originally posted: August-2009; Last updated: 15-Nov-2010