2 October 2012

Anthropological study by Google on our magic relationship with mobile devices

Be the first to share

What is the emotional relationship people truly have with the mobile space and how they make meaning there? To answer this, Google conducted an anthropological study to gain a better understanding of how people feel about, relate to and find meaning in the mobile space, and how brands can engage their consumers in more emotionally resonant and impactful ways.

“We hired an anthropologist to interview dozens of ordinary mobile device owners and observe them as they interacted with their smartphones. The first thing we found is that the phone’s pocket size is anything but a flaw — in fact, it’s the key to understanding what it really means.

Anthropology teaches us that in every culture, miniatures possess the power to unlock imaginations. Whether it’s a dollhouse, toy truck, or some other tiny talisman, miniatures look and feel real, but their size gives us the permission to suspend disbelief, daydream, and play. Remember The Nutcracker? In between pirouettes, a toy nutcracker comes to life, defeats an evil mouse, and whisks the heroine away to a magical kingdom. That, in a nutshell, is the story we implicitly tell ourselves about our miniature computers — one of youth, freedom, and possessing the key to a much larger world.

“Because it’s in my pocket I somehow squeeze this time in for various things — and only because I think it just sits in my pocket,” one of our subjects told us.

The screens may be small, but they serve as gateways to the gigantic. We see this power manifest in insights gleaned from the anthropologist’s observations. Our mobile devices help us fully actualize our best self, or what we call the Quicksilver Self; they engage us to create a shared culture, the New Tribalism; and they help us to make sense of the physical world around us, an act we describe as Placemaking. Understanding the deeper levels at which individuals, customers, are finding meaning in mobile will enable marketers to put this powerful medium to its best use.”

Report by Think With Google

Be the first to share
27 November 2016
Genevieve Bell: ‘Humanity’s greatest fear is about being irrelevant’
Intel anthropologist Genevieve Bell explains in an interview with The Observer's Ian Tucker why being scared about AI has more to do with our fear of each other than killer robots. A lot of the …
17 November 2016
[Book] Collaborative Ethnography in Business Environments
Collaborative Ethnography in Business Environments Edited by Maryann McCabe Routledge 2017, 138 pages In a global and rapidly changing commercial environment, businesses increasingly use collaborative ethnographic research to understand what motivates their employees and what their customers value. In …
15 November 2016
[Book] Sensemaking
Sensemaking: The Power of the Humanities in the Age of the Algorithm by Christian Madsbjerg Hachette Books March 2017, 256 pages Inspired by his work with companies like Ford and Coca-Cola, Madsbjerg's Sensemaking is a provocative stand against the …
14 November 2016
Billions spent on cyber security tech while human error ignored
Billions spent on cyber security tech while human error ignored, writes Misha Glenny in the Financial Times. Armies of zombie computers threaten us all. Despite the headlines, the cyber security industry has prioritised the development of …
8 November 2016
[Book] Anthropologies and Futures
Anthropologies and Futures: Researching Emerging and Uncertain Worlds Editor(s): Juan Francisco Salazar, Sarah Pink, Andrew Irving, Johannes Sjöberg Bloomsbury Academic May 2017, 288 pages Anthropology has a critical, practical role to play in contemporary debates about futures. This game-changing …
8 November 2016
[Book] Woo, Wow, and Win: Service Design, Strategy, and the Art of Customer Delight
Woo, Wow, and Win: Service Design, Strategy, and the Art of Customer Delight by Thomas A. Stewart and Patricia O’Connell Harper Business November 2016, 336 pages In this pioneering guide, two business authorities introduce the new discipline of Service …
8 November 2016
Customer delight through service design
The service sector needs to break away from old manufacturing-oriented habits and build great consumer experiences into every facet of its business model, write Thomas A. Stewart and Patricia O’Connell in strategy+business. Experiences matter. Experiences are …
31 October 2016
IKEA/Economist Group (EIU) study focuses on the new ‘American Dream’ today
Press release - September 21, 2016 Discovering the New American Dream, an Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) report sponsored by IKEA US shows that the American Dream, which was once outlined by owning a home with a …

We are an international experience design consultancy helping companies and organisations to innovate their products, services and processes by putting people and their experiences first.

1 December 2016
More on upcoming conference on design & sustainable innovation for smart cities

Last month Putting People First announced the upcoming conference on design & sustainable innovation for smart cities in Nice France. Meanwhile we are pleased to announce the full event agenda (see below). This event will feature professionals from leading research institutes and industry gathering to present key initiatives which combine Energy Efficiency and Service Design […]

29 October 2016
Upcoming conference on design & sustainable innovation for smart cities

Invitation to the International Conference on Design & Sustainable Innovation for SmartCities Nice (France) 8 December 2016 On the 8th December 2016, the CITYOPT project will host an international conference on Design and sustainable innovation for SmartCities, at the Centre Universitaire Méditerranéen, France. An open invitation to attend is offered to people and organisations who […]

28 October 2016
Experientia’s President, Michele Visciòla, panel judge for MacArthur Foundation’s “100&Change” competition

The 100&Change is an international competition and a landmark opportunity for thinkers and designers to tackle critical challenges affecting the world. Michele Visciòla will be one of the panel of expert judges who will select which project is worthy of the $100 million grant. 100&Change is the MacArthur Foundation competition – launched this year for […]

5 September 2016
Great engine, but the fuel seems poor. Discussing insight development in corporate marketing

The September issue of the Harvard Business Review (HBR) contains a lengthy essay, entitled Building an Insights Engine, on how Unilever has created the organizational capabilities to “transform data into insights about consumers’ motivations and to turn those insights into strategy.” The article was written by Frank van den Driest and Keith Weed of a […]

29 August 2016
Experientia discussing ethnography and patient-centricity at EPIC 2016

This week Experientia joins our colleagues and peers in Minneapolis at EPIC 2016, the premier international gathering on ethnography and design in industry. The theme for the conference this year is Pathmaking, emphasizing the power of ethnography to create transformative innovation, growth and strategic success for companies, industries and communities. On the second day of […]

22 June 2016
A united energy economy: Experientia helps wrap up the CITYOPT Nice pilot project

Can behavioral change address local energy issues, raise people’s awareness energy consumption issues, and directly support non-profit organizations at the same time? With the Nice pilot of the CITYOPT project, we have seen strong suggestions that it can. It also suggests that the sense of belonging to a local community is a strong motivation for […]

See all articles