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Daily insights on user experience, experience design and people-centred innovation,
by international UX consultancy Experientia.
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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.

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 […]

23 May 2016
Experientia white paper: “Conducting clinical trials is about working with patients”

Patient-centricity is one of the defining issues facing clinical trials in the pharma industry. The past few years have seen a growing awareness by pharmaceutical companies of the importance of patient-centricity – but they have also illustrated that not everyone is clear on just what patient-centricity is, or how to achieve it. After using UX […]

12 April 2016
The latest on innovation in Energy Efficient Buildings: annual round-up of EU Commission projects

Every year, the Energy-efficient Buildings (EeB) Public Private Partnership (PPP) publishes the EeB PPP project review – a round-up of energy-efficiency projects that have been co-funded by two European Commission schemes. This year, the print and digital booklet design was done by Experientia, in particular by our talented visual and interaction designer Dohun Jang. Experientia […]

8 March 2016
Behavioral modeling – Shaping cultural change and behavioral evolution

One of the things we do here at Experientia that really sets us apart from other UX agencies is behavioral modeling. Our cognitive and behavioral models go beyond the standard customer journeys and personas (both useful tools, and often preliminary steps to behavioral modeling) to create frameworks that can be used to make people more […]

2 October 2016

IFTF uncovers seven new worker archetypes of the on-demand economy

Update: Read also this Fortune Magazine review of the study (as reported by BoingBoing). Institute for the Future, the Caiifornia-based independent, nonprofit strategic research group, releases a new report aimed at gaining a deeper understanding of a new breed of worker in order to create a system that ensures a workable future for all; after […]

26 September 2016

[Book] The Stuff of Bits

The Stuff of Bits – An Essay on the Materialities of Information By Paul Dourish MIT Press, April 2017 264 pages The central topic of The Stuff of Bits is the materialities of information. This term often brings to mind the materiality of information infrastructures— server farms, air conditioning, fiber optic cable routes, and distributed […]

18 September 2016

[Book] The Cyber Effect

The Cyber Effect: A Pioneering Cyberpsychologist Explains How Human Behavior Changes Online Dr. Mary Aiken Spiegel & Grau, August 2016 400 pages A groundbreaking exploration of how cyberspace is changing the way we think, feel, and behave Mary Aiken is the world’s leading expert in forensic cyberpsychology — a discipline that combines psychology, criminology, and […]

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 […]

24 August 2016

[Book] The Routledge Companion to Digital Ethnography

The Routledge Companion to Digital Ethnography Edited by Larissa Hjorth, Heather Horst, Anne Galloway, Genevieve Bell Routledge, December 2016 536 pages With the increase of digital and networked media in everyday life, researchers have increasingly turned their gaze to the symbolic and cultural elements of technologies. From studying online game communities, locative and social media […]

13 August 2016

New book on how corporate anthropology can help businesses grow

On the Brink: A Fresh Lens to Take Your Business to New Heights by Andi Simon PhD Greenleaf Book Group Press July 2016, 184 pages Abstract Innovation has become such a ubiquitous value, it’s in danger of becoming cliché. Companies frequently talk about it as the sweeping secret to solve all their business problems; however, […]

10 August 2016

What does an anthropologist bring to autonomous driving design?

From a Nissan press release (dated August 10, 2016) One profession you might not expect to find at the design table — anthropologist — is playing a key role in developing Nissan’s next generation autonomous vehicle, analyzing human driving interactions to ensure that it is prepared to be a “good citizen” on the road. “Car technology is continuing to […]

31 July 2016

[Book] The Class: Living and Learning in the Digital Age

The Class: Living and Learning in the Digital Age Sonia Livingstone and Julian Sefton-Green New York University Press May 2016, 368 pages > Read online for free Do today’s youth have more opportunities than their parents? As they build their own social and digital networks, does that offer new routes to learning and friendship? How […]

31 July 2016

Examining cultural need: discussing design anthropology with Amélie Lamont

Designer Erin Lynch recently interviewed Amélie Lamont, a NYC-based design anthropologist, and the result is quite stimulating, particularly also on the topic gender and racial gaps in the design industry. According to Amélie, “design anthropology focuses on better understanding human value systems. As designers, when you understand human value systems, then you can begin creating […]

22 July 2016

[Book] Overcomplicated (or when systems go feral)

Overcomplicated: Technology at the Limits of Comprehension by Samuel Arbesman Current (Penguin Randomhouse), July 2016 256 pages Abstract Why did the New York Stock Exchange suspend trading without warning on July 8, 2015? Why did certain Toyota vehicles accelerate uncontrollably against the will of their drivers? Why does the programming inside our airplanes occasionally surprise […]

18 July 2016

Ethnographic research to improve the City of New York’s digital services

A team including the Public Policy Lab (a New York City non-profit) worked with New York City’s Chief Digital Officer and her staff to use ethnographic research to develop the New York City Digital Playbook (available in 14 languages!), a policy and operational guide to help City staff develop new and improved digital services for […]

28 June 2016

Politicians need to commit to ethnographic research if they want to understand people

Business anthropologist Simon Roberts has campaigned hard for the “Remain” side in the UK referendum and is deeply disappointed. He now explores a topic that I too have been arguing for some time now: Politicians, political parties and those in power, he says, “need to radically rethink how they understand the people they purport to […]

14 April 2016

Anthropology is not only undersold, it’s misunderstood

Dr. John Sherry, Director of Business Innovation Research at Intel, says in an long profile on Epicpeople that anthropology is not only undersold, but also misunderstood: People too often talk about ethnography as a tool for understanding ‘the consumer’ or ‘the customer.’ We don’t just talk to people in their homes, we think systematically. People […]

8 April 2016

On the need for ethnography in user experience design

Michael Thomas of Ford Motor Company argues in a thoughtful personal piece that User Experience design is greatly enhanced by establishing classical ethnographic methods as foundational for defining the domain of design intervention. How can UX account for subjective, positively regarded experiences that are time and community dependent, he asks: Examples of these might include […]

2 April 2016

A selection of Interaction 16 videos

In this post we highlight a number of Interaction 16 conference videos especially relevant to the Putting People First readers. They are grouped thematically. Algorithm-inspired design Crowds, algorithms and computations: The new materials of design – Matthew Milan, Normative [54:21] Can computers design? – Antti Oulasvirta, Aalto University [57:38] The Dawn of Agentive Technology: The […]

1 April 2016

Financial Times: the inflation enigma requires ethnographic analysis

Gillian Tett is the Financial Times’ US Managing Editor, a very frequent writer, and an anthropologist. Her column this week unconventionally argues for on-the-ground ethnographic research on people’s expectations on inflation: What we need is not just economic analysis of price trends but on-the-ground ethnographic analysis of how consumer perceptions of prices operate. Scandinavian central […]

30 March 2016

Six more UX-related articles on PMLive

PMLiVE continues to inform us about UX approaches and developments in the pharmaceutical industry (older series of articles here): Why health psychology should inform pharma strategyv Ella Nuttall – 30 March 2016 We asked Ella to explain why she thinks health psychologists have an important role to play in the pharmaceutical industry. Harnessing the power […]

6 March 2016

[Book] Small Data

Small Data: The Tiny Clues That Uncover Huge Trends Hardcover by Martin Lindstrom February 23, 2016 St. Martin’s Press, 256 pages Martin Lindstrom, a modern-day Sherlock Holmes, harnesses the power of “small data” in his quest to discover the next big thing. Hired by the world’s leading brands to find out what makes their customers […]

1 March 2016

Why We Post: social media through the eyes of the world

Nine UCL anthropologists spent fifteen months living in nine communities around the world, researching the role, uses and consequences of social media in people’s everyday lives. University College London just launched an enormous repository with the results of this global ethnographic research project, all easily accessible through the new ‘Why We Post’ website. For a […]

1 March 2016

How semiotic ethnography solved the riddle: What do chronic pain patients want?

In this article Laura S. Oswald discusses the advantages of semiotic research methods for decoding consumer experiences and translating them into marketing strategy. Oswald focuses specifically on the innovative research techniques we used to decode the meaning of chronic pain for patients, one of the most elusive areas of consumer behaviour. Pain research poses unique […]

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