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Ethnography

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

Ethnography

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.

31 March 2017
Experientia guide to Milan Design Week 2017

It’s that time of year again – Milan’s don’t-miss event for the design community is here. If you’re looking to get inspired at Milan Design Week, then check out our top picks for the latest edition, from Experientia’s designers, strategists and partners. Milan might be best known for its busy streets, traditional cafés and world […]

12 January 2017
Experientia’s CITYOPT project awarded prestigious French award for its sustainable development design

Following the 2016 Smart Innovation Award at “FIMBACTE Trophées du Cadre de vie”, the CITYOPT project has once again been recognized, this time in the prestigious French design competition: “Observeur du Design 2017”, in the Service Design category. In June 2016, CITYOPT won the first stage of the Observeur du Design. Now the project has […]

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 […]

31 May 2017

Putting human thought behind chatbots

Business anthropologist Martha Bird’s specialty is designing technologies that work for people, creating conversational user interfaces and chatbots that can serve different professional audiences across different geographies and different cultures. An interview excerpt: Why are people’s relationships with technology so important? Any technology development and deployment happening today not informed by systems-level thinking is going […]

31 May 2017

A cultural approach to wearables (and the design opportunities it provides)

In January of this year, Sakari Tamminen and Elisabet Holmgren of the Finnish/USA innovation agency Gemic, published a paper on EPIC entitled “The Anthropology of Wearables: The Self, The Social, and the Autobiographical“. A wide range of new digital products lumped together under the category of ‘Wearables’ or ‘Wearable Technology’ raises fundamental questions about the […]

9 May 2017

Data ethnographies: how do people live with data?

Data Ethnographies is a Lab of the Digital Ethnography Research Centre (DERC), at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia. Data Ethnographies investigates the implications of the increasing ubiquity of data in everyday lives and worlds. We approach data from an ethnographic perspective to: develop insights into what people do with emergent types of everyday data which […]

28 April 2017

[Book] Quantitative Ethnography

Quantitative Ethnography David Williamson Shaffer Boswell Press Available April 2017 > Download Introduction > Watch video presentation This is a book about understanding why, in the digital age, the old distinctions between qualitative and quantitative research methods, between the sciences and humanities, and between numbers and understanding, limit the kinds of questions we can ask, […]

22 April 2017

An anthropologist in the boardroom

“It is often tempting to think that the 21st-century world is so closely integrated and digitised that the issue of culture is becoming irrelevant,” writes Gillian Tett in the Financial Times. “But behind the scenes, a growing number of companies appear to be quietly realising that the reverse is true: as the world becomes more […]

21 April 2017

[Book] The Stuff of Bits – An Essay on the Materialities of Information

The Stuff of Bits: An Essay on the Materialities of Information by Paul Dourish MIT Press, May 2017 264 pages Virtual entities that populate our digital experience, like e-books, virtual worlds, and online stores, are backed by the large-scale physical infrastructures of server farms, fiber optic cables, power plants, and microwave links. But another domain […]

6 April 2017

Interview with Prof. Bill Beeman on the ways ethnography can improve business

A fertile relationship is growing between anthropology and business. Marketers are finding that anthropologists gather very useful knowledge by studying consumers in their natural habitat using the ethnographic techniques of observation and interviewing. A leader in this field is Bill Beeman, PhD, a professor and chair of the Department of Anthropology at the University of […]

5 April 2017

Ethnography and industry: a reflection on a coming of age

Patrick G. Watson, lecturer in the Sociology department and Social Psychology program at McMaster University, Canada, has recently published a thoughtful review of two business ethnography books: Advancing Ethnography in Corporate Environments: Challenges and Emerging Opportunities By Jordan, B. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press, 2013, 228 pp, $150 (hardcover); $34.95 (paper). Practical Ethnography: A Guide […]

2 March 2017

Understanding life’s speed from an anthropological perspective

The latest issue of the Cultural Anthropology journal features a new contribution to the journal’s Openings and Retrospectives section: an Openings collection, “Speed,” edited by Vincent Duclos, Tomás Sánchez Criado, and Vinh-Kim Nguyen. In their introductory essay, the editors discuss how they hope to open anthropological practice to speed: On every front, life is being […]

28 February 2017

Organizational culture as lazy sensemaking

Laura A. McNamara describes what ethnographers can do about the cultural equivalent of the fundamental attribution error, also known as correspondence bias. “It’s a common category error (at least among the Western psych undergrads who volunteer for experimental lab credits) that describes our tendency to attribute undesirable outcomes to individual traits, without attending to the […]

19 January 2017

Anthropologist Sally Applin on the automation of qualitative methods

Anthropology and its methodologies cannot easily be automated. However, both design and engineering based organizations are attempting it. Anthropologist Sally A. Applin argues that this is based in part on historic legacy systems, a misunderstanding of the ethnographic toolkit, and an over-reliance on the principles of Bauhaus, Six Sigma, and Science Fiction. People are creative […]

19 January 2017

Social science must return to qualitative research to understand social and political shifts

Social science has become increasingly beholden to analysis derived from big data: large numerical sets analysed computationally, write Pamela Prickett and Elaine Howard Ecklund of Rice University. This, they say, “has brought us much insight into the social world, but it has often come at the direct expense of the rich qualitative work most likely […]

14 January 2017

Nissan turns to ethnographic research to inform the design of new models

During the futurist panel at the 2017 Automotive News World Congress, Rachel Nguyen, executive director of Nissan’s Future Lab, said understanding what the consumer wants will help brands define their experience. One method Nissan utilizes: ethnographic studies of consumers. “The more insight you have to a holistic view of that, the product in the vehicle […]

8 January 2017

Two perspectives on the role of ethnography in innovation

Why Venture Capital Needs Ethnographers: Making Meaningful Innovation in the Startup Sphere by Julia Katherine Haines, Google- December 20, 2016 The power of ethnographic methods and ethnographic thinking is not about finding new territory to colonize for startups and for VCs. In imbuing an ethnographic mindset into the main elements of the startup sphere, the […]

8 January 2017

The complexity of plastic bags

As societies face increasingly complex problems, design is emerging as the tool to solve some of Asia’s biggest issues. Through field trips with designers skilled in human-centered design, the team behind Ethnographers’ Field Guide to Innovation, a new series on Singapore’s Channel NewsAsia, see how meaning is found in everyday surrounds and how people are […]

23 December 2016

Innovative PhD dissertations at Harvard use ethnographic methods to understand organizational culture

Three innovative PhD dissertations have been published at the Harvard Business School’s Doctoral Program on Organizational Behavior that use ethnography and qualitative research to understand and map organizational culture: Curtis K. Chan Chan’s research (The Double-Edged Sword of Organizational Culture: The Production and Dissolution of Normative Control by an Ambiguous Expression) examines how organizational culture […]

19 December 2016

Australia’s Digital Ethnography Research Centre on experiencing the digital in everyday life

The Digital Ethnography Research Centre (DERC), part of RMIT University, focuses on understanding a contemporary world where digital and mobile technologies are increasingly inextricable from the environments and relationships in which everyday life plays out. DERC excels in both academic scholarship and in applied work with external partners from industry and other sectors. Lead by […]

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 work you do examines the intersection between the intended use of a device and how people actually use it – […]

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 this volume, anthropologists, marketing professionals, computer scientists and others examine issues, challenges, and successes of ethnographic […]

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 new book presents new ways of conceptualising how to engage with a future-oriented research agenda, demonstrating […]

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