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The best collection of global expertise in ethnography in business, including papers, PechaKucha, keynotes, tutorials and video.

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Ethnography of Civic Participation: The Difficulty of Showing Up Even when You Are There


by Thomas Lodato, Center for Urban Innovation, Georgia Institute of Technology Article 3 in the series Data, Design and Civics: Ethnographic Perspectives The days of gathering in the forum are long gone. Today, the sphere of American civics is teeming with new forms of participation—from emergent advocacy organizations like MoveOn.orgi and shifting information paradigmsii to “personalized politics”iii and debates centered on computational data.iv Civics has moved beyond a notion of informed citizenship—of being educated on issues and debates, as well as keen enough to synthesize and respond (hopefully in the form of votes) to shape government. Now, in order to…

Innovation Teams, Mundane Innovation, and the Public Good

Andrew Schrock

by Andrew Richard Schrock Article 2 in the series Data, Design and Civics: Ethnographic Perspectives The windows were dirty when I arrived on the fifteenth floor of City Hall. I had been hired as the Los Angeles’ Innovation Team’s in-house social communication researcher. My official title was “Design and Data Research Fellow,” although my badge read “intern,” which after 6 years in a PhD program was an unusual change. After a few weeks I got tired of looking through the grime, and trudged upstairs to the shared kitchen to locate a bottle of spray and a few paper towels. The…

Introduction to “Data, Design, and Civics: Ethnographic Perspectives”


by Carl DiSalvo, Georgia Institute of Technology This post introduces the series Data, Design, and Civics: Ethnographic Perspectives” edited by Carl DiSalvo. Look for new articles in the series throughout April and May 2016. With all of the civic hackathons, civic tech meetups, and civic innovation teams bustling around the world, you’d think we’d have the challenges of government and civil society figured out—or at least be well on our way toward a more open and participatory, resourceful public sphere. Certainly the rhetoric around data, design, and civics suggests as much. But, of course, that’s not the case. The significant ethnographic…

EPIC Screening in Melbourne


Friday, April 29, 2016, 5:30–8:30 PM Loop Project Space & Bar, 23 Meyers Place, Melbourne, Australia RSVP Here! We’re excited to partner with Melbourne Professional Design Anthropology to offer a screening and discussion of selected videos from our annual conference—the premier international gathering on ethnography and design in business. Two hours of highlights will include keynote, paper, and PechaKucha presentations. Come get a taste of EPIC and network with this fantastic group of anthrodesigners. Can’t make it? EPIC Members can access all conference video on demand. Want to host your own screening? Contact us. Program Keynote Address: Bridging Past and Future…

Leaving the Bed of Procrustean Experience: On the Need for Ethnography

roundabout DennisM2 via flickr CC BY 2.0

by Michael Thomas, Ford Motor Company User Experience (UX) Research and Design is a dynamic and diverse domain where designers, social scientists, and hybrids of all sorts are putting theory to work. It has successfully advanced a more holistic framing for human-centered design intervention, ideally keeping our attention on the user as the key unit of analysis at every stage. But we’re also discovering that herein lie potential opportunities for further refinement. UX has familiar practical limitations, and we debate these continually—the best way to measure, how to communicate, appropriate sampling, sample size, methods, protocols, metrics, and so on. Its…