Intelligences

The best global expertise on ethnography in business, including articles, case studies, webinars & conference video.

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How Ethnographic Exhibits Can Shift Business Paradigms

Photo of a neighborhood shop (warung) in Indonesia
by ADRI REKSODIPOETRO (Nation) and ALEXANDRA MCCARTER (Spotify) Through the art of exhibition, curators immerse people in new worlds and new points of view, whether by transporting visitors to 18th century India or through challenging art history’s colonial gaze. The goal of an exhibition is a shift in perspective, to move people to think differently about something than they did before. Researchers do something similar: our first task is to learn something new, but the ultimate goal is to share what we learn in a way that shifts the perspectives of our colleagues, organizations or clients. In this article, we show how we applied curation techniques for a project we worked on together at Spotify. The project focused on understanding people in Indonesia who bought Spotify Premium, and the exhibition served as our main deliverable. The exhibition jump-started a new way of thinking about Spotify users because it enabled our colleagues to experience a different understanding of value and music streaming in the country. Why an Exhibition,...

Move Fast, Break Shit, Burn Out: The Catalyst’s Guide to Working Well

a book review by TABITHA STEAGER, Workday Move Fast, Break Shit, Burn Out: The Catalyst’s Guide to Working Well Tracey Lovejoy and Shannon Lucas 2020, 305 pp, Lioncrest As I write this, we’re just a few months into 2021, and, well, the world hasn’t magically changed. When the clocks ticked over on December 31, it felt as if there was a collective, cautious sigh of relief while we continued to hold space for the grief and turmoil so many of us have experienced in the last year. Instead, we’re still in a sort of stasis globally, waiting for vaccine numbers to reach critical mass and learning how to combat new virus variants, so you’d be excused in feeling like this stasis is the new normal. Yet the days are getting longer and on my walks I see the snowdrops pushing their way up through the ground. It feels a little corny to write this, but spring is coming. It has been a long, upending year that’s left me on the edge of burnout (fully over the edge of burnout some days if I’m completely honest) and even more...

Evaluating Food Delivery in a Pandemic: Usability & Ethnographic Principles to Guide Consumers

By CHARU AHUJA, Consumer Reports For almost 85 years, Consumer Reports has been detecting and anticipating shifts in consumer need for products and services so that we can guide consumer choice with rigorous research and testing. When the COVID-19 pandemic started to peak in March 2020 in the U.S., our ability to access the 63 product testing labs at our site changed. These labs house specialized equipment, such as a pressurized water dunk tank that is used to simulate conditions that electronics like phones and watches must be able to withstand if their manufacturers claim they are waterproof. And CR’s anechoic chamber removes all reflective sound signals, allowing a clean read on noise levels emitted by products. Such specialized equipment allows CR’s product testing experts to conduct repeatable and accurate testing across a large number of competing models in any given product category. Like most other organizations, we had to quickly pivot. To the extent possible, our product testers set up makeshift labs in their homes,...

加速用户研究:在Spotify我们如何从速度出发管理用研洞察

What's slowing down user research? 4 speech bubbles with text: I have this amazing idea! Can we go validate it? / How's the user experience of this screen? / We are shipping next week but need to get this in from of users first! / Let's all work in lockstep like the good partners we are!
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN ENGLISH: Accelerating User Research: How We Structure Insights for Speed At Spotify 作者:SARA BELT, Spotify 不同于以往考虑我们如何能加快用户研究的速度,现在的问题变成我们该如何更好地将用户研究整合到产品开发流程中,以及加快组织学习和迭代的速度。 一直以来,由于人们认为用户研究的有效性较低,用户研究所得的洞察都在产品开发中被边缘化。我在职业生涯的第一阶段致力于提倡组织为什么该积极地听取用户的意见和想法,为什么每一个人应该相信定性见解可用于指导他们的决策,以及为什么用户研究是需要专业技能的实践领域。 随着用户研究逐渐证明贡献价值的能力,对于其效度的质疑和争论也在日趋减少。从数据、证据和同理心的角度来考虑产品的设计已经成为一种既定的方式。 在像在Spotify这样的公司中,用户研究的需求在快速增长,我们不得不开始考虑如何将用户研究的实践规模化。新的、更实质性的问题开始出现,要求我们以更快速度来创造价值的能力能够与快速将产品推向市场的财务和竞争优势相匹配。用户研究,或者是更广义上的洞察,一直因为产出速度慢而备受诟病...

The Power of Not Thinking

book cover, "The Power of Not Thinking"
a book review by GERALD LOMBARDI The Power of Not Thinking: How Our Bodies Learn and Why We Should Trust Them Simon Roberts 2020, 336 pp, Blink Publishing/Bonnier In The Power of Not Thinking: How Our Bodies Learn and Why We Should Trust Them, Simon Roberts aims to resuscitate the human body from the sepulchre of Western thought, where Descartes and his successors presumably buried it, and to correct popular misconceptions about how we generate knowledge. In the author's words: "Our intelligence does not just arise from our brains... nor can it be programmed as a set of rules or propositions that enables us to think in particular ways or perform particular actions. Instead, our understanding of the world arises from our bodies’ interactions with and perceptions of the world – and it is through these interactions that our bodies acquire knowledge." (p. 6) This proposition will be taken for granted by some readers of this review, and by anyone who follows its intellectual touchpoints: embodied cognition, situated learning,...