Intelligences

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

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3 Things We Want You to Know

Recently EPIC was accused of homophobia in the EPIC2017 peer review process. In the wake of this experience, and as we embark on the review process for our 2018 program, there are several things we would like our community to know: Members of the EPIC2017 program committee and the EPIC Board addressed this accusation immediately when it was first raised in 2017 and again last week when it was surfaced publicly by the same individual as he was invited to participate in this year’s review process. We have communicated with the individual who made the accusation. We did not find…

An Open Letter about EPIC and Homophobia

Dear EPIC Community, I’m Gary, co-chair of EPIC2017 here at HEC Montréal. I’m writing this open letter because there have recently been some social media posts by an individual accusing EPIC of homophobia. Specifically, someone who submitted a proposal for EPIC2017 felt that his submission had been rejected due to homophobia: “I sensed clear homophobia and cannot see any other reason for awarding me the very lowest score.” This accusation has been published in some outlets along with the “Silence = Death” imagery most widely associated with the social activism of ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) starting in…

Book Review: The Paradox of Sensemaking

by TOM HOY, Stripe Partners Sensemaking: The Power of Humanities in the Age of the Algorithm Christian Madsbjerg 2017, 240 pp, Hachette Books Excerpt Christian Madsbjerg has done a huge amount to elevate the profile and impact of ethnography in corporate settings. As co-founder of ReD Associates, Madsbjerg makes a consistent and compelling case for ethnographers to set their sights beyond user experience and design to impact decisions at the pinnacle of global organisations. His new book Sensemaking advances his mission further, advocating humanities-based thinking to a much wider business audience. The central analysis feels more even resonant today than when the book was released last year: the power of big data has created a false idol, lulling us into the belief that the algorithm has the capacity to replace critical thinking. What unfolds is a story which is compelling and bold in critique, but strangely conservative and ambiguous in the solutions it prescribes. Silicon Valley and the Renaissance Man [sic] Sensemaking...

Ask Us Anything! March 13–14

Join the EPIC2018 Program Committee March 13–14 for an “Ask Us Anything” session on the Ethnography Hangout Slack #epic_org channel! If you’ve got questions about your conference submission (due March 30!), the conference theme, or anything else about the EPIC2018 experience, this is a great chance to chat with the people running the show. You’ll also find a fabulous community of EPIC people (and beyond) to network with. If you’re not familiar with Slack, read these detailed instructions to get in and get started. JOIN ETHNOGRAPHY HANGOUT 1. How to Join If you’re not already a member of the Ethnography…

Data Science and Ethnography: What’s Our Common Ground, and Why Does It Matter?

by TYE RATTENBURY (Salesforce) & DAWN NAFUS (Intel) As EPIC2018 program co-chairs, we developed the conference theme Evidence to explore how evidence is created, used, and abused. We’ll consider the core types of evidence ethnographers make and use through participant observation, cultural analysis, filmmaking, interviewing, digital and mobile techniques, and other essential methods, as well as new approaches in interdisciplinary and cross-functional teams.1 We’ve also made a special invitation to data scientists to join us in Honolulu to advance the intersection of computational and ethnographic approaches. Why? One of us is a data scientist (Tye) and the other an ethnographer (Dawn), both working in industry. We regularly see data science and ethnography conceptualized as polar ends of a research spectrum—one as a crunching of colossal data sets, the other as a slow simmer of experiential immersion. Unfortunately, we also see occasional professional stereotyping. A naïve view of “crunching” can make it seem...