EPIC2015

The premier international gathering on ethnography & design in business ~ 5–8 October, São Paulo, Brazil

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Perspectives

What Is a Product? How a New Definition is Leading Us toward a Place-Based Design Process ~ Megan Neese, FutureLab, Nissan Motor Ltd.

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What Is a Product? How a New Definition is Leading Us toward a Place-Based Design Process

by Megan Neese, Future Lab, Nissan Motor Ltd. The Product Company Identity Crisis I have always worked at or with OEMs (original equipment manufacturing companies) in the industrial design and product development industry. The work has ranged from very large products such as sleeper cabins for long haul trucks and farming equipment down to very small products in the consumer electronics industry, but consistently, the emphasis has always been on products. The very nature of being an equipment maker requires expertise in integrating parts, components, and systems into physical objects. Product development processes have always been structurally similar, focused on…

Escaping a Strategic Cul de Sac: Using Ethnographic Insights to Challenge Organizational Bias

by Hal Phillips, Bad Babysitters There is constant hand wringing over the fate of ethnography as it makes slow progress into the realm of industry. Businesses are beholden to different forces than universities: in the C-Suite, the quarterly drumbeat of profits and shareholders sets the tone for most decisions. Almost all business leaders now acknowledge that they would love to engage in the deep learning that long-term customer observation can foster, but in practice such endeavors are methodically undermined in the fast paced corporate environment. As a result, researchers can find themselves making tradeoffs as their proposals are greenlit by…

Donna Flynn / A Profile

EPIC Profiles Series by Luis Machado, University of North Texas Walking a Different Path The path of American anthropology is becoming ever more diverse. Under the academic umbrella of Anthropology the world has been explored, analyzed, reflected on, and then determined to be wanting of more exploration. The Indiana Jones stereotype of the archaeologist or anthropologist is still a familiar reference in popular culture, perhaps surpassed for recent generations by Dr. “Bones” and her TV show bearing the same name. Anthropology in common parlance brings to mind the bold researcher off in the exotic far away, taking and studying the…

Luis Arnal / A Profile

EPIC Profiles Series by Fernando Galindo, Tellus Institute “Innovation Lives at the Borders” Luis could talk forever about his passion for INSITUM. He doesn’t like to showcase himself as the company’s front man, but in fact, he leads one of the most important innovation consultancies in the world, with over 120 consultants, 7 offices and more than 1400 projects. INSITUM was recently featured by Fast Company magazine as the 4th most innovative company in Latin America for “being global brands’ Latin American translator.” Self-described as introverted, obsessive, and fearless, Luis spends most of his time thinking about other people, not…

The Para-Ethnographic Trajectories Of Professional Ethnography

by Michael G. Powell, Shook Kelley Professional anthropologists frequently occupy unique roles, simultaneously inside and outside the organizations we work for or work with. Most of us are already adept at negotiating these roles, but don’t necessarily highlight this skill as something of great value, either to professional ethnography or to the broader intellectual life of anthropology. We should. Our role in the broader field of anthropology often remains marginal and our position—at once inside and outside, betwixt and between—is somewhat precarious and vulnerable (eg, Reddy 2012 touches on this, as do some of her guest bloggers). But it also…