Advancing the Value of Ethnography

Q&A with Lisa Kleinman


Tell us about yourself in one sentence.

I’m always seeking to be out of my comfort zone.

Why did you say ‘yes’ to being on an EPIC committee?

Interacting with the other committee members exposes me to new ways to talk about research and the craft that I wouldn’t be able to learn just by reading an article. And, of course, being directly part of shepherding the EPIC submissions levels up my own critical thinking skills; plus, there’s a lasting bond that’s created with the authors that goes beyond the conference.

When you think about the best proposals you read, what really made them stand out?

A great EPIC submission will be re-purposed and become a part of how others instantiate their practice. For me, it’s a combination of two main factors, and mainly this applies to case studies: specific & clear details about the method (especially as it relates to engaging stakeholders) and showcasing the insights in a framework that others can be inspired by—even if their subject area is completely different.

Is there a particular talk you’re looking forward to?

My favorite part of the sessions are the conversations that emerge from the presentations—so I’m punting a bit on this question, because it’s all about what the audience will bring to the conference.

Is this your first EPIC? What are you looking forward to at EPIC2022?

The setting of Amsterdam is going to lend an inspirational lens to the EPIC2022 sessions—I’m looking forward to thinking about what I’ve learned at EPIC while walking around the canals and seeing life being lived through the large windows.

What would you like to say to people who are considering coming to EPIC for the first time?

Don’t worry that your training or experiences are different from other attendees; share your story and your perspective, we want to learn from you.

If you could recommend a book/article/podcast to our community, what would you recommend and why?

I highly recommend the Upstream podcast. It blends a range of social and economic theories in the context of current world problems—I’m always learning from it.

About EPIC2022
EPIC2022 explores resilience, the ability to learn, adapt and evolve with adversity and changing conditions. Who should flex, resist, or adapt? What should be restored, abandoned, or reinvented? Resilience highlights the systemic, interconnected nature of disruption and survival—how organizations, products, services, communities, and our own work can be designed to learn, adapt and evolve.



Lisa Kleinman,

Lisa Kleinman is Head of Design at in Germany and Co-chair of the EPIC2022 Case Studies Committee.