BRINDA DALAL

Contributed Articles

Design for Healthy Living: Mobility and the Disruption of Daily Healthcare Routines

AME ELLIOTT and BRINDA DALAL This paper reports on how people express health concerns as they move around their homes and travel between their homes and workplaces, stores, gyms, restaurants, friends’ homes, hotels and other locations. We gathered stories from focus groups and in-home interviews with people with a broad range of health needs, and from these discussions, support for mobility emerged as a key issue for making health maintenance routines easy and resilient in the face of disruptions. The things people carry with them and access at strategic places help them maintain their health routines in the face of stressful and unforeseen situations....

The Baker’s Dozen: The Presence of the Gift in Service Encounters

BRINDA DALAL and PATRICIA WALL This paper explores whether or not Marcel Mauss’s concept of the gift is applicable to understanding the diverse roles that ethnographers assume in corporate environments. Kneading together the themes of gift exchange from anthropological literature on the one hand and “Representations” from the participatory design research community on the other; we suggest that the artifacts we create and share with customers actually evoke the presence of the gift in customer interactions. We argue that specific types of representations - a key component in our methodological toolkit - may be likened to the thirteenth loaf in the baker’s dozen; given to the customer to demonstrate equitable partnerships, enhance communication and garner trust in a perpetually changing marketplace. Using case studies, we examine how these objects illuminate the complexity of our own sociality in professional settings and furthermore, help to deepen or transform customer service engagements....

Back to the Future of Work: Informing Corporate Renewal

JENNIFER WATTS-ENGLERT, MARGARET SZYMANSKI, PATRICIA WALL, MARY ANN SPRAGUE and BRINDA DALAL This paper describes the results of a multi-year ethnographic study of how knowledge workers integrate new technology into their work practices. We studied mobile and remote workers who use smartphones, tablets, cloud computing, and social networking to support their work. Study findings describe the characteristics of mobile work, the coordination of multiple devices and sources of information, how new technology functioned as a social resource and issues that arose when participants used personal mobile devices to support work. We will also discuss how we are working with corporate teams to renew our research projects, and the solutions and services the company offers to support the changing nature of work....