San Jose State University
Institute for the Future
San Jose State University
This tutorial introduces Ethnofutures to ethnographers who want to integrate forecasting methods and tools into their current professional practices. The goal is to translate ethnographic material into imaginative, but grounded, scenarios of their future users, services, and products. Practitioners, such as designers and business strategists, must imagine futures based on existing signals of change. Those signals can come from the activities of individuals, the organizations in which they work, as well as the larger social events around them. The forces fomenting change can be highly localized, such as a specific municipal policy on gig workers or also be global in scope, pointing to the role of gig work as a facet of contemporary transnational capitalism. Moreover, the future itself is scalable: Organizations toggle between data-rich forecasts that extend less than a year, to more speculative...
An EPIC Talk with MIRIAM LUECK AVERY (Mozilla), J.A. ENGLISH-LUECK (San Jose State University), LYNN JEFFERY (Institute for the Future), & FERNANDO GALDINO
The anthropological imagination can be exponentially expanded by anticipating the consequences of human action. Futures thinking—strategic research that helps us systematically explore what the future may hold—is increasingly being combined with anthropological techniques to create an emerging area of research called Ethnographic Futures, or ethnofutures. Ethnofutures helps us sense cultural and behavioral change in order to forecast long-term impacts and societal transformations.
In this webinar we have three objectives. First, we want to introduce EPIC practitioners to an ethnofutures approach, laying the foundation for how anticipatory anthropology and futures thinking can be used in ethnographic practice. Second, we will identify several techniques that can be used to think systematically about possible futures, using today’s evidence. Finally, we will...
J.A. ENGLISH-LUECK and MIRIAM LUECK AVERY
In 2012, the Google Innovation Lab for Food Experiences convened a multi-year conversation between corporate food stakeholders, farmers, chefs, food experts, social scientists and business consultants to reimagine the impact of companies on their employees and the food system. Corporate care increasingly includes food. Food origins and preparations create impacts well beyond the corporate cafe, reaching into fields and families. In the project, Farms to Firms to Families, university-based anthropologists joined with the Institute for the Future to develop a Northern Californian case study on the implications of corporate care across the food system. Ethnographic observations and interviews of people in that system yielded a portrait of cultural values, schema for social change, and diverse practices. We then transformed ethnographic observations into alternative future scenarios, which could help participants in the Google Innovation Lab for Food Experiences, as well as a wider community of...