MIKE YOUNGBLOOD

Contributed Articles

From Users to User Ecosystems

An EPIC Talk with MIKE YOUNGBLOOD (Youngblood Group), BENJAMIN CHESLUK (American Board of Internal Medicine) & NADEEM HAIDARY (Amazon Lab126) 14 April 2021, 8:00–9:30 am US Pacific Time (UTC-7) This online event is free for EPIC Members. Overview User research and human-centered design help us solve real challenges and create better experiences. But there's a problem: when we explore user experiences, we often frame these as individual, personal engagements with products and services. This can cause us to miss ways that experiences may be interconnected and systemic across multiple users and artifacts. This EPIC Talk will explore the idea of “user ecosystems” and their importance to design and ethnographic research. It will introduce a new book and toolkit, Rethinking Users: The Design Guide to User Ecosystem Thinking. In discussion with the book’s authors and illustrator and breakout sessions with participants and we will explore practical ways that user ecosystem thinking can expand our imagination and our...

Tutorial: Integrating Sustainability Perspectives in Ethnographic Work

MIKE YOUNGBLOOD Youngblood Group Overview This tutorial examines ways ethnography is uniquely positioned to contribute to the design and innovation of environmentally sustainable (or even better than merely sustainable) products and services. It reviews several emerging design perspectives—such as circular design, regenerative design, systems-oriented design, and value-centered design—and explores ways that ethnographers in industry can use them their own practice and organizations to build sustainability considerations into their work. It is valuable for those who are relatively new to sustainability as well as those with deeper experience who are interested in expanding our collective impact toward more planet-friendly industries. The session covers: Opportunity costs of doing design research “as usual” Key perspectives and approaches for sustainable design and innovation Baking sustainability perspectives into research Ethnographic/anthropological theories and methods that can support a sustainability...

Agency and the Climate Emergency

EPIC2019 Panel, Providence, Rhode Island Moderator: DAN LOCKTON, Director of the Imaginaries Lab & Chair of Design Studies, Carnegie Mellon University Panelists: MAKALÉ FABER CULLEN, Urban Soils Fellow, Anthropocene, Urban Soils Institute GYORGYI GALIK, Lead Advisor, Architecture and Built Environment Team, Design Council; Royal College of Art MIKE YOUNGBLOOD, Principal, Youngblood Group What are ethnographers’ roles in dealing with catastrophic climate crisis? Should we be exploring people’s experiences of change, trying to use our insights to help drive individual and collective action at scale through organizations, or helping civil society deal with the consequences? In this diverse set of presentations, panelists share ethnographic and design approaches to climate that engage communities, products, policy, artists, activists, and more. They examine tensions, responsibilities, and value that ethnographic practice can bring to one of the biggest issues for our collective futures....

Tutorial: Fundamentals of Observational Research

MIKE YOUNGBLOOD Youngblood Group Overview This tutorial offers a solid foundation in the art of observation as a field research method for human-centered design and innovation. An expanded, hands-on version of Mike Youngblood's popular EPIC Talk on observational research, it will be valuable for those who are new to this method as well as more seasoned observers seeking an effective toolkit they can use to train others. The tutorial will cover: four core techniques for conducting observational research in a wide range of settings basic observational data collection effective note taking selecting the right tools and methods ethical considerations related to observing others Discussion will draw on real-life examples from diverse settings, including Mike's own research in homes, bars, restaurants, car dealerships, urban neighborhoods, medical environments, and more. After instruction and group discussion, tutorial participants will have the chance to practice using specific techniques during video...

Sustainability and Ethnography in Business: Identifying Opportunity in Troubled Times

by MIKE YOUNGBLOOD, The Youngblood Group Introduction to the Sustainability & Ethnography in Business Series, Mike Youngblood, Editor Sustainability—we’re hearing this word a lot these days, even in business (if not, depressingly, in Trump Tower). It’s probably something readers of this post all generally support, and it’s definitely something we’re all connected to in one way or another. Whether we work in tech, consumer goods, education, government, or any other field, it’s pretty easy to see how the products, services, and organizations we serve affect larger social and environmental issues. For most of us in the EPIC community, however, sustainability isn’t in our job descriptions. So how should we understand and act on this issue? What are our perspectives, capabilities, opportunities, and responsibilities with respect to sustainability? Are we actively addressing sustainability in our work, or is it properly “someone else’s job?” This post introduces an EPIC discussion on sustainability. Over...