Dhanabir Sharma

Little Dramas Everywhere: Using Ethnography to Anticipate the Future

J.A. ENGLISH-LUECK San Jose State University SAM LADNER Workday, Inc. JAMIE SHERMAN Netflix Inc. In this article, the chairs of EPIC2021 reflect on the idea of Anticipation, and what ethnography reveals to us that may not be readily apparent through other means. Looking backward at the year of planning a conference that was to be focused on the future, the authors describe various revelations that unfolded and revealed themselves over the course of time. They raise questions of method, of epistemological position, and ethical responsibility. The authors conclude that anticipation is very much an ethnographic activity, one in which we can ask difficult questions about power and practice. Article citation: 2021 EPIC Proceedings pp 7–14, ISSN 1559-8918, https://www.epicpeople.org/epic...

Anticipating the Arrival of a Clean-Sensitive Driving Future

ANNICKA CAMPBELL-DOLLAGHAN Rightpoint DR. OMER TSIMHONI General Motors EDWARD GUNDLACH General Motors CAMILLE SHARROW-BLAUM Rightpoint ASHLYNN DENNY Rightpoint A leading automaker needed to safely study the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic upon driver and passenger experience to effectively prioritize future in-vehicle features related to cleanliness. In this case study, we'll share our approach and retrospective learnings on how to understand, contextualize, and anticipate the impact of major societal shifts as they happen. Article citation: 2021 EPIC Proceedings pp 75–90, ISSN 1559-8918, https://www.epicpeople.org/epic Keywords: Remote Methods, Diary Study, Automotive, COVID-19...

Anticipating Connectivity in (UX) Design Practices: Reframing Challenges by Introducing Theory Cards

METTE GISLEV KJÆRSGAARD Department of Design and Communication, University of Southern Denmark WAFA SAID MOSLEH Department of Design and Communication, University of Southern Denmark JACOB BUUR Department of Design and Communication, University of Southern Denmark JESSICA SORENSON Department of Design and Communication, University of Southern Denmark This paper presents a design anthropological study with User Experience design departments from five large companies in Denmark, ranging from manufacturers of medical equipment through toys to control systems for industrial infrastructures. We explore the challenges they face as products, services, and user research are increasingly connected. Our research shows that current methods, development processes, and organizational structures do not sufficiently support User Experience design teams in dealing with emerging design and organizational challenges that follow from increased digitalization. As a result, UX designers are struggling to anticipate the future of product interaction,...

Building Target Worlds: Connecting Research, Futures Exploration and Worldbuilding

MARKUS ROTHMÜLLER Bridgemaker GmbH “The future” cannot be “predicted,” but “preferred futures” can and should be envisioned, invented, implemented, continuously evaluated, revised, and re-envisioned. —Jim Dator, Hawaii, 1995 This paper introduces a framework called Target Worlds, with which I hope to offer an alternative to putting users, personas or target groups at the center of innovation. Instead I want to promote a more prudent approach that balances social, environmental, technological and financial sustainability in innovation.Target Worlds thereby tries to overcome issues of focus, scalability and responsibility in innovation by tackling the core of the problem: the targets of innovation work. The framework merges concepts of investigating ‘worlds’ today, identifying desirable futures for tomorrow and worldbuilding as a hands-on approach resulting in target worlds as new point of departure for innovation teams. This paper serves as a recipe for building target worlds offering a step-by-step guide...

The Future of Hygiene: Constructive Expansive Futures

SIDDHARTH KANORIA Quantum Consumer Solutions DIMITRI BERTI Quantum Consumer Solutions CHRISTI KOBIERECKA Unilever There has been significant interest in Futuring as a discipline after COVID-19, as multiple industries are beginning to interrogate their post-Covid future. Quantum Consumer Solutions and Unilever came together to interrogate the post-COVID future of hygiene in Europe, to inform brand and product strategy for Unilever. This project took a culture-first approach to futures, with a diverse and inter-disciplinary team working together using an Agile approach. Using a mixed-methods approach, the team used a combination of digital ethnography, speculative design and an Opportunity Spaces framework to distill the future of hygiene into ten Opportunity Spaces for Unilever. Readers can expect to learn more about why a culture-first approach to futures is recommended, how speculative design could represent an ‘ethnography of the future’ and how a simultaneously analytical and creative approach to futuring could be...

Designing Virtual Primary Care: Desire or Dread? How Structural Forces Shape the Anticipation of Futures

MARIE MIKA GRH+DOD* ARVIND VENKATARAMANI SonicRim The COVID-19 pandemic changed many healthcare companies' priorities and dramatically accelerated the drive towards increasingly virtual health care. Grand Rounds Health*, a healthcare startup, decided the time is now to launch its virtual primary care offering. It was assumed that a rural, lower-socioeconomic population would be more eager for, and best served by, virtual primary care, given their greater geographic distance from clinicians and other assumed access deficits. However, ethnographic research revealed that it was the urban, higher-socioeconomic population who both reported far more favorable experiences with remote care and more eager anticipation of virtual primary care. This is partly due to different technological experiences and ecosystems, but more directly due to differing trust in and agency with institutionalized health care. Ultimately, this case study reminds researchers that our experiences are shaped and limited by our social positions, and that we cannot...

Building for the Future, Together: A Model for Bringing Emerging Products to Market, Using Anticipatory Ethnography and Mixed Methods Research

STEFANIE HUTKA, PHD Adobe Inc. Applied ethnography practitioners are often charged with learning from existing or potential customers, for a product that is either familiar to them or close in nature to what they have used before. There are particular challenges for emerging technologies, where the market is much less defined. Applied ethnography has the potential to help with predicting future market scenarios, honing the value proposition and product definition. Done well, these contributions help align siloed teams, resulting in better products being delivered to the right customers, faster. This case study will outline the approaches used across all product development stages for new creative design tools in the emerging field of immersive media - specifically, 3D and Augmented Reality. A collaboration model and best practices are offered, to guide practitioners to address both overt challenges (e.g., identifying which audiences to focus on), and hidden challenges (e.g., creating a human-centered dialogue in an ambiguous,...

Reconnecting with the Public: Participatory Research and Co-creations within and outside a Public Institution

LOK YI LEE Brandnographer XINYI JIANG Brandnographer Despite constraints on face-to-face meetings and social distancing policies under COVID-19, with the help of online tools, Brandnographer successfully conducted a series of online activities to facilitate stakeholders from different age and background to immerse themselves in situated scenarios, then to design and visualize their ideal public services in the future. This paper discusses how a participatory approach and design thinking framework have helped the researchers and decision makers collect thick data from the service users, transform user insights into prototypes for reiteration and concrete design principles. On the other hand, how the blurred identities in between observers, participants and designers have stimulated discussions and design possibilities by supplying real-life scenarios and evaluation on solution feasibility. Article citation: 2021 EPIC Proceedings pp 43–57, ISSN 1559-8918, https://www.epicpeople.org/epic...

Anticipating Needs: How Adopting Trauma-Informed Methodologies During COVID-19 Influenced Our Work Connecting Frontline Workers To Temporary Housing

MEREDITH HITCHCOCK Airbnb.org SADHIKA JOHNSON Independent (formerly Airbnb) This case study argues that all research should be trauma-informed research. It asserts that because researchers cannot anticipate everything about research participants’ needs, histories, and context, taking an approach that assumes all participants are more likely than not to have experienced trauma should be the paradigm for researchers. Even before receiving formal training in trauma-informed research, incorporating methodologies from trauma-informed research can make all researchers more human-centered. From March–April 2020, researchers from Airbnb conducted research to help launch a program that provided free or discounted accommodations to COVID-19 frontline workers: Frontline Stays. The researchers needed to conduct research with both frontline workers and Airbnb hosts who were temporarily opening their homes to them. Some of the researchers had received formal training in trauma-informed research. Others did not have the training, but...

Futures in Things: Locating the Promise of Infrastructures in Public Libraries

SANDJAR KOZUBEV Georgia Institute of Technology CARL DISALVO Georgia Institute of Technology Public libraries in the U.S. and around the world are rapidly changing due expanding technological and social needs of their communities. The Covid-19 pandemic has intensified the debates about the future of public spaces and public services. In this paper, we report on a qualitative study of librarians in a U.S. urban public library system. The focus of the study was to understand how the concept of “the future of library” is constructed and contested both socially and materially. Using mixed methods, including participant observation, interviews, participatory design and action research, we developed insights about the socio-political dynamics of futures in a public infrastructure. We argue that futures can be shaped not only by socio-technical imaginaries, and representations, which tend to be abstract and distant, but also by socio-material conditions in the present. Specifically, drawing on the work of infrastructure studies,...

Come to Your Senses: Ethnography of the Everyday Futuring

JANA JEVTIC Gemic REBEKAH PARK Gemic Our practices of research, design, and strategy create landscapes of possibility. Anticipation, an approach that has informed much of the recent ethnographic work on the future, is shaped by how these symbolic and material landscapes, and the forms of agency they make possible, are distributed. This makes anticipation politically significant, prompting an empirical question of when and with respect to whose experience broader future visions occur. Seeking to bring attention to processes of future-making that capture these disparities, we ground anticipation in lived experience. Drawing on two long-term fieldworks, we recognize significant variability in how the future manifests in the course of practical and reflective engagements in everyday life. To explore these engagements, we turn to “future senses” of memory, foresight, voice, optimism, and yearning. We then demonstrate how “future senses” can be productively integrated within conversations about advancing not only more diverse...

Cities as Anticipatory Systems: Analyzing “Weak Signals” to Explore Beyond the Predictability of Their Future

NORA MORALES UAM Cuajimalpa SALOMON GONZALEZ UAM Cuajimalpa In the last decade, Future Studies have developed a very important corpus of theory and methods aimed to analyze the future of cities. Meanwhile the world is confronted with major challenges like climate change, global pandemics, migration, inequality and poverty, government agencies, professional urbanists, academia and other organizations, concerned with strategic planning, are looking for new ways to provide insight into how we approach unforeseeable challenges and integrate complexity and novelty for better futures. In this paper we reviewed the notion of “weak signal” as a retrospective exploratory method to think of cities as anticipatory systems (Boer, Wiekens, and Damhof 2018) of future emerging problems. Using qualitative retrospective analysis and secondary research we focused on three urban innovations in transportation, workplaces and food domains at different cities to understand how to anticipate unforeseen scenarios and explore new ways of generating...

Weaving Textile Futures: Indigenous Resistance and Intellectual Property

AMAPOLA RANGEL FLORES Universidad de las Américas Puebla Indigenous textiles are objects and material culture creations often exposed and subjected to plagiarism by international brands. The concept of intellectual property is not created for, or considering indigenous dynamics and social structures. This article argues, through the study of a Mixtec community in Oaxaca, Mexico, how new concepts should be outlined. Through the use of ethnography and the anticipation of plagiarism, a community requests the work of an anthropologist to backup their textile knowledge and allow for a precedent to be set where the particular know-how is detailed as part of the Collective Intellectual Property of the community. Article citation: 2021 EPIC Proceedings pp 224–239, ISSN 1559-8918, https://www.epicpeople.org/epic...

Anticipating Headwinds: Using “Narrative Tacking” to Build an Inclusive Future

KATE SIECK This paper proposes a framework for addressing entrenched resistance to change. It borrows a metaphor from sailing to suggest that the best way through unwanted transformations is by “narrative tacking.” Drawing a parallel to how sailors navigate through headwinds by “tacking,” I argue that “tacking” through the narrative of change calms the resistance and enables forward motion. Specifically, it requires shifting the locus of attention from behaviors or the future state to the values and intentions of the actors. In attending to intentional states, we create space and flexibility in the narrative of change that enables the “wiggle room” needed for forward movement. I demonstrate the process through two case studies of complex, high-stakes transformation efforts that succeeded above and beyond what anyone expected. I suggest how these maneuvers provide a template for other kinds of change projects as well. In the end, by anticipating and harnessing resistance, we can craft change processes that are more...