Dhanabir Sharma

Leveling Up Your Research and Research Operations: Strategies for Scale

BRIGETTE METZLER Services Australia, University of Queensland. With user research becoming more common within organisations, there is an emerging issue of meeting demand whilst also developing the craft of research. A new profession is emerging in response – research operations. This paper will describe the current state of publicly available frameworks for research operations. These tend to deal with one aspect of scale – the people who are doing the research, not how they do the research, when, or what we do with the research. Two frameworks will be combined to create a matrix that provides the tools to identify an investment strategy for research within the context of an organisation and their strategic goals. This matrix provides a significant contribution to the field by making it possible to be strategic and proactive about developing research practices in the context of individual organisations, how and why they do research, and to better manage the tension between scale and craft. Keywords: ResearchOps, UX, Strategy Article...

Everybody’s a Winner: How Unidimensional Scaling up as an Entrepreneurial Rite of Passage is Beginning to Be Resisted in India’s Startup Capital

GITIKA SAKSENA LagomWorks Consulting & SOAS University of London ABHISHEK MOHANTY LagomWorks Consulting & SOAS University of London Taking India's startup capital Bangalore as its field, the paper researches the absence of conventional scale as a potentially positive emic experience for the entrepreneur. The study leverages a mixed methods approach, employing semi-structured interviews with select entrepreneurs, employees, investors, advisors, and staff from startup-incubators, participant observation at both startups and startup-incubators, textual analyses of business literature, semiotics of popular culture as well as auto-ethnographic reflection by the authors themselves on account of having co-founded a company in Bangalore in 2018, therefore establishing their positionality as ‘an-other’ (Sarukkai 1997, 1408), by ‘thick participation’ (Samudra 2008, 667). The authors examine the current assemblages within the startup ecosystem, to demonstrate that even the dominant and conventional notions of scale have...

Beyond User Needs: A Meaning-Oriented Approach to Recommender Systems

IVETA HAJDAKOVA Stripe Partners DEB MCDONALD Spotify SOHIT KAROL Spotify This contribution is a case study of Spotify, a popular music streaming app, which uses automated recommendations to provide a better user experience to its listeners. Automated recommender systems have mostly been built around understanding user needs and user goals. Our case study presents a meaning-oriented approach aimed at understanding what users regard as meaningful and how an automated recommender system can forge meaning and offer experiences that help develop existing connections to music and generate new ones. Following the meaning-oriented approach inspired by Lucien Karpik (2010), we were able to better understand how different audience segments engage with music and experience music as meaningful. We identified 2 cultural engagement models that listeners use to relate to music: (1) musical engagement during which music is the focus of the experience; and (2) non-musical engagement, during which the listener is the focus of the experience....

Architecture Can Heal: Spatial Literacy to Protect COVID-19 Healthcare Workers

MICHAEL DOLINGER Mount Sinai Kravis Children's Hospital ASHLEY MARSH MASS Design Group In April 2020, a study of The Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City was conducted to better understand the challenge of adapting idealized infection control design guides to site-specific conditions during a pandemic. The study aimed to capture quick interventions that are working, offer a new hypothesis and framework to guide future design interventions, and share lessons to assist other medical facilities as they pursue their own necessary spatial adaptations moving forward. Three units repurposed for COVID-19 were studied. Using action cameras and cloud-based videoconferencing, clinicians helped designers remotely peer in real time to active COVID-19 units, create “heatmap” annotations of perceived risk by frontline clinicians, and conduct interviews with decision makers. The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged health care systems around the world to provide safe and effective care. Leveraging spatial design, architecture, and design...

The Roller Coaster: How to Go from Global to Local and Back again—the Case of a Walking Drive Model in Paris

MARC-ANTOINE MORIER _unknowns The act of shopping for food is a very local experience, yet large food retail chains have built their business on homogenizing and standardizing the experience. In this article, we mobilize an ethnographic study carried out in 2018 for a food distributor regarding a new model of online retail pick-up. The goal of the project was to understand how a new method for food shopping could be scaled across different types of neighbourhoods. We created a scale model that incorporates both individual shopping practices and the demographics of the neighbourhood; using ethnographic methods as the basic unit. Using concepts from gentrification, we also contextualize our insights within the changing dynamics of a neighbourhood—because places are not static entities. We discuss how the scale model could be used to duplicate results from one neighbourhood to another and the reception of our work by the client. Keywords: scale, retail, walking drive, gentrification Article citation: 2020 EPIC Proceedings pp...

Digital Selves and Distributed Agency: Redefining the Subject of Ethnography

GUNES GOCABAG Independent Consultant PechaKucha Presentation Digital identities are key to almost all aspects of life today. What happens when digital identities grow beyond just being partial, one-dimensional representations of us, but become fully autonomous digital selves who can act on our behalf. Who or what will be the target for businesses trying to capture new customers, and what does that mean for our work as business anthropologists? Through practical examples, I take the audience through a thinking exercise and argue that future ethnographic practice needs to get beyond defending its own domain, open up and seek collaboration with many more disciplines that can complement our work as ethnographers. Gunes Kocabag is a researcher and strategic designer. She has worked with multi-disciplinary teams in projects across industries, and led research expeditions in Europe, Americas, Africa, Asia and Australia, to develop new services, user experiences and business models that provide sustainable value for business...

Borders and Walls: What is the Agency of Architects in Geopolitical Conflicts?

ANE GONZALEZ LARA Pratt Institute PechaKucha Presentation Boundaries and borders have generated lots of attention in the political realm of our country over the last years. The proposed Wall between the United States and Mexico has created different perspectives from architects and builders across the country. Following this debate, a question arises: What is the agency of architecture and architects in this issue? This presentation focuses on a Borders Studio taught at the University of New Mexico School of Architecture, a borderland school that draws students from both sides of the border. The studio was created after seeing how polarized and diverse the opinions about the proposed wall were among architects and builders and in order to stimulate the critical thinking abilities of the students. The studio involved a series of projects that tackled different scales. Each student found their own voice on the conflict during the semester and the studio created a platform for them to bring issues like immigration, labor...

“Resistance is Possible”: The Ethnography of Roleplaying

NATHAN LEBLANC Scoop PechaKucha Presentation Roleplaying games, such as the popular Dungeons & Dragons, ask players to take on roles of particular people and contexts. As a researcher, my experience conducting playtesting and ethnographic work for a roleplaying game on the Holocaust called “Rosenstrasse” profoundly affected me. In this PechaKucha, I ponder how roleplaying games might inspire the communication of ethnographic insight. As a medium in which storytelling isn't linear or prescribed, how can roleplaying games effectively transfer cultural understanding? Just as a Games Master and game design facilitate this knowledge transfer, perhaps ethnographers can use techniques similar to roleplaying to increase change-making by enabling greater agency in stakeholders and teammates. Nathan LeBlanc is a design researcher currently working at Scoop. He holds a BA in Anthropology and Linguistics from Grinnell College and a Masters of HCI from Carnegie Mellon University. 2019 EPIC Proceedings, ISSN 1559-8918, https://www.epicpeople.org/epic...

Creative Photography through Ethnographic Research

GABRIELA OLIVEIRA INSITUM PechaKucha Presentation This is a short story of when my sides of researcher and photographer met during a trip to the rural countryside of Brazil, where I went to research about internet connectivity, but ended up learning more about human relations. Photography creates connection between people, much like ethnography, and they interlace in a deeper level than just registering of fieldwork. Visual registration of research can be as valuable as the content gathered from the conversation, and photography can enable both analysis and creativity in a researcher, by prompting him or her to train an observing eye to both content and surroundings. Thinking of photography as a tool as valuable as interviewing activates new ways for researchers to use their humanity to face ethnographic research. Gabriela Oliveira is a Brazilian research strategist based in São Paulo. gabriela.a.deoliveira@gmail.com 22019 EPIC Proceedings, ISSN 1559-8918, https://www.epicpeople.org/epic...

Nangi Village: A Story of Collective Agency in the Mountains of Nepal

EMELIA RALLAPALLI Pebble Strategy PechaKucha Presentation What can a remote Himalayan community teach us about innovation? Emelia's Silicon-Valley-first-world frame of reference is the dominant lens of her work. It's the place where we buy into technology's promise to help solve the world's problems. But it's also ground zero for a dystopian future where humans are automated out of relevance. In this PechaKucha Emelia will explore the ways Nangi Village, with the help and leadership of one member in particular, is using technology and innovation to increase its collective power for its own goals of educating its young, connecting to the world, and driving its own economic development. This talk will also be a personal meditation on Nangi's impact on her own perspectives regarding human agency, problem solving, and innovation. Emelia Rallapalli Emelia is a brand strategist, researcher, and founder of Pebble Strategy. She consults for some of the world's most influential brands. emelia@pebblestrategy.com Twitter: @ERallapalli Medium:...

Data Walks into a Bar: A Love Story

TABITHA STEAGER Workday PechaKucha Presentation As a qualitative researcher, I was always a bit afraid – if not disdainful – of quantitative data. This pecha kucha tells the uneasy love story of how and why I fell in love with quantitative data. Transitioning from life as an ethnographer who avoided quantitative work at any cost, I found myself working as an applied researcher using a method that relied heavily on large amounts of quantitative data. I had to learn how to tell a story using a data format with which I was relatively unfamiliar. I was also doubtful about quantitative data and that it was often privileged over qualitative work and angry at the power it sometimes held over people's lives. However, as I began to get closer to it, I realized that I was ascribing quantitative data an agency of its own, an agency it definitely doesn't have. I moved through my doubt and ultimately came to fall deeply in love with the sweet spot that exists when we can marry qualitative and quantitative data to give voice to those...

Breaking the Language Barrier: India, The Digital Revolution and Human Agency

SHUBHANGI ATHALYE Convo Research & Strategy Pvt. Ltd STUART HENSHALL Convo Research & Strategy Pvt. Ltd PechaKucha Presentation India is pioneering the future of low and illiterate populations and as a result changing the course of AI, human agency and how we empower the next connected billion+. In a country with such a complex linguistic and demographic landscape the challenges are mammoth. However, with the sudden cheap and easy access to the internet, mobile technology is proving to be the vehicle for human agency. It is proving to be the catalyst and throwing up new tools especially for those poorly equipped to adopt. As an ethnographer I’m always struck with how the user behaves, adapts and changes to magical new tools. We go from a sense of wonder to a new form of tech literacy that will quickly surpass what they were ever able to do before. The questions posed are: How can technology reframe intention for lower literate populations? What new tools can be made available for the vernacular language users...

Adapting to the Lack of Agency: Research in Prisons

RUBEN PEREZ HUIDOBRO Shopify   PechaKucha Presentation How can a researcher adapt to the lack of agency in secure environments? HM Inspectorate of Prisons in the UK published in 2012 a thematic report about the use of the “person escort record” (PER) with detainees at risk of self-harm, highlighting the high number of deaths in custody. The PER was used during the transport of people under custody, and informed about their security and safety issues. As a result of this report, my team had the mandate to improve how security and safety risks were communicated. I needed to identify the needs and pain points of the people working on prison and court services, and I did so throughout multiple contextual research sessions. Due to the lack of agency in secured environments, I had the constant need to adapt and identify opportunities to bring to the team the information they needed. Ruben Perez Huidobro is a Senior User Experience Researcher at Shopify. He has over a decade of experience in the UX field. He has...

Ethnographic ‘Weirdness’: Attending to Indicators of the Unfamiliar

CHARLEY SCULL Filament Insight & Innovation This presentation begins with ethnographic research of an Indonesian tuna fishery in which a field partner describes unfamiliar cultural behavior as ‘weird’. Using that moment as a starting point, the paper then undertakes a reflection on the usage and meaning of the term. It explores ‘weirdness’ through a range of core tenets, like cultural relativism, empathy and ethnocentrism and then plays with the meaning of weirdness across a number of disciplinary and market lenses. The talk builds to a provocation about the ways in which ‘weird’ can serve as a call to action. It concludes that researchers should use ‘weird’ as an indicator that helps them know where they need to dig deeper, in search of empathic understanding and where they need to reconcile their biases. By doing so, the talk argues, we are giving agency to the data which we don't yet understand. Charley Scull is a visual anthropologist, ethnographer, insight strategist and UX researcher. He has worked...

Out to Dry: Change and Agency Across Urban China

ZACH HYMAN EPAM Continuum PechaKucha Presentation This PechaKucha will take the audience on an intimate, visual exploration of the evolving ways that clothing is dried outside across urban China as drying practices are forced to adapt to limitations by evolving regulation and perceptions of urban modernity. Increasingly, engaging in this social practice requires an act of agency against both municipal governments and one's own neighbors in China. While drying one's laundered clothing outdoors remains a standard part of rural life, both the legal and physical space for this practice has shrunk during China's massive urbanization. This practice is being replaced by bureaucrats’ desire to stimulate domestic consumption (of appliances, in this case) and their desire to erase from cities what is considered a visual embarrassment of laundry hanging out of windows and between buildings. Today when something in urban China needs drying outside of one's privately owned space, one must assert agency over a slice of public space: A...