a book review by GERALD LOMBARDI
The Power of Not Thinking: How Our Bodies Learn and Why We Should Trust Them
2020, 336 pp, Blink Publishing/Bonnier
In The Power of Not Thinking: How Our Bodies Learn and Why We Should Trust Them, Simon Roberts aims to resuscitate the human body from the sepulchre of Western thought, where Descartes and his successors presumably buried it, and to correct popular misconceptions about how we generate knowledge. In the author's words:
"Our intelligence does not just arise from our brains... nor can it be programmed as a set of rules or propositions that enables us to think in particular ways or perform particular actions. Instead, our understanding of the world arises from our bodies’ interactions with and perceptions of the world – and it is through these interactions that our bodies acquire knowledge." (p. 6)
This proposition will be taken for granted by some readers of this review, and by anyone who follows its intellectual touchpoints: embodied cognition, situated learning,...
LEISA REICHELT, Chair
An EPIC2020 Sponsored Panel presented by Atlassian
The Atlassian Research & Insights team commissioned a research study that involved thousands of workers across the globe to see how COVID-19 and the sudden shift to working from home has affected them. Atlassian looked inward, too, to find out how Atlassians were impacted by the sudden, lasting change to work remotely. In this panel, moderated by Head of Research & Insights, Leisa Reichelt, the people behind this work will discuss the unanticipated impacts of the pandemic that our research uncovered and how we might all respond going forward.
Leisa Reichelt leads the research and insights team at Atlassian, where they are interested in unleashing the potential of every team. Prior to Atlassian Leisa spent some time working with Government Digital Services, both in Australia and in the UK. In both cases, building research...
ELIZABETH CHURCHILL, Chair
An EPIC2020 Sponsored Panel presented by Google
What does human scale mean through the lens of the environment? Alternatively, what does the scale of the Earth’s environment mean to human activity and life? We may start by thinking of the enormity of the problem to just describe these two perspectives. But, by stepping back and reframing our questions in terms of the tools we use—design, ethnography, AI, art—we gain a powerful and novel perspective.
Panelists discuss their work in terms of the world’s biggest threat, climate change. Approaching this topic from each one’s unique worldview and the tools of their practice, they follow out the scales of local to global and how small and seemingly one-off events can grow to a world scale. How do we design, provoke, educate—and ultimately change the world—by employing disparate data...
JULIA KATHERINE HAINES
The TRACES methodology focuses on foundational research at multiple levels of granularity and across multiple dimensions, digital and embodied. It is an approach to gathering more meaningful data around people’s daily lives, as they move within and between different devices, services, environments and product ecosystems.
In this tutorial, participants will learn about TRACES and how to implement it using the Paco mobile and desktop behavioral research platform. Paco is an open source tool used around the world in both industry and academia. It can capture both emic and etic perspectives using sensors and logs, surveys, experience sampling, triggers, and prompts.
Background on TRACES and Paco:
Toward Multi-dimensional Ethnography, Julia Haines
Paco: Applying Computational Methods to Scale Qualitative Methods, Bob Evans
This tutorial was presented in full at EPIC202020. The video includes instructor presentations; discussions and breakout sessions...
Ethnographers tend to be uneasy about survey research. Some of us shun it because it seems “reductive” of human experience; others are intimidated by complex methods and analytics that weren’t part of our research training. But surveys are everywhere—some are rigorous and insightful, many are lousy. Whether we’re conducting surveys, collaborating with colleagues who do, or interpreting survey-based studies, an understanding of survey research fundamentals is essential.
Tutorial offers survey basics from an ethnographer and survey methodologist who collaborate at the world’s leading provider of media and marketing information. Their crash course on survey fundamentals includes:
when to use surveys and why
basics of survey design
writing effective survey questions
evaluating survey quality
the total survey error framework
how ethnographers and survey researchers can add value to each others’ work
This tutorial is designed for...
This tutorial explores research in people’s homes through digital methods. The instructors focus on how to utilize participant’s existing digital skills and materials to undertake ethnographic research on and in their home environment, and develop a greater awareness of how geographical and socio-economic circumstances impact the research process. Participants collaborate to discuss how understanding of domestic contexts might frame our research design and specific methods, and consider ways for enhancing the collaborative and participatory process of data collection in the domestic space.
This tutorial was presented in full at EPIC202020. The video includes instructor presentations; discussions and breakout sessions are excluded for the privacy of the participants.
BROWSE ALL TUTORIALS...
Qual and quant are so divided these days—by academic discipline, language, communities of practice, job titles. Too often, quantitative research is conflated with data science (or vice versa), and data science with optimization algorithms or simply engineering. In many organizations, being “data-driven” tends to define “data” with a narrow conception of enumeration and (mis-) conceptions about the kind of evidence that is suitable to act on.
This tutorial critically examines this territory and move beyond it, empowering ethnographers to develop more interdisciplinary programs of inquiry. First the instructors review fundamentals of quantitative research and provide tools ethnographers can use to evaluate its quality and validity. Then they examine constraints and barriers to quant/qual collaboration, including time, funding, values, epistemological conflicts, organizational silos, and more. Finally, using core principles that underlie...
Ovetta Sampson covers when, how, and where to integrate ethnography and data science in the exploratory research process to have better and more ethical AI product development outcomes. With a combination of lecture, case study examples, and exercises, attendees gained a clear understanding of why making data a stakeholder in user research will create a more ethical and human-centered AI product. This tutorial is created especially for researchers who understand the need to mix ethnography and data science but just don’t know quite how to do it. Topics include:
Bringing data into research planning to help identify and reduce bias
Bringing data science into synthesis to help illuminate system solutions
Bringing data science into insight and design principle generation
Aligning qualitative data and behavioral data
This tutorial was presented in full at EPIC202020. The video includes instructor presentations; discussions and breakout sessions are excluded for the privacy of...
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...
In this keynote address, we join indigenous writer, historian and agriculturalist Bruce Pascoe on his farm on the South East coast of Australia. Bruce employs the theme of Caring to speak to a range of topics close to his heart. While walking on Country with him, we are taken to a ceremonial site on his land that illustrates the importance of cultural heritage, reconciliation, and language to contemporary farming practices in Australia. We visit a forest landscape devastated by the ‘superfires’ experienced over Australia’s 2019/2020 summer, where we learn of the importance of indigenous approaches to land management and controlled burning. Introducing us to some of the nutritious plants and vegetables that indigenous people cultivated in pre-colonial Australia, Bruce talks us through his farming team’s current experiments and future plans to develop indigenous agriculture on a commercial scale on the farm, and he foregrounds the importance of training a new generation of indigenous farmers, chefs, botanists,...
Australia National University
The pandemic has disrupted everything from the global flow of goods and services, to the actions that individuals can take in their daily lives. It has changed, for now at least, the ecosystems in which we work—impacting both how we think about ethnographic activity and how it is might be used. In Australia, the pandemic has resulted in a collection of massive, unplanned, social experiments in scale, at scale. Examining five of these social experiments as they’ve played out, Genevieve will extract lessons that seem relevant to the work we all do now and to the ways we might want to orient to the future. After all, as the pandemic is demonstrating, scale is neither a stable nor singular concept, and our responses to it will need to be appropriately located and considered.
Genevieve Bell is a Distinguished Professor, Director of the 3A Institute (3Ai) and Florence Violet McKenzie Chair at the Australian National University. She is also Vice President and a Senior Fellow at Intel...
RICH RADKA, Chair
This panel explores the specific reasons organizations generate ideas about the future, the methods they choose, how they act on foresight, and consequences for both business and society. Panelists address the theme of scale in various dimensions, such as how to appropriately scale our imaginings, scaling to multiple time horizons, scaling breadth vs. depth of focus, and thinking of scale in terms of organizational value creation.
Rich Radka has 20+ years of providing deep human insights to corporate, scale-up and public sector clients in the arenas of innovation, customer experience, strategy and forecasting. He brings inspired design thinking, and a practical human-centred approach to co-create solutions that involve customers, employees, partners and other stakeholders.Wendy Chamberlin serves as the Global Program Director for the BOMA Project, a livelihood development...
AUTUMN SANDERS FOSTER, Chair
Douyon Signature Labs
University of Kansas
WILLIAM LEZ HENRY
University of West London
Within the growing global discourse around race, whiteness, and racial injustice lies a call to address the ways systemic racism and normalized whiteness continue to shape our work. Many organizations have issued formal statements but struggle to identify and implement meaningful next steps. Through this panel, we will discuss how change works in concert with or opposition to dominant norms, values, and culture in our research and our organizations.
Autumn Sanders Foster has worked with Fortune 500 companies, start-ups and non-profits, helping them grow their businesses by understanding their customers. She launched Quire Consulting in 2017 to provide clients access to qualitative research and design strategy that brings real people into the center of the design process. She leads...