Jennifer Collier Jennings

Consulting against Culture: A Politicized Approach to Segmentation

MARTA CUCIUREAN-ZAPAN Because market segmentations are a familiar managerial artifact, it is easy to overlook the assumptions teams make as they construct these representations. Segmentations have become entrenched within companies because they are useful in navigating the complexity of the real world, but this generalizing tendency can also lead to stasis and misguided decision-making. As ethnographers we encounter additional limits in how the language, categories, and beliefs embedded in a segmentation affect our work. Anthropological theory on culture and representation offers a means by which to further assess our engagement with these artifacts. Based on emerging practices in two case studies, this paper argues for a politicized approach to segmentation – a critical stance to how and why they take on power as they are circulated within organizations....

Ethnography inside the Walls: Studying the Contested Space of the Cemetery

ANNIKA PORSBORG NIELSEN and LINE GROES This paper discusses the merits and challenges of user-centered urban development projects, and what it means to apply an ethnographic approach to the study of urban spaces and the way people use them. We draw primarily on an ethnographic project carried out in two cemeteries in Copenhagen. The project focused on the involvement of local citizens – both everyday users of the cemeteries, as well as locals who do not use these urban spaces. We discuss the challenges and opportunities of ethnography in a complex space such as a cemetery, and consider additional ways to incorporate citizens into projects that have a direct impact on their lives. We conclude with a discussion of the project learnings and their implications for future urban planning....

Manufacturing Expertise for the People: The Open-Source Hardware Movement in Japan

MATT KREBS Manufacturing itself is changing as open-source sentiment grows with the “maker” movement, especially in FabLabs around the world. “Makers” are open-source hardware enthusiasts who want anyone to be able to make almost anything. This ethnographic research, conducted in 2013, centers on the “makers” in FabLabs in Japan. The research addresses cultural coherence among actors – human and machine – in these FabLabs, and changing notions of expertise enabled by open-source, DIY manufacturing practices. Are modern machines like 3D printers changing manufacturing? Will they change the world?...

Co-creating Your Insight: A Case from Rural Ghana

As Africa becomes the next frontier for consumer innovations, researchers and designers will be faces with a challenge: how can one get deep and meaningful insights on ever-accelerated project timetables? The following case study offers one such possibility. Drawing on work in rural Ghana, I describe my team used co-creation as a means to generate…

Valuable Connections: Design Anthropology and Co-creation in Digital Innovation

METTE GISLEV KJÆRSGAARD and RACHEL CHARLOTTE SMITH This paper explores challenges and potentials for innovation and co-creation within an increasingly interconnected and digitalized world, and its affect on ethnographic practices within the field of design and business development. Our discussion is based on material from an interdisciplinary research and design project with a leading computer game developer, exploring opportunities of involving online gaming communities in innovation processes and product development. Based on our case, we argue that in a world with increasingly blurred boundaries between physical, digital and hybrid contexts, as well as design, production and use, we might need to rethink the role of ethnography within user centred design and business development. Here the challenge is less about ”getting closer” to user needs and real-life contexts, through familiarization, mediation, and facilitation, and more about creating a critical theoretically informed distance from which to perceive and reflect...

You’ll Never Ride Alone: The Role of Social Media in Supporting the Bus Passenger Experience

PAUL GAULT, DAVID CORSAR, PETER EDWARDS, JOHN D NELSON and CAITLIN COTTRILL The paper discusses a study of social media usage within the context of a public transport operator. This involved fieldwork within three subsidiary companies of FirstGroup alongside a content analysis of the individual Twitter feeds they operate and the conversations they generate through them to engage with passengers. A refiguring of the notion of social is taking place within these companies through their emergent strategies for utilizing social media. The findings showed how the companies address this by pursuing a persistent conversation with customers, facilitating the provision of real-time information and carefully managing their Twitter identity....

Transforming a Financial Institution: The Value of UX Professionals

ERIN O’LOUGHLIN, GINA LUCIA TAHA and MICHELE VISCIOLA Application of a user-centered approach rooted in ethnographic methodologies facilitates a major European bank’s transition to a business strategy based on understanding people’s needs, behaviors, values and motivations. Three UX case studies conducted over three years illustrate our educator, moderator, partner framework for collaborating with large enterprises in flux....

Digital Trust: An Analysis of Trust in the Adoption of Digital Support Services

EMILIE GLAZER, ANNA MIECZAKOWSKI, JAMES KING and BEN FEHNERT Adoption of digital support services is mediated by varying experiences of trust. This paper deconstructs the notion of trust in technology through a design-led research project on the long-term adoption of a telehealth service – a context at once complex and fragile. The investigated daily experience of patients and healthcare practitioners in the UK and Germany revealed negotiations of trust that blurred boundaries between domestic and medical, and between system smartness and individual responsibility. Implications extend to the role of technology in changing healthcare landscapes, what trust means in developing digital support services more generally, and how appreciating the fragility of trust can bring both risk and hope in uncertain and evolving worlds....

Little Data, Big Data and Design at LinkedIn

JULIE MARIE NORVAISAS and JONATHAN “YONI” KARPFENLinkedIn LinkedIn's User Experience Design (UED) Research team is relatively small. The data we gather is even more drastically outnumbered. LinkedIn’s design and product development process is steeped in behavioral data, real-time metrics, and predictive models. Working alongside teams generating and focused on big numbers, our group of qualitative researchers helps decision makers understand how our products fit into members’ lives, envision future experiences, and take a peek behind the numbers. We'll share how our team discovers and uses “little data” to inform and inspire, in the context of a company driven by “big data.”...

How Being rather than Doing Can Add Value

MARLISA KOPENSKI CONDONDesign Concepts, Inc. When the currency of business is “doing,” how do we embrace “being?” When tight deadlines and budget cuts drive us, how can we pursue something you can’t see or measure? How can we cultivate a culture of patience when we don’t get smoke breaks anymore? How Being Rather Than Doing Can Create Value in the Business World offers the bold proposal that business forget about filling all available time and space with action and allowing, even encouraging, time for employees to BE. Like artists who embrace white space in their work, people who take time to ruminate, to pause, will make fewer brush strokes. And those they do make they do make are that much more articulate and powerful. Learn how to be brave and find those small moments of white space in your business life....

Keynote Address

THOMAS FRANK 1. Let me tell you about a flash of creative insight that I had last year. It started with a problem I had. Books I read and people I knew had been warning me that the nation and maybe mankind itself had wandered into a sort of creativity doldrums. Economic growth was slackening. The Internet revolution was less awesome than we had anticipated, and the forward march of innovation, once a cultural constant, had slowed to a crawl. One of the few fields in which we generated lots of novelties—financial engineering—had come back to bite us. And in other departments, we actually seemed to be going backward. You could no longer take a supersonic airliner across the Atlantic, for example, and sending astronauts to the moon had become either fiscally insupportable or just passé. And yet I also knew that there had been, over these same years, fantastic growth in our creativity-promoting sector. There were TED talks on how to be a creative person. There were “Innovation Jams” at which IBM employees brainstormed...

Anticipatory Ethnography: Design Fiction as an Input to Design Ethnography

JOSEPH LINDLEYDHRUV SHARMA and ROBERT POTTS Here we consider design ethnography, and design fiction. We cast these two approaches, and the design endeavor itself, as forward-looking processes. Exploring the means by which design ethnography and design fiction derive their value reveals the potential for a mutually beneficial symbiosis. Our thesis argues that design ethnography can provide design fiction with the methods required to operationalize the practice in industry contexts. Meanwhile design fiction can provide design ethnographers a novel way of extending the temporal scope of the practice, thus deriving actionable insights that are applicable further into the future....

Iterating an Innovation Model: Challenges and Opportunities in Adapting Accelerator Practices in Evolving Ecosystems

JULIA KATHERINE HAINES Startup accelerators have expanded worldwide in recent years, fostering the development of technology startups and spreading Lean practices and Silicon Valley values to all corners of the globe. These accelerators clearly create value—for the teams whose development they foster, the products they create, and the larger ecosystems they build. But there are also a number of challenges arising from the model and how it is implemented in different contexts globally. Through fieldwork at accelerators in Singapore and Buenos Aires, I investigate the global expansion of this innovation model. In this paper, I discuss the most salient challenges and discuss potential opportunities emerging from these challenges, and how other methods and practices such as design thinking, intensive user research and flexible, bottom up-approaches can add value to the accelerator process. I also highlight mutually beneficial ways the EPIC community can become more involved in startups ecosystems....

Making Change: Can Ethnographic Research about Women Makers Change the Future of Computing?

SUSAN FAULKNER and ANNE MCCLARD Two ethnographers from different parts of the same technology company set out to explore the role of women and girls in the worldwide maker movement. We wanted to know who is currently participating in the maker phenomenon, how they became makers, what motivates them to continue making, what kinds of things they make, and what their hopes are for the future. Most importantly, we investigated why women are underrepresented in the realm of tech making with the explicit goal of being change agents and triggers of transformation both within our company and in the broader technology landscape....

Community Centered Design: Evolving the Mission of the Creative Industry

JACQUELINE WALLACE Focusing on the mid-20th century, this paper explores the relationship between design and economics. Then, through the postwar emergence of user-centered design, it explores the positive and negative outcomes that this dominant approach has had on larger social relations, specifically asking: How are the motivations influencing user-centered design processes inherited by its products and their users? Using case studies and insights from design theorists, historians and practitioners, the paper calls for a new approach to industry lead design research and practices that evolves the question “how does this work for me?” to include “how does this work for us?”  ...