Jennifer Collier Jennings

What were the suggested readings for Epistemology/Reductionism Salon at EPIC2014?

List of suggested readings from Neal Patel Fricke, Tom E. 2003 “Culture and Causality: An Anthropological Comment.” Population and Development Review, 29(3): 470-479. Madsbjerg, Christian and Mikkel B. Rasmussen 2014  “An Anthropologist Walks into a Bar . . .” Harvard Business Review, March. (Available at: http://faculty.elgin.edu/mhealy/HBRAnthropology.pdf) Shea, Jeanne L. 2003 “Setting the Anthropological Record Straight: Critique…

You Can’t Be Serious?! – LEGO® Serious Play® – Serious Solution Crafting for Kids aged 3 to 103.

by DORTE TOLLNER and CORI MOORE EPIC2014 Workshop: You Can’t Be Serious?! – LEGO® Serious Play® - Serious Solution Crafting for Kids aged 3 to 103. Well the excitement of last week has taken its toll – or perhaps that’s just the jet lag. Now back in Berlin, I’m reminiscing our epic week, uploading pictures and re-reading scribbled notes – it’ll no doubt take me a lot longer to absorb it all. I’d like to thank all of those who made it to my LEGO® Serious Play® Workshop on Sunday. I had the pleasure of welcoming ethnographers, anthropologists, designers and researchers from India to Adelaide to exchange ideas in the form of those little colorful bricks we all loved so much as kids. For those of you who haven’t heard of it before, LEGO® Serious Play® (LSP) is one of our favorite hands-on methodologies, designed to stimulate and empower participants to use haptic thinking for inspirational problem solving. Developed as an in-house strategy tool in the nineties, LSP builds upon an inclusive and participatory...

Studying In and Studying Out

by ELIZABETH BROIDY and KEN ERICKSON An EPIC 2014 Workshop: Studying In and Studying Out: Linking Organizational and Consumer Ethnography The big idea here is this. Most anthropologists are working either in the organizational space or in the consumer space and no one is looking at the interface between these two cultural domains. Sharing what we have learned after years of practice in organizations and for consumer product and services companies, Erickson and Briody engaged workshop participants in sharing tips for bringing an understanding of organizations into so-called consumer research, and vice-versa. We told some stories, some tales of the field that pointed to difficulties within organizations that inhibited their ability to respond to consumer needs or to bridge the internal silos that limit the effectiveness of organizations in doing their work. The fun part was finding how much the participants shared. We found a range of tips and tricks for learning about the organization--internal clients if you work “inside”...

You too can collect big data!

by KATHY BAXTER, Google EPIC2014 Workshop by Anna Avrekh, Kathy Baxter, & Bob Evans At the EPIC 2013 Keynote, Tricia Wang observed that, if you are not working with “Big Data,” the implication is that your data are “small.” Although the number of data points or participants may not be in the millions or ever thousands, the data we gather is actually far richer. As our community knows, web analytics or logs can tell us WHAT people are doing but never WHY. We may attempt to infer it based on what we see but unless we ask our users why they are doing something that we have recorded (with or without their knowledge), we can never know for sure. Later in the conference, I hosted a Salon on “Big Data” with discussants Jens Riegelsberger (Google) and Todd Cherkasky (SapientNitro). The interest in the salon far exceeded the space available. One key theme that emerged was a desire to learn how to incorporate “Big Data” into their work. Few of the participants had the means to pull logs and do deep statistical analysis...

Ethnography, Storytelling, and the Cartography of Knowledge in a Global Organization: How a Minor Change in Research Design Influenced the Way Our Team Sees, and is Seen by Our Organization.

JAY DAUTCHER and MIKE GRIFFIN Our team unites qualitative researchers, designers, and prototyping engineers to investigate workplace technologies using a four-step process: ethnography, analysis, intervention, measurement. Projects develop in relation to the needs of internal corporate units identified as project stakeholders. An experiment with a more ethnography-centered research approach, conducted without a specific internal sponsor, led us to develop findings we believed could benefit many groups in our organization—designers, product teams, salespeople, corporate strategists—but presented us with some unfamiliar challenges. First, we needed new storytelling and social media tools to disseminate our message. Second, we needed a way to find out who, in our organization of 75,000 globally distributed employees, might value our findings. In response, we initiated an internal project investigating and mapping out social networks of knowledge exchange and strategic influence in our company. We foresee using this strategy map to...

The Local Ingenuity: Maximizing Livelihood through Improvising Current Communication Access Technology

ANDREW WONG This paper presents what it means for the low income, non user segment to have ‘technological voices’ and in turn ‘be heard’ socially and economically. It argues that the ICT liberates low income people to explore ways in which technology might help to support their livelihood. We draw on recent ethnographic research conducted in Bangladesh on the low income, non user segment. Some of the questions this paper seeks to answer are as follows: What constraints do people have when using communication access technology? How do they modify communication access technology to better suit their lifestyle and livelihood? As the provider of service, how can we be constantly aware of the need to modify features and make the necessary modifications?...

Changing Diabetes Care for Good

How everyone stands to benefit from a better understanding and use of patients’ perspectives and experiences of life with type 2 diabetes when designing and implementing treatment interventions. MIKKEL BROK-KRISTENSEN The current approach to diabetes management is flawed. Providers’ use of the concepts of self-management and compliance disguises a system in which the perceptions and everyday life of the individual patient is discredited and disregarded. The result is the loss of both patients’ life quality and the wasting of billions of reimbursers’ dollars. This paper proposes a new direction in which providers move to change practice and acknowledge the equal importance of patients’ non-biomedical perception of diabetes in regards to cause, etiology and treatment initiatives. The paper argues that this change can potentially lead to a great improvement in the life expectancy and life quality of people with diabetes. It presents the outline of a practical model intended to assist providers in taking the first steps towards...

From Field to Office: The Politics of Corporate Ethnography

SUZANNE L. THOMAS and XUEMING LANG Critical corporate ethnography does not stop at the field or our reports but extends into our day-to-day work in the office. Using the example of internal research conducted for next generation internet Café (iCafe) product development in the PRC, we will argue that corporate ethnographers must go beyond self-reflexive fieldwork to tackle the organizational and cultural politics of our domain expertise. In this latter context, we become conflated with “the field” and, indeed, our corporate value is equated with the veracity of our field representations. The situation becomes eminently more complex in MNCs where in-depth ethnographic research is analyzed and acted on in multi-national teams and where internal cultural differences and professional disagreements parade as divergent corporate interests....

Abstract 2.0: If We Are All Shouting, Is there Anyone Left to Listen?

DAWN NAFUS, ROGERIO DE PAULA and KEN ANDERSON This paper explores notions of ‘voice’ as it relates to Web 2.0. We begin by tracing the social meanings of Web 2.0 technologies Brazil. There the notions of ‘voice’ as conceived of in the American media are absent, yet significant collective action took place online through a kind of speaking out. Next the paper describes the conflation of voice with a notion of social networks to explain how the American media misread the Brazilian action. This is achieved by an incredible plasticity and abstraction of the ‘Web 2.0’ construct, which flattens otherwise qualitatively meaningful distinctions. This puts us on some ground to raise the issue of how abstractions might become relationships. This, we argue, is evidenced both in terms of how Brazilians might interpret online relationships, and how Web 2.0 hype betrays a politics of abstraction at work in the wider economy....