EPIC People

An Interview with Tiffany Tivasuradej

Tiffany Tivasuradej is a Senior Manager at CBRE and co-chair of the EPIC2022 PechaKucha Committee. Tell us about yourself in one sentence. Anthropologist that’s exploring the future of work for her work and baking a lot when she’s not at work. Why did you say ‘yes’ to being on an EPIC committee? EPIC is such a great organisation and the annual conference is always fantastic - who could possibly not say yes to being on the EPIC committee? When you think about the best proposals you read, what really made them stand out? Relevancy to EPIC’s conference theme, a personal touch, and a compelling and actionable narrative that makes me think, “wow!” Is there a particular talk you’re looking forward to? I definitely look forward to the PechaKuchas as I’m helping to coordinate them! Keynote speakers are also always of interest to me too. Is this your first EPIC? What are you looking forward to at EPIC2022? I first joined EPIC in 2020 as a PechaKucha speaker (albeit online). In 2021 I was invited to act as one of the...

EPIC Member Meetup

Graphic for EPIC Virtual Meetup with Headshots of EPIC Board and Staff

Join our first virtual member meet-up! Thursday, 1 September, 8–9:00am US Pacific Time If the schedule is terrible for your time zone, don’t worry—the next member meetup will be convenient for the Asia Pacific region! We’re excited to hold our very first virtual member meet-up! Hosted by Jennifer Collier Jennings (Executive Director) and Simon Roberts…

An Interview with Robin Kwong

Robin Kwong is New Formats Editor at the Wall Street Journal in New York and a member of the EPIC2022 Case Studies Committee. Tell us a bit about yourself. I'm neither an ethnographer nor a researcher, but found my way to the EPIC community through a curiosity about organisational culture and how to help people work better together. These days, I help news organisations adapt to a changing digital landscape, and, in my spare time, I explore the intersection of art and journalism. Why did you say ‘yes’ to being on an EPIC committee? The EPIC community was so welcoming when I attended my first conference, and I learnt so much from the sessions over the years, that I want to give back and help make the conference as good as possible. When you think about the best proposals you read, what really made them stand out? I reviewed the case studies this year, and the best proposals all did a great job at changing the frame of reference. Case studies are invariably about a particular project or piece of research, but the best proposals...

An Interview with Kristen Guth

Kristen L. Guth is Principal of Product Research at Reddit. She is presenting a case study at EPIC2022 titled "Creating Resiliency of Research Findings: Using Ethnographic Methods to Combat Research Amnesia". Tell us about yourself in one sentence. I am a social scientist research leader focused on change at the intersections of strategy, technology, innovation, and the digital space. Describe your presentation in less than 10 words. A technique to fight research amnesia in organizational memory. Without giving too much away, what is the most interesting finding from your talk? Frame-shifting research into actionable recommendations across multiple sources undergirds validity and enables people to find new resonance in existing work. How do you prepare to speak in public? What’s your process? I run through the slides against a time box and modify to simplify the words and focus on the story. What was your process for writing the proposal? I considered the EPIC program theme and topics of interest in conjunction with organizational...

An Interview with Romit Raj

Romit Raj is Principal at Quicksand Design Studio in India. He is presenting a paper at EPIC2022 titled "Amplifying Resilient Communities: Identifying Resilient Community Practices to Better Inform Health System Design". Tell us about yourself in one sentence. I am a design researcher and technologist. Describe your presentation in less than 10 words. Identifying resilient community practices to better inform health system design. Without giving too much away, what is the most interesting finding from your talk? That people's perception of their own health is more expansive than the view of health public health systems subscribe to. How do you prepare to speak in public? What’s your process? I will rehearse the presentation a couple of times but never on the day of the presentation. On that day, I will just try and relax. What was your process for writing the proposal? It was a collaborative process. We already had so many amazing things that we learned from an enriching design research process that has been going on for over...

An Interview with Payal Arora

Payal Arora is a Professor at Erasmus University Rotterdam, Co-founder of FemLab, and author of award-winning books, including ‘The Next Billion Users’ with Harvard Press. She is a Keynote Speaker at EPIC2022.  Describe your keynote in less than 10 words. I will debunk common myths about users in the Global South and share insights on the future digital creatives. Without giving too much away, can you give us a bit of provocation or inspiration to anticipate your talk? In the last few years, many tech companies have set up 'next billion user' labs within their organizations with a focus on the vast young users coming online for the first time in the Global South. What these new users have in common are that they are from low-income, precarious, and often restrictive socio-political environments. These labs though are not altruistic initiatives but potential business opportunities for future market growth. According to the 2021 We Are Social and Hootsuite Digital Report, "the ‘next big trend’ in digital won’t emerge from...

An Interview with Kurt Ward

Kurt Ward is Senior Design Director at Philips Healthcare. He is a Keynote Speaker at EPIC2022. Describe your keynote in less than 10 words. Mankind's irrational rationality and its impact on health and the environment. Without giving too much away, can you give us a bit of provocation or inspiration to anticipate your talk? What if we designed buildings that mimicked organic structures? Why does sterilizing our environments create more disease? What if health care became life care? Why did you say ‘yes’ to delivering a keynote to the EPIC community? We cannot continue to apply our current and past thinking to solve our modern problems. We must probe and explore new futures with relevant ethnographies in order to create a resilient ecosystem. The theme of the conference is ‘resilience’. What does this concept mean to you…and what does it NOT mean? The ability to expand and contract according to context and need over time. It must address the entire ecosystem over decades and it cannot only be applied to one intervention...

An Interview with Kelsie Nabben

Kelsie Nabben is a Researcher at RMIT University in Australia. She is presenting a paper at EPIC2022 titled "Ethnography as a Feedback Loop: Designing Complex, Automated Systems". Tell us about yourself in one sentence. I research the social outcomes of emerging technologies, especially decentralised infrastructures (eg. Blockchain). Describe your presentation in less than 10 words. The ethnography of a new form of participatory organising using software. Without giving too much away, what is the most interesting finding from your talk? Blockchain communities experimenting with “Decentralized Autonomous Organizations” are a rich field for ethnographic insights into the social dimensions of governance via technology. How do you prepare to speak in public? What’s your process? Don’t overly rely on notes, to ensure my brain is actively thinking about what I’m communicating, rather than passively trying to remember things. What was your process for writing the proposal? The proposal emerged organically as a creative expression...

An Interview with Traci Thomas

Traci Thomas is Principal Strategic Designer at Boston Consulting Group. She is presenting a PechaKucha at EPIC2022 called "Resilience: Lessons from a Period of Disruption." Tell us about yourself in one sentence. I’m a human-centered designer of unbridled curiosity, an empathetic adventurer, ambivert, social justice advocate, and strategic innovator. Describe your presentation in less than 10 words. A personal and introspective reflection of my experience with resilience Why did you choose the PechaKucha format for your presentation? I had never done a PechaKucha before, but I enjoy watching this style of presentation. It forces you to be very succinct and crisp in your storytelling. I also wanted to challenge myself to do something different other than a project case study and decided to submit something more personal and authentically me. How do you prepare to speak in public? What’s your process? Practice by myself and with others to get feedback. What was your process for writing the proposal? For this PechaKucha, it...

An Interview with Lisa Kleinman

Lisa Kleinman is Head of Design at Make.com in Germany and Co-chair of the EPIC2022 Case Studies Committee. Tell us about yourself in one sentence. I'm always seeking to be out of my comfort zone. Why did you say ‘yes’ to being on an EPIC committee? Interacting with the other committee members exposes me to new ways to talk about research and the craft that I wouldn't be able to learn just by reading an article. And, of course, being directly part of shepherding the EPIC submissions levels up my own critical thinking skills; plus, there's a lasting bond that's created with the authors that goes beyond the conference. When you think about the best proposals you read, what really made them stand out? A great EPIC submission will be re-purposed and become a part of how others instantiate their practice. For me, it's a combination of two main factors, and mainly this applies to case studies: specific & clear details about the method (especially as it relates to engaging stakeholders) and showcasing the insights in a framework...

An Interview with Laura Reiss

Laura Novaes Medeiros Reiss is an anthropologist and consultant in São Paulo Brazil, and a member of the EPIC2022 PechaKucha Committee. Tell us about yourself in one sentence. I'm an anthropologist passionate about people and how much we can learn from their everyday lives. Why did you say ‘yes’ to being on an EPIC committee? So that I could get even more involved and engage in a community that I believe in and find incredibly interesting. When you think about the best proposals you read, what really made them stand out? The topic the proposals decided to talk about - sometimes the simplest ones are the most interesting, and the path they chose to do it. Is this your first EPIC? I have been to São Paulo (2015), Montreal (2017), and the online conferences (2020, 2021). What would you like to say to people who are considering coming to EPIC for the first time? I think EPIC manages to navigate the academic and corporate worlds incredibly well, which is evident in the annual conferences. Coming to the conference means seeing...

An Interview with Rachel Wang

Rachel Wang is Head of Research & Founder at LTH Consulting in Shanghai and a member of the EPIC2022 Case Studies Committee. Tell us about yourself in one sentence. A curious mind experiencing the earth life in the human body. Why did you say ‘yes’ to being on an EPIC committee? The compassion for the living souls on earth, the expertise in gaining insights, and the intention to contribute to the greater good. When you think about the best proposals you read, what really made them stand out? How solid it is in design, how carefully it is executed, and how inspiring it is to our fellows. Is there a particular talk you’re looking forward to? I have gone through many great cases and am looking forward to hearing more from the speakers at the conference. What would you like to say to people who are considering coming to EPIC for the first time? Open your mind, join as many sessions as possible, and talk to people :) If you could recommend a book/article/podcast to our community, what would you recommend and why? Oprah's...

Register for EPIC2022!

Resilience: Amsterdam 2022

Registration is open for EPIC2022! Join us in the heart of Amsterdam’s historic canal district or from anywhere in the world to explore our theme of RESILIENCE. PROGRAM OVERVIEW REGISTRATION EPIC2022 is the premier international conference on ethnography in business. We promote the practice of ethnography to create value in industry, organizations, and communities. EPIC…

EPIC Announces New Executive Director

It’s easy to forget that for many years EPIC was ‘merely’ an amazing annual conference. With the arrival of Jennifer Collier Jennings in 2014, and Rita Denny in 2019, EPIC has made the transition to a flourishing membership organization – a community with a year-round presence. In the collaborative space between these two individuals lies…

Announcing EPIC Summits!

What’s Next versus What’s Valuable: Ethnography in a Future-Focused World

We’re excited to announce our first EPIC Summit on May 19, 2022!  Our first Summit, “What’s Next versus What’s Valuable: Ethnography in a Future-Focused World”, is designed and hosted by Louise Vang Jensen (Partner & Director of Research) and Lea Møller Svendsen (Consultant) at Is It a Bird. What are EPIC Summits? It’s a new…