EPIC People

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…

EPIC2022 Call for Participation!

Resilience: EPIC2022 Amsterdam

Present at the premier global conference on ethnography in business & organizations—submission deadline March 31. Now in its 18th year, EPIC is a treasured annual gathering of practitioners who use ethnography to drive innovation and change. Our conference is an interactive, inclusive event that combines practical learning, global expertise, meaningful networking, and the inspiration and…

EPIC2021 Video & Proceedings Now Available on Demand!

EPIC2021 Video & Proceedings

Above: EPIC2021 welcome & opening from San Jose, California EPIC2021 Anticipation was the 17th edition of the premier global conference on ethnography in business and organizations. Now you can watch all conference presentations on demand, and read the full-length papers and case studies: EPIC2021 Papers and Case Studies are FREE to read, download, and share…

How New is the New? Reflecting on How to Design for Tomorrow through the Case of Autonomous Vehicles

How New is the New?
An EPIC2021 Sponsored Panel by Waymo Moderator: MELISSA CEFKIN (Waymo) Panelists: BENEDIKT FISCHER (Waymo), LAURA FORLANO (IIT Institute of Design), JACK STILGOE (University College London) How do we anticipate the futures of the things we are bringing into the world, and the experiences they will help shape? The autonomous vehicle is posited as a net-new innovation. Never before have vehicles without human drivers at the helm roamed the same streets that we traverse daily while on a jog or in a bleary-eyed morning search for a cuppa-joe. Someday soon(ish) you may hail a fully autonomous ride for a trip to the office or for the once-in-a-lifetime race to the hospital for the birth of a first born. What a fantastically new product and world this will be! Or will it? How much are innovators tweaking and updating the existing, instead of inventing the new? Join us for a conversation between members of the Waymo Insights team and invited panelists to explore “how new is the new?” Following decades of imagination, development,...

Eyes on Tomorrow: How Pathfinders Help Facebook See beyond the Horizon to Build Responsible Products

Eyes on Tomorrow
An EPIC2021 Sponsored Panel by Facebook Moderator: JAY HASBROUCK, Facebook Panelists: SANYA ATTARI, Facebook Reality Labs; GENEVIEVE CONLEY GAMBILL, Facebook; JAMIE KIMMEL, Instagram Pathfinders, foresight strategists, and responsible innovation researchers help Facebook understand how cultures and communities evolve so our teams can create products that meet future needs. They think beyond the current moment to provide insight that minimizes potential risk to people, societies, and environments and help build toward promising opportunities. Although these researchers come from different backgrounds, they all share characteristics that are quite familiar to ethnographers: a propensity to think holistically, an appreciation of evolutionary patterns, and the ability to situate insights within large, complex systems across time horizons. Attendees will learn how pathfinders, foresight strategists, and responsible innovation researchers apply these qualities to their work at Facebook, as well as how attendees might apply...

Feedback Fatigue: Re-designing the Research Process for Sustainable Insights

Feedback Fatigue
An EPIC2021 Sponsored Panel by Atlassian Moderator: LEISA REICHELT (Atlassian) Panelists: CAITLIN MCCURRIE (Atlassian), CARA MARITZ (Atlassian), JAKE MOODY (Atlassian) & ADAM WRIDE With nearly 6,000 Atlassians, achieving customer-centricity that’s meaningful, sustainable, and respectful of people’s attention can be a challenge. Standard approaches and tools can overwhelm populations and lead to “Feedback Fatigue,” particularly in small populations of users. To solve this, we’ve made opportunistic use of the tools and mechanisms for engagement that we have immediately around us: we use Confluence for diary studies, Jira Service Management as an intercept, and we triangulate with feedback captured by our customer-facing collaborators. In this panel, moderated by Head of Research & Service Experience, Leisa Reichelt, Atlassian researchers and a member of our customer community will discuss how iterating our methods and ways of working helped our product teams achieve customer-centricity without our customers...

Tutorial: Leading with Care—How to Support the Mental Well-being of Your Team

Leading with Care: How to Support the Mental Well-being of Your Team
SHANNON LUCAS & TRACEY LOVEJOY, Co-CEOs, Catalyst Constellations Leaders and managers develop care strategies and plans of action for supporting their teams, their people, and themselves. Overview This tutorial was conducted at EPIC2021. Exercises and discussions have been omitted to protect the privacy of participants. Research shows that people who work passionately to drive change, like EPIC members, experience regular cycles of burnout. But two pandemics—COVID itself plus a widespread decline in mental well-being—is causing organizations to rethinking their role in supporting the health of their employees. As leaders and ethnographers, we have an opportunity to create and implement new models of leadership with care. In this tutorial, Shannon Lucas and Tracey Lovejoy, authors of Move Fast. Break Shit. Burn Out: The Catalysts Guide to Working Well, bring a wealth of research and experience on leadership and well-being to bear on this emergent reality. They will share research about burnout, new data on global...

Tutorial: Ethnographic Video—Storytelling for Impact

Ethnographic Video: Storytelling for Impact
Instructors: CHARLEY SCULL (UX Researcher, Facebook), NICK AGAFONOFF (Director, Real Ethnography) & PRABHAS POKHAREL (CEO, Reduct) An end-to-end approach to scoping, planing, shooting, editing and sharing video ethnography projects. Overview This tutorial was conducted at EPIC2021. Exercises and discussions have been omitted to protect the privacy of participants. We’ve all seen the power of a well-crafted ethnographic video to capture the attention, and imagination of the room, whether that room is a design studio, a classroom or a boardroom. At its best, it can generate empathy, reveal insights that would be impossible to describe, and build conviction and consensus, in ways that can lead to alignment on what action to take next. In this EPIC 2021 tutorial we will show you just how accessible this powerful form of expression can be to produce. Join experienced video ethnographers and editors, Nick, Charley, and Prabhas, to explore the craft of ethnographic storytelling for impact, through video. You will leave...

The Future of Business in a Post-COVID Landscape

The future of business in a post-COVID world
Moderator: MARC LAFLEUR, ZS Associates Panelists: JACQUES BARCIA, Institute for the Future; JORGE CAMACHO, Institute for the Future / Diagonal; JENNIFER LEE FUQUA, Ogilvy; DEVON POWERS, Temple University Events of the 18 months have upended questions of the future and, for business, cast a new light on how it might better contemplate and plan for uncertainties. COVID has also opened up a new sense of potential when it comes to re-inventing or designing better or new futures for ourselves, providing a sense of agency and fluidity that had, until recently, seemed less tangible. This panel will engage in this dialogue with the future, particularly as it relates to the future of business and the ways in which business could contemplate, confront and shape the future. Panelists Marc LaFleur believes that at the heart of every business challenge lies a question of human experience. While he has practiced in many industries, Marc has spent much of his career working in the fields of health and life sciences. There, Marc...

Redesigning the Social Safety Net

Redesigning the Social Safety Net
Moderator: NADINE LEVIN, City of San Francisco Panelists: MORGAN G. AMES, University of California, Berkeley; , Monumental; MITHULA NAIK, Canadian Digital Service The past two years have laid bare that we inhabit a world with enormous and increasing inequality. We've also seen a decreasing level of faith in public programs and institutions to provide quality health care and education or even fair access elections. And the very systems designed for the betterment of all are often siloed and ineffective. This session comes at a time when policy and regulations affecting social safety net benefits are more in flux than usual in many countries. Using the tools of data, design, activism, technology, and innovation, these panelists have led an ethnography-forward approach to reimagining these systems and move toward safety nets that work for all. Panelists Nadine Levin, PhD, is an anthropologist, Rhodes Scholar, and UX researcher who focuses on improving equitable access to technology. After several years of academic research...