Intelligences

Doing Design Research in a Cognitive World

panelists
EPIC2017 Platinum Panel Moderated by: CHRIS HAMMOND (IBM) Panelists: MARK BURRELL (IBM), MELISSA CEFKIN (Nissan Research Center), CHRISTIAN MADSBJERG (ReD Associates) & DAWN NAFUS (Intel) Overview Increasingly, experiences are being created that incorporate augmented intelligence, promising to make us smarter, more efficient, and more effective. Doctors can recommend more comprehensive personalized treatment plans, teachers can provide lesson plans tailored to individual students, and farmers can vary crop irrigation and fertilization cycles in response to predicted weather patterns. Human capabilities (some might say intelligence) are being augmented, aided by machine learning algorithms that interpret and find meaning in vast quantities of both structured and unstructured data. This panel addresses challenges of doing design research in a cognitive world where predictive analytics, conversational interfaces, and augmented intelligence are core aspects of the technology solutions being designed. What skills...

Ethnography in Agile Contexts: Offering Speed or Spark?

EPIC2017 Platinum Panel Moderated by: MARTHA COTTON (Fjord) Panelists: JULIA KATHERINE HAINES (Google), BRIAN KING (HEC Montréal), MARIE-AGNES PARMENTIER (HEC Montréal), CARRIE YURY (Beyond Curious) & MICHAEL WINNICK (dscout) Overview This panel explores perspectives that emerge from the intersection of ethnography and agile methodologies—from real constraints to exciting possibilities. We seek to better understand what “agile” is and where it comes from and then explore tools and approaches that allow us to be relevant in agile contexts. Is being “agile” just about efficiency and speeding up our processes? Or is it about ongoing efforts that offer the right spark at the right time? Or maybe something in between? In this panel we explore this timely topic that currently—or soon will—affect most members of the EPIC community....

Indian Classical Dance: The Foundational Element in My Practice of Ethnography

VYJAYANTHI VADREVU Rasa.nyc PechaKucha Presentation Do we really understand how we became practitioners of ethnography? In this talk, I go through a re-discovery of the links between my lifelong training in Indian classical dance and the elements this has instilled in my current practice of ethnography. In dance, we are trained to keenly observe every physical and emotional nuance of an item. Furthermore, we are taught symbolism and theory to deepen our interpretation of dance. This dance foundation has shaped my connection to every aspect of ethnography: from practice to analysis to presentation. Vyjayanthi Vadrevu is the founding ethnographer/strategist of Rasa.nyc. She leads research on projects ranging from social impact design to corporate technology innovation. Vyjayanthi is a trained Bharatantyam and Odissi dancer and uses movement and choreography to connect to the deepest parts of the human experience. vyjayanthi@rasa.nyc 2017 EPIC Proceedings, ISSN 1559-8918, epicpeople.org/intelligences  ...

Emotional Landscapes: Observing and Capturing the Emotionality of Experience

BRIDGET MONAHAN Vellichor Design PechaKucha Presentation This Pecha Kucha details how the imperative to employ visual thinking in doing ethnographic research work led to a fascination with capturing, through photography, the unguarded, natural emotions people express in their daily lives. It explores the differences in meaning behind these displays and the forcefulness of expressions captured in everyday lived situations. We, as researchers, pay attention to and interpret the words people say but often leave these emotional traces and visceral reactions undisturbed. An ongoing study of and immersion in these visible emotions formed a body of work around “emotional” landscape photography. Bridget Monahan, is a researcher and photographer. She has worked as a design researcher for a number of product design and innovation agencies, including MAYA Design, Razorfish, and Sapient. In 2017, she started Vellichor Design to concentrate more fully on her art and writing and to work as an independent consultant in the areas...

A Dirty Perspective On A World Too Clean

LINE GROES Is It a Bird EMILIE STUHR ANDERSEN Is It a Bird PechaKucha Presentation We live in a world where we tend to categorize, quantify and measure a wide array of everyday aspects - from kWh consumption in our homes to Facebook-likes. We argue that this urge to categorize and standardize is problematic as we run the risk of oversimplifying reality. Based on an ethnographic field study of what a ‘clean journey’ means to train passengers we illustrate the gap between the Danish Railroad Company's cleaning standards and passenger experiences. By contrasting these standards with passenger experiences and attitudes we answer the question: What is left out, when service providers decide to categorize and measure lived reality? We suggest that rather than ‘cleaning up’ the complexities of human nature and perception, we must recognize and embrace them and find ways to integrate them into our categories and standards. Line Groes is the CEO and founder of IS IT A BIRD – A strategic innovation agency based in Denmark....

Should User Research Be Funny?

MEGHAN MCGRATH IBM PechaKucha Presentation The jokes people tell about their work can be a rich source of insight for user researchers. Known as “workplace humor” or “occupational humor,” these jokes refer to experiences where the user's pain or delight is instantly recognizable because it is so pervasive. This PechaKucha will discuss examples and practices your team can use to identify, synthesize, and leverage the occupational humor that resonates with specific classes of users, in order to build a more nuanced understanding of those users. Meghan McGrath is the Design Lead for IBM Z's Security group in New York. 2017 EPIC Proceedings, ISSN 1559-8918, epicpeople.org/intelligences)...

What is the Value of a Perspective?

TAYLOR FERRARI General Assembly PechaKucha Presentation How do you place a value on a perspective? Well, that depends on what you're seeking to accomplish. During this Pecha Kucha I journey of our current paradigm of Value to explore the role of the ethnographer in mediating business interests and human + planetary wellness. Outside of the metropolitan areas where can't afford to use an app to have someone come do their laundry, there lies an entire universe of perspectives that often go ignored, undervalued. What are the worldly consequences of excluding these perspectives when conducting business ethnography? Taylor Ferrari, is an applied anthropologist and systems thinker who has conducted UX Research for companies ranging from early stage startups, to Fortune 500. Deeply interested in the relationship between Structure and Agency, Taylor seeks to illuminate the ways in which organizations or entities impact humanity, and likewise how humanity feeds the existence of organizations. taymferrari@gmail.com 2017...

Time for a Digital Detox: Burnout, Addiction, and Desperation in Silicon Valley

SHAHEEN AMIREBRAHIMI University of California, Davis PechaKucha Presentation There is a crisis brewing in the innovation capital of the world. From protests at Google bus stops, to rallies at San Francisco City Hall over Airbnb gentrification, to a stark increase in homelessness, there is a growing rift between the have and have not's in Silicon Valley. Meanwhile the average tech employee, told they are “making the world a better place,” is faced with escalating labor demands, hyper-connectivity, and a shift from “work-life balance” to “work is life.” The tech worker is in a contentious position – torn between corporate propaganda and the visible externalities of a for-profit business. To understand how this tension plays out for the average techie, I illustrate a “disconnect camp” where the everyday rules of SF techie sociality are inverted – no technology, no names, no discussion of work, no networking. This carnavlesque pacifies postmodern contradictions about “valueless work” by placing...

The Challenged Role of Ethnographic Consulting in Startup Centric Innovation

HEINRICH SCHWARZ Schwarz Innovation PechaKucha Presentation From a position of external consultant on user insights for a German innovation lab, I reflect on a shift in the way corporate innovation is done – from a user centric innovation process towards what could be called startup centric innovation. I have found the outcomes of this turn to be ambivalent – both for the innovation lab and myself. For the lab partnering with existing startups promised greater speed and access to fresh ideas, but has turned out to be rather difficult. For me, the shift has challenged my role and perspective as ethnographic consultant in more than one way. I have worried that a much needed user perspective may drift out of focus when getting prematurely outsourced to startups. But this new process has also been eye-opening; it has forced me to rethink my still linear view of the innovation process towards a more messy and simultaneous one where thinking about users needs to be integrated from day one with thinking about solutions,...

Can Cheaters Prosper In Cambodia?

LAUREN MARKOFSKY Ultimate Software PechaKucha Presentation This PechaKucha explores the ways in which the author navigated cheating culture, community norms, and her own biases to think through sustainable education solutions in Cambodia. Students in Cambodia's countryside are structurally disadvantaged and attempt to redress wealth and knowledge imbalances through cheating. However, cheating causes skills gaps that hinder students as they look for jobs, particularly since they are competing with applicants from other ASEAN countries. The presenter discusses how she, and her Cambodian co-teacher, sifted through their competing biases about the merits and pitfalls of cheating in their classroom, settling on ethnographic practice as a way forward. They observed student cheating behaviors, noting the tools, networks, and systems of exchange through which information passed. Instead of penalizing students for cheating, the presenter and her counterpart attempted to transform these deceptive methods into something more productive. Lauren...

Ghostly Spectres: On Ethnography and Identity

ES BRAZIEL Greenberg Strategy PechaKucha Presentation Taking Avery F. Gordon's definition of a ghost as a social figure making the unknown apparent as a departure point, the piece dives into the “ghosts” silently present in an ethnography on how parents view gender in media. Through utilizing the image of an ethnographer as a “ghost hunter,” I track what traces of the social spectral remain invisible to everyday life. Occupying the subject position of “ghost hunter” and “ghost” – the subject of research, and subject being denied research – I assert why business ethnography cannot afford to remain objective when personal and political struggles are on the line. Es Braziel is a researcher and designer working at the intersection of emerging technologies and markets. They currently explore questions around how notions of connectivity, belonging, identity formation, and community are changing in the digital age as a Strategist for Greenberg Strategy and Co-founder of Other Futures Design. hello@esbraziel.co 2017...

Instax as Objects of Record

DAVID PETER SIMON Atlasssian PechaKucha Presentation—Instant camera images can act as a physical-digital assistant and craft richer ethnographic records. The author particularly underlines the importance of photography for design field research, drawing upon his fieldwork work in Uganda. Starting by briefly contextualizing the history of photography in research practice he introduces the concept of Spradley's“objects of record” (1979). How can we optimize the use of instant photography with participants, and make operable projects in corporate contexts. David Peter Simon is a senior design researcher at Atlassian, a software company. Before Atlassian, David was a design fellow at Medic Mobile, producer for World IA Day, experience designer with ThoughtWorks, and blogger on Indie Shuffle. David studied digital ethnography and information visualization at the University of Oxford (MSc). 2017 EPIC Proceedings, ISSN 1559-8918, epicpeople.org/intelligences...

Using Your Feet: Subverting the Structure of Meetings to Help Teams Go Further Faster

TOM ROWLEY Stripe Partners PechaKucha Presentation—Meetings are a central part of how we work as commercial ethnographers. We meet with our clients to plan our projects and share our findings. We meet with our informants to explore and understand their worlds. However the cultures and practices that inform meeting behaviour can be antithetical to our goals as researchers through their reinforcement of pre-set patterns of thinking and being. In this presentation I explore how we can challenge the affordances imposed by meeting culture. I draw on my experiences founding a global volunteer network and reframing meeting contexts for corporate clients to challenge conventions and identify fresh opportunities for ethnographic praxis. Tom Rowley is a partner at Stripe Partners, a global strategy and innovation consultancy based in London. He co-founded www.goodfornothing.com a global volunteer network that brings together designers, developers, strategists and researchers to volunteer their skills for positive social causes. 2017...

Shopping as a Modern Quest

ALEXANDRA MACK Pitney Bowes PechaKucha Presentation As Ethnographic Practitioners in Industry, shopping behavior is a frequent topic of our research. We take on the role of the consumer's advocate, arguing for products that bring value. Or decry the rise of consumerism as the focus of modern life, as exemplified by the drive to acquisition. Recent research on shopping has led me to thinking about quests from a different perspective. While we think of the pursuit of goods in terms of commercialism, in many cases there is an important journey along the way. Perhaps, in some instances, shopping is a quest—a journey toward a goal, in which often the journey itself is as important as the goal, and at others, the true goal is not the object. In traditional anthropological studies, quests that are in pursuit of a “thing” are usually about the basics of survival, and more focus has been put onto those that are spiritual pursuits, leading to a discovery of self and a path into the community. This PechaKucha describes...

The Big “I Don’t Wanna”

ENRICO CULLEN Related Parts PechaKucha Presentation—Medical and social science research provide compelling data to address social issues, societal dynamics, and social determinants of health. But powerful data do not always persuade. Sometimes we know what we believe more than we believe what we know, especially at the”big” institutional level. This is part of the reason qualitative ethnographic research is vital and perhaps why the story is sometimes more important than the data. Enrico Cullen is a strategist and consummate doer who has taken on challenging projects and guided them over obstacles, around problems, and through uncharted territory for two decades. He currently leads efforts for community-based healthcare reform with a.i.r. nyc, an evidence-based and technology forward social enterprise in New York City. www.ricoenrico.com + enrico@relatedparts.com. 2017 EPIC Proceedings, ISSN 1559-8918, epicpeople.org/intelligences...