Intelligences

Post–Human-Centered Design: Evolving to a Societal Scale

Instructor: JOHN PAYNE Description This video presents the lecture portion of a half-day tutorial that included a series of participatory exercises. Over the past few decades, human-centered design has been at the center of a design renaissance, providing a transparent framework that exposes our rationale and demystifies our process. But a focus on the "user," their "problems," and "needs" is not sufficient to understand how products operate at a societal scale. In the increasingly complex, interdependent technological environment we are called to design for, we need to imagine the implications of the products and services we design, as we work. This tutorial reviews a variety of perspectives on this topic, provides a framework for understanding multiple levels of product impact, and covers some initial methods we can employ to work with empathy—not just for the "user," but for every participant in the system we seek to change. Topics include: An overview of Maeda’s three categories of design and their shortfalls Classical...

Tutorial: Doing Ethnography of Data Science & Algorithmic Systems

Instructor: IAN LOWRIE Description Approx 1 hr 43 min. This video presents the lecture portion of a half-day tutorial. Case studies and a bibliography are provided for your use. Instructor Ian Lowrie describes the organizational and technological aspects of modern data pipelines, framing data science ethnographically as a knowledge practice and data scientists as a particular kind of expert. He also explores methodological approaches to studying data work in real-world contexts. Participants learned to: Think ethnographically about data work as a knowledge practiceDevelop methodological strategies for studying data workChart the organizational and technological components of data infrastructureInterpret the mindset, jargon, and practical orientations of their data scientist and developer colleaguesUnderstand how algorithmic systems and data analytics impact organizational structures, work practices, and business models In the second half of the tutorial, participants worked collaboratively to develop a pitch for...

Creating a Strategic Role for Research in Your Organization

An EPIC Talk with MEENA KOTHANDARAMAN & ZARLA LUDIN, twig+fish Approx 1 hr 18 min Human-centered research practices embedded in business contexts have matured to a problematic inflection point. Called upon as a means of finding answers to human complexities, qualitative research is often measured against misappropriated metrics of success. Time, money, efficiency, and return on investment have been artificially applied to demonstrate value to the rest of the business. Although these metrics are meaningful to a business at large, they can diminish the credibility of a nuanced research engagement. This false tie leads to tendencies behind research practices that no longer service the domain of human-centered research—that even hurt it. Leading with method, over-simplifying complex human dynamics, misaligning questions with objectives, and setting unrealistic expectations of data gathering are just some of these responsive tendencies. Research can no longer be a gratuitous technique, conjured to help others get their...

Play it Back: Research as Intervention

NATALIE NAPIERInWithForward PechaKucha Presentation The social welfare system was built to protect the vulnerable through the provision of basic needs. I left my social service job to join an organization with a mission to shift that system from safety nets to trampolines - from services designed to maximize safety, to those that develop agency and resilience. That’s meant interrogating and renewing my principles for ethical engagement with people who are getting the poorest outcomes from services. Returning people’s data to them, in the form of a story is now a practice at the heart of my relationships to the people with whom I do research. At the best of times this interaction is an intervention in and of itself, validating someone’s experience and allowing them to open themselves up to new self-narratives. But the goal of story return in not a positive reception; rather, it’s about following through on our ethical commitment to recognize people’s ownership over their own data, and allowing them the opportunity to benefit...

Mattresses & Moneyboxes: Cultural Affordances for Microfinance in Jordan

ZACH HYMAN EPAM Continuum Case Study—This case study will present how a multicultural and multidisciplinary team from EPAM Continuum, the global innovation design firm, gathered, analyzed, and presented back different forms of “evidence” to satisfy the complex set of client and customer needs for a Jordanian microfinance bank with 30 branches and 65,000 clients. The team navigated cultural and linguistic barriers as they sought to provide stakeholders and their customers the evidence they needed to confidently design a new “mobile payment service” for their microloan customers. Over the course of the engagement, the firm's team strove not only to research, design, and prototype a new service to hand off to a local development team, but also to (1) use a combination of deliverables and in-field accompaniment to train microfinance bank staff in their process; (2) present evidence demonstrating the deep customer understanding that can result from pairing ethnographic research and human-centered design; and (3) create evidence...

Working with Intuition

ANISH NANGIA User Experience Researcher, eBay Inc. PechaKucha Presentation Evidence, today, can have very narrow definitions. For digital products, this type of evidence usually includes clicks and engagement metrics. I believe that in our effort to only listen to numbers and data, we have created a culture that looks down on intuition as something messy and to be rejected. As a result, we train ourselves to cast our intuition aside. When we do listen, we dare not speak up about it. Intuition is a part of what makes us human. It is often the primary way we make sense of our work (and the world around us). Yet, we continue to focus only on rationality and logic. Ultimtately, the goal of this piece is to present intuition from a different lens – to understand it, learn to listen to it and create spaces where we talk about it. Anish Nangia is a User Experience Researcher that uses human centered design to understand complex problem spaces and inspire compelling products. anishnangia@gmail.com 2018 Ethnographic Praxis in Industry...

Screenplay, Novel, and Poem: The Value of Borrowing From Three Literary Genres to Frame Our Thinking as We Gather, Analyze, and Elevate Data in Applied Ethnographic Work

MARIA CURY ReD Associates MICHELE CHANG-MCGRATH ReD Associates Applied ethnography still struggles with the fundamental challenges of (1) framing research to obtain ‘thick’ data, (2) making sense of data in teams and with clients, and (3) making a convincing case with data in challenging environments. We have observed that borrowing from literary genres can be effective in addressing these challenges. We therefore argue that in an age of data science, it is just as important to draw from the literary arts when gathering, analyzing, and elevating evidence to inspire change in applied ethnographic work. We raise three specific applications of literary genres to distinct project phases, to improve how data is collected and analyzed, and how data travels. In this paper we show: (1) how the screenplay can help solve challenges in research framing, to obtain thicker data; (2) how the novel can help solve challenges in analysis, to turn data into meaningful evidence; (3) how poetry can help solve challenges in the opportunities-development...

Getting from Vision to Reality: How Ethnography and Prototyping Can Solve Late-Stage Design Challenges

BRADY SIH Kaiser Permanente HILLARY CAREY Winnow Research MICHAEL C. LIN Kaiser Permanente Cast Study—In 2014, Kaiser Permanente began implementing a next-generation medical office model that reimagines the outpatient care experience, combining new architecture, workflow, and technology to create a more convenient experience for patients and a connected, efficient experience for staff and care teams. As the first next-gen facilities were being built, challenges emerged as teams across a variety of disciplines attempted to translate the model's vision into reality. Teams were making design and operational decisions in parallel, without the ability to see how their decisions impacted the overall user experience. To resolve these challenges, our innovation team at Kaiser Permanente used a hybrid make-and-observe method of prototyping and ethnography. Employing a co-creation mindset (Bødker and Grønbaek 1991), we engaged staff and patients to help us bring the future state of these next-gen clinics to life in a minimally viable way....

Contextual Breathing: The Importance of Opening in an Increasingly Closed World

APRIL JEFFRIES Ipsos Understanding Unlimited PechaKucha Presentation Context cannot be ignored. The ability to pull back, observe and listen deeply balanced with internal analysis and reflection has significant impact on our individual and societal health. Myopic views that ignore or distort what is happening around us have resulted in a social, cultural and political bipolar effect that occurs within a narrow spectrum of isolation. Extreme swings from close-minded tribes to secluded self dialogue, wreak havoc on our broader needs for transcendence and compassion. A study of middle-class moms in America, found a pull toward insular communities in unexpected places. Hostile or challenging political arguments were increasingly infiltrating conversations in venues ranging from Facebook to book club. Emotional eruptions in previously “safe spaces” caused retreats to like-minded groups. Women who may have otherwise enjoyed open curiosity or stimulating debate, in these situations, were ill-equipped to handle feelings of rejection...

Automating Inequality

VIRGINIA EUBANKS University of Albany, SUNY EPIC2018 Keynote Virginia Eubanks is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University at Albany, SUNY. Her most recent book is Automating Inequality: How High-Tech Tools Profile, Police, and Punish the Poor, which dana boyd calls “the first [book] that I’ve read that really pulls you into the world of algorithmic decision-making and inequality, like a good ethnography should,” and Ethan Zuckerman calls “one of the most important recent books for understanding the social implications of information technology for marginalized populations in the US.” Eubanks is also the author of Digital Dead End: Fighting for Social Justice in the Information Age; and co-editor, with Alethia Jones, of Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around: Forty Years of Movement Building with Barbara Smith. Her writing about technology and social justice has appeared in The American Prospect, The Nation, Harper’s and Wired. For two decades, Eubanks has worked in community technology and...

Just Add Water: Lessons Learned from Mixing Data Science and Design Research Methods to Improve Customer Service

OVETTA SAMPSON IDEO Chicago and DePaul University Case Study—This case study provides an inside look at what occurs when methods from the data science and ethnographic fields are mixed to solve perennial customer service problems within the call center and cruise industries. The paper details this particular blend of ethnographic practitioners with a data scientist resulted in changes to design approaches, debunking myths about qualitative and quantitative research methods being at odds and altering team member perspectives about the value of both. The project also led to the creation of innovative blended design research and data science methods to discover and leverage the right customer data to the benefit of both the customer and the call center agents who serve them. This paper offers insight into the untold value design teams can unlock when data scientists and ethnographers work together to solve a problem. The result was a design solution that gives a top-performing company an edge to grow even better by leveraging the millions...

Designing for Interactions with Automated Vehicles: Ethnography at the Boundary of Quantitative-Data-Driven Disciplines

MARKUS ROTHMÜLLER School of Architecture, Design and Planning, Aalborg University Copenhagen, Denmark and Shift Insights & Innovation Consulting PERNILLE HOLM RASMUSSEN School of Architecture, Design and Planning, Aalborg University Copenhagen, Denmark SIGNE ALEXANDRA VENDELBO-LARSEN School of Architecture, Design and Planning, Aalborg University Copenhagen, Denmark Case Study—This case study presents ethnographic work in the midst of two fields of technological innovation: automated vehicles (AV) and virtual reality (VR). It showcases the work of three MSc. Techno-Anthropology students and their collaboration with the EU H2020 project ‘interACT’, sharing the goal to develop external human-machine interfaces (e-HMI) for AVs to cooperate with human road users in urban traffic in the future. The authors reflect on their collaboration with human factor researchers, data scientists, engineers, experimental researchers, VR-developers and HMI-designers, and on experienced challenges between the paradigms of qualitative and quantitative...

The Root Cause is Capitalism… and Patriarchy

LINDSEY WALLACE, PHD Adobe Design Research & Strategy Team JENNA MELNYK Adobe Design Research & Strategy Team Case Study—The authors used anthropology and other design research methods to develop a new kind of study to capture the world of professional creatives and the people they work with. To uncover core collaboration challenges for professional creatives the authors asked asked them to walk through past projects, who they interacted with at different points, and discuss their affective experiences. Critical collaborative problems for participants in this study stemmed from two factors: ever-increasing corporate demands to do more with less, and concurrent attempts to automate feminized administrative coordination tasks. To communicate actionable findings, the authors balanced systems-level thinking with the identification of the kinds of problems Adobe could and would solve. While large scale social change was outside the scope of actionable recommendations for a product design team, the implications of social structures...

Scale, Nuance, and New Expectations in Ethnographic Observation and Sensemaking

ALEXANDRA ZAFIROGLU Intel Corporation YEN-NING CHANG Intel Corporation Case Study—We consider new expectations for ethnographic observation and sensemaking in the next 20-25 years, as technology industry ethnographers' work unfolds in the increasing presence of the type of analytical capabilities specially trained (and self-training) machines can do ‘better’ and ‘cheaper’ than humans as they can take in, analyze and model digital data at much higher volumes and with an attention to nuance not achievable through human cognition alone. We do so by re-imagining three of our existing ethnographic research projects with the addition of very specific applications of machine learning, computer vision, and Internet of Things sensing and connectivity technologies. We draw speculative conclusions about: (1) how data in-and-of-the world that drives tech innovation will be collected and analyzed, (2) how ethnographers will approach analysis and findings, and (3) how the evidence produced by ethnographers will be evaluated and validated....

Gaming Evidence: Power, Storytelling and the “Colonial Moment” in a Chicago Systems Change Project

NATHAN HEINTZ Systems Change Consultant Case Study—In 2016 The Chicago Community Trust (“The Trust”), a local Chicago foundation, partnered with Roller Strategies (“Roller”), an international professional services firm, to deploy an innovative mixed-methods approach to community-driven social change on the South Side of Chicago. This partnership convened a diverse group of stakeholders representing a microcosm of the social system, and launched a project with the aim of developing resilient livelihoods for youth aged 18-26 in three specific South Side neighborhoods. Roller designed and facilitated a process through which the stakeholder group scoped, launched, piloted and prototyped community-driven initiatives. While innovative and successful by some metrics, the project had its challenges. The convening institutions and their staff were often perceived as “outsiders” and “experts” without intimate local knowledge of the social challenges they were attempting to address. This dynamic played out in complex power...