Maria Bezaitis, EPIC Board President
I entered the field of applied ethnography in the mid-90s. For me the point was never about practicing my academic training, or having a career that academia couldn’t provide. The point was always about who I got to work with and the dynamism we experienced doing the work because we were inventing it together. For better and for worse perhaps, that spirit has stayed with me, motivating my career choices after E-Lab and anchoring my work at Intel. One of the most important lessons I learned at E-Lab, which flew in the face of my PhD training, was that great work never happens alone.
In just a few decades, practicing ethnographers, design researchers and strategists have covered the globe and each of us has a story of some kind of extraordinary success. Whether that story entails moving from academia to industry, or starting a new company, or simply getting or maintaining a job inside a company that executes reorganizations as predictably as the sun rises, each of you has already done something great.
While each of our individual stories is great, communities that share stories—stories of success, failures, learnings, insights, provocations—are better.
We join communities because our own individual stories, practices, and ambitions are not enough. We learn from colleagues far and wide, at our workplace and elsewhere. We debate and push each other to improve, to experiment and to make change happen. There has never been a more important time for practicing ethnographers of all sorts to continue to have routine access to one another.
EPIC is your community—and it only works if we all contribute and participate. With your membership, you will enjoy not only insight and interaction you won’t get any other way, but an everyday sense of the community you are a part of, wherever you are and wherever you do your work.
As President of the Board of EPIC, I invite you to join as a member. Each of you makes the collective much better.