business anthropology

Anthro-Vision: A New Way to See in Business and Life

a book review by SIMON ROBERTS, Stripe Partners Anthro-Vision: A New Way to See in Business and Life Gillian Tett 2021, 304 pp, Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster → Join Simon Roberts in conversation with Gillian Tett on June 10—register here! Ulf Hannerz once proposed that “common sense is cultural ‘business as usual’; standard operating procedure, one’s perspective at rest” (127). Gillian Tett’s journalism unsettles perspectives at rest. If there’s one simple message for the general reader in her new book Anthro-Vision it is this: the promise and value of anthropology lies in making visible that which is close to hand but ignored. It offers a means to see the world differently. There’s also a message for those whose work involves the application of anthropological thinking or ethnography: we should revisit our own assumptions about how we conceive of and communicate our value. The book is a resounding call to arms in a world beset by a ‘tunnel vision’. What is the basis for Tett’s...

Enacting Scales: Reflections from an Anthropologist Working in Asia’s Ad World

TIFFANY TIVASURADEJ Ogilvy PechaKucha Presentation—The conference theme for EPIC2020 is all about scale. For many, scale will probably evoke images of sizing up, moving forward, getting better. But does scale carry the same meaning in all contexts? Could scaling back be the key to enacting scales successfully? And is it possible to enact scales when ethnography and the broader topic of anthropology are unheard among those around you? Reflecting on my own experience working in Thailand and China and my encounters with other design and business anthropologists working in Asia, I share an honest career narrative about enacting scales. My PechaKucha speaks truthfully about the struggles in applying ethnography, and inspires with learnings on how anthropologists can adapt the broader practice of anthropology and find ways to continue contributing to organisations across societies in Asia. Tiffany Tivasuradej is a Consultant at Ogilvy in Hong Kong. She holds a degree in biological anthropology from Durham University (UK). She...

Advice for an Anthropologist Breaking into Business

by SHELLY HABECKER, Swiss Re "How do I make ethnography relevant to my company?" This was the question that I took to Tracey Lovejoy (co-founder of EPIC, former Senior Manager at Microsoft, and founder of Lovejoy Consulting); Christian Madsbjerg (founder of ReD Associates and best-selling author of two books on applying social sciences to business); and Alexandra Mack (Alchymyx; formerly Senior Fellow at Pitney Bowes & EPIC Board Secretary). All three are leading lights in the Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Community who have invested their careers in a belief that observing and listening to human beings matters for better business. A little over a year ago, after two decades of working on African migration issues in governmental and academic environments, I started a job at a large insurance company. I was attracted by the potential to use my training as an anthropologist to create better financial safety nets for people through the insurance industry. My managers were not looking for an anthropologist per se, but they let...