Use ethnographic concepts and techniques for more successful relationships with stakeholders, clients, and teams.
by JOHN CURRAN, JC Associates
John Curran teaches the EPIC Course Leveraging Organizational Culture for Impact—details here! —ed.
Some years ago a renowned UK-based charity invited me to help them understand why their legacy donations had flat lined for two years. The conventional wisdom had been that charitable donations had decreased as a result of the financial crisis in 2008. But when a statistical analysis showed that donations to other, similar sized charities were in fact increasing, they realized the problem was not just macroeconomics. The charity wanted new insights to explain their stagnation.
Organizations generally hire ethnographers to help them understand the world “out there,” and that was the brief my contract client produced. But delivering insights is not the same as creating value. I quickly discovered that for insights to matter, the scope of my project—from kick-off to signoff—would...
Case Study—This case study highlights the value of taking clients through their own ethnographic encounters during a customer experience project. It demonstrates how taking key project stakeholders on fieldwork builds their empathy with their sales and service channels and end-customers, and creates a space for reflection and an imperative for action. The case study includes examples from ethnographic encounters and how they led clients to have a new understanding about the customer experience, and take action. It underlines the value of ethnography in business as not just uncovering insights, but as a process stakeholders should be involved in to lead to effective human-centered strategy and direction for a client organisation....