Learn strategies and abductive methods for key challenges in the synthesis stage of research and design projects.
Instructor: MARTA CUCIUREAN-ZAPAN Design Director, IDEO
This video has been edited to protect the privacy of participants in the live tutorial.
After the richness of fieldwork, the research and design team must figure out, “What does this mean?” and “What should we do?” In this tutorial, you’ll gain a richer understanding of the synthesis and learn strategies for two key challenges: emotional dynamics—how we navigate interpersonal relationships to come to alignment amid the discomfort of newness and transformation—and convergence—how to prioritize when faced with tons of data and ideas. Participants will learn how to externalize the hidden criteria that are the key to client/stakeholder commitment and engagement.
Synthesis presents a tough set of issues: we want to accurately represent all of our participants, yet we must make hard decisions around whose stories and learnings...
University of Cambridge
Resilience can be a tremendous asset to any individual’s ability to carry on despite difficulties. At the same time, revering resilience without a healthy amount of respect for emotional vulnerability—by which I mean the intentional choice to tap into our emotional beings and allow ourselves to deeply experience the emotions that arise in us doing our fieldwork and analysis phases of ethnographic research—can be a hindering block to doing good anthropological work. Drawing upon three examples from my personal work as an anthropologist—one from academic research in interreligious relations, one from a healthtech start up context, and one from doing ethnographic work in corporate settings—I call out for anthropologists to not neglect our emotional experiences. I point back to the often-referenced “empathy” within anthropological spheres and, looking at empathy as both a cognitive and an emotional phenomenon, I join the conversation of others who are arguing for the intentional...
NCAD / Deloitte Digital
PechaKucha Presentation—Unprecedented. Unprecedented. Unprecedented. How often did we hear that word at the onslaught of the Covid-19 pandemic? But was it really unprecedented? We’ve been warned for years that a pandemic was imminent. We know the world has been devastated by them in the past. So why did we declare Covid-19 unprecedented? And why wasn’t there a shared anticipation of it?
Reflecting on an idea that was first sparked while working as a bungy jump operator, this PechaKucha explores how facts, figures and predictions are not enough when it comes to helping people anticipate and embrace the unthinkable. This discovery is layered with the grief I experience for a way of life I’ve never lived and the feeling of hope that comes from a futures project that is not about creating something new.
Keywords: Futures, Food, Storytelling, Emotion, Connection, Relationships
Sarah Heffernan is an award-winning designer and researcher based in Ireland. A curious and thoughtful...
LORA V. KOYCHEVA
Technical University of Munich
Questions of scale permeate current approaches to empathy in applied human-centered work—and especially design thinking—but they have remained largely unquestioned. What is more, empathy has become an empty signifier, and empathizing is often a near-formulaic and pro-forma endeavor. To catalyze a reworking of the concept, in this paper I synthesize what has been said so far of empathy and its role in design and innovation, and I take stock of what these contributions point to. I ask: “How can we think of empathy as a scalar phenomenon and thus re-scale it in innovation?” I offer some illustrative, if unresolved, tensions with empathy I have had in my own ethnographic work with a robotics start-up, and I conclude the article with a series of provocations with the hope they will be taken up further.
Keywords: empathy, ethnography, design thinking, robotics
Article citation: 2020 EPIC Proceedings pp 243–262, ISSN 1559-8918, https://www.epicpeople.org/epic...
A researcher who used to combine “thinking + feeling” lines on a journey map found herself on the feelings frontier by widely exploring new innovations in neuroscience, psychology, and mind-body connection, alongside the resurgence in popularity of “old” ways of healing – chinese medicine, crystals, tarot cards. Through her self-ethnographic journey, she found that by stripping back ethnography from the measurable, the scientific, the business cases she rediscovered its foundational backbone to carefully tune into and interpret feelings. She redefines ethnography as about finding truth and not judging it – even the parts that don't make sense right away and asserts that believing the tiny fragments of feelings and glimmers of intuition is the future of our practice. The new science and the old wisdom revealed that feelings are the root of agency, or “the feelings we have a say in the world we live in and experience, and it is our new frontier to help people articulate...
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...
Upwork Download PDF
PechaKucha—This talk is an illustration of my journey from being a dejected, sole researcher in a chaotic 300 person startup to a place where I learned not only how to be a better interviewer, but also a more effective and influential employee.
Shipra Kayan has over a decade of experience as a User Experience professional. She has spent the last six years at Upwork helping the product and engineering teams understand user needs, and make empathy based design decisions. She lives in San Francisco, and writes on medium.
2016 Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference Proceedings, p. 551, ISSN 1559-8918,
by JOHN PAYNE, Moment
In the early 1970s, Nick Lowe wrote a song from the perspective of an old hippie character. This character laments change as he witnesses the cultural pendulum swing from the peace and love 60s into the hard-edged 70s. It’s not clear whether Lowe—or Elvis Costello, who later recorded the song—intended a tongue-in-cheek send-up of the character or a straight-forward critique of the times. But in the years since, “What's So Funny 'Bout Peace, Love and Understanding” has become a sort of call to action—an anthem to lost empathy.
As I walk through
This wicked world
Searchin' for light in the darkness of insanity
I ask myself
Is all hope lost?
Is there only pain and hatred, and misery?
When I read the increasingly frequent criticisms of empathy, that same cultural pendulum comes to mind. Yale Professor Paul Bloom, the architect of much of the recent anti-empathy opinion, has written critically of empathy for several years. His thesis: Empathy is a “parochial, narrow-minded” emotion that misleads...
Are we really connected to the steps and act of recycling and reuse? Is the modern American vision for recycling too clean and removed from the reality of our waste? Images are a series of observations about a single example of community, value-based recycling from Shanghai. The images challenge us to reflect on what we can learn from other approaches....
JACOB BUUR and ROSA TORGUET
In the quest for engaging ethnographic insight in organizations on a more fundamental level than mere ‘innovation drivers’, theatre offers ways of triggering a change in conversations through emotional engagement. This paper discusses the impact of using theatre with professional actors to convey the outcome of ethnographic ‘user studies’ to industry and academia. In a project on indoor climate control with five company partners, the field studies brought about controversial findings, like ‘Indoor comfort is what people make’ – as opposed to something fully controlled by technology and ‘provided’ to inhabitants. We explore how theatre improvisation can convey such findings and thus support the provoking role that ethnography may play in organizations. Based on the study of two theatre sessions, we will articulate the importance of balance between playful and serious, of explorative discussion, and of supportive event planning and space layout to achieve audience engagement....
TODD S. HARPLE, GINA LUCIA TAHA, NANCY VUCKOVIC and ANNA WOJNAROWSKA
This case study on mobility in health care demonstrates how ethnography and design research helped Intel meet the business challenge of redressing market share. Ethnography enabled the team to assess the interplay between mobile devices and other hospital technologies, understand how they fit within or subverted existing practices, and document positive and negative features of the technology. Our deliverables not only answered the direct business question, but also expanded the scope of possible solutions....