The Public Policy Lab; The School for Visual Arts
Public sector innovation (PSI) is an emerging multidisciplinary field that is attracting practitioners from a wide range of sectors and industries, with a correspondingly broad set of skills and experience. PSI aims to significantly improve the services that a government has the responsibility to provide by taking a user-centered, partnership-based approach, from service content development through to methods of service provision (OECD 2012). Yet the work is complex and not without risk, if undertaken without appropriate foresight, thoughtfulness, and rigor. In particular, when it comes to pursuing PSI in the design of social service policy and its provision, some of the more substantial risks lie hidden in systemic power imbalances that can easily be exacerbated, despite practitioners’ best intentions. This article uses a case study about homeless service provision in New York City (NYC) to offer a candid portrayal of undertaking research and design work in...
CHRISTOPHER A. GOLIAS
The social and ecological challenges of the 21st century require a design research process that contributes to viable economic solutions. This paper proposes donut centered design as a hybrid of service design and ecological design that works within the donut economic model. It describes how private and public sector ethnographers can weld the best of these two processes by providing a holistic, empirical research foundation that seeks to provide distributed service innovation value to all within the limits of the planet. Donut-centered design addresses lacunae of the current innovation models by advocating multi-site assessments, multi-species ethnography, ecosocial blueprints and holistics metrics as important components of a regenerative design research practice....
IDEO and DePaul University
Three service design projects, in hospitality, finance, and health care, highlight how to design for agency in the workplace, including the implementation of automated and data-driven tools. Inspired by Tacchi, Slater, and Hearn's work on ethnographic action research, Amartya Sen's capabilities approach, and Gibson's affordances theory, this paper examines work as an ecosystem, in which workers’ motivations, values, and ability to achieve what is important to them should be a continual input into how structures and tools are designed. In order to design for agency, teams must shape access to information in order to support workers’ autonomy. Second, project outcomes should reflect the emotions and values which create a sense of progress and purpose. Third, tools, technologies, culture, and incentives within the work ecosystem should be aligned with workers’ goals. Finally, workers must feel safe and protected from censure when they participate in co-creating...
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...
MICHAEL C. LIN
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....
University of Albany, SUNY
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...
A Piece of Pie
A Piece of Pie
MARIA FERNANDA ESTUPIÑAN
A Piece of Pie
A Piece of Pie
Case Study—In this case study we describe how we collaborated with a Colombian healthcare provider company and enabled its decision makers to understand the power of stories and other types of qualitative evidence in healthcare contexts. The stories became a tool for recognizing singularities in a complex, massive system, where individuals were constantly reduced to social security numbers. We describe the qualitative methods implemented, such as in-depth interviews, projective techniques, shadowings and observations, explain the difficulty in explaining the value of our qualitative evidence and mention some of the lessons learned throughout the project. We also discuss the project’s outcomes, such as understanding the difference between user perception and user experience, the impotance of healthcare providers to go beyond healthcare and using stories as input for measuring quality of the service....
Nissan Research Center – Silicon Valley; Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Nissan Research Center – Silicon Valley
In this paper we explore the idea of a system of care through a city transit system. We argue that a systematic orientation to care is central to what makes a transit system work for people. Further, we suggest that this care orientation is recognized as such, even though it is not apparent in typical modes of systems management. Care is what knowing in this system is for. We examine how participants in the system navigate different epistemic bases of their work, focusing on how care work and information work intertwine. How is this work practiced and known? And how could we, as design researchers, use these practices to design systems of care? In service of these goals, we expand the notion of care work toward care of non-human actors as well as that of people. We focus particularly on the roles of automation and the risks automation presents for care. In a moment of increased...
We live our lives in contexts of overlapping systems. Developing the skill to connect dots of evidence between social, ecological and economic evidence offers the potential for more effective interventions in complex challenges.
Sarah Brooks, Sarah Brooks’ teaching and design practice sits at the intersection of design research, service design, and social innovation. She currently serves as a Design Executive and Distinguished Designer at IBM.
2018 Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference Proceedings, p. 696, ISSN 1559-8918...
Emerging technologies such as drones, sensors, mesh networks and IoT have significant potential to bring new life-changing services and benefits to places where infrastructure and ICT access is still limited. Nevertheless, many companies have already failed in the attempt to bring new solutions to the underserved population in emerging markets due to gaps in understanding capability and lack of systemic approach....
by CHUCK DARRAH, San Jose State University
Chuck Darrah and Jeanette Blomberg are Host and Discussan of the EPIC2016 Salon Working for Social Change. Join them at EPIC2016!
No matter the source of your employment, whether in the commercial sector or academia, we all want our work lives to add up to something positive. Yet it is easy to wonder how this or that project actually affected the world for better or worse. What can we do to make the next project better? How can we take what we learned so we can repeat the success in other projects or settings?
Jeanette Blomberg and I have been engaged in an extended conversation with each other for over a decade about the relationship between our day jobs and our interest in promoting social change. The EPIC2016 Salon Working for Social Change is a chance for our community to reflect on the complexities of making the world a better place through our labor as EPIC practitioners and academics, both individually and collectively.
Jeanette has spent a career working primarily in the...
by CHELSEA MAULDIN, Public Policy Lab & NATALIA RADYWYL, Fjord
Article 5 in the series Data, Design and Civics: Ethnographic Perspectives
"[Aims] such as unslumming slums, catalyzing diversity, nurturing lively streets, are unrecognized today as objectives of city planning. Therefore, planners and the agencies of action that carry out plans possess neither strategies nor tactics for carrying out such aims. …although city planning lacks tactics for building cities that can work like cities, it does possess plenty of tactics. They are aimed at carrying out strategic lunacies. Unfortunately, they are effective." (Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, 1961, 321)
Growing density, climate change, economic instability, migration, the increasing penetration of information and communication technologies: these urban trends are pushing traditional city management approaches to their limit. It’s no surprise that the ‘smart city’ and related technology-oriented approaches are a leading innovation model among...
IBM Research CHUCK DARRAH
San Jose State University
Services and access to them are related to core societal concerns such as sustainability and the role of families and communities in people’s lives, themes of enduring concern to the discipline of anthropology. Our aim in this paper is to begin to outline arguments for why anthropology and the EPIC community more broadly should have a prominent seat at the table of understanding and engaging social change emanating from innovations in the service economy. The discourse on services advises that we are in the middle of a major transformation akin to the move from agriculture to manufacturing, where modern economies are becoming service economies and people’s relations to material possessions are being reconfigured through services. We suggest that if a major shift is underway in how people get on in the world then it is incumbent upon the EPIC community to consider the opportunities and limitations for shaping this transformation....
HANNAH PICK CALDERÓNInsitumLANDRY NIAVA
Provider and researchers from the University of Cocody in Abidjan were faced with the challenge of adapting a user-centered approach to qualitative research endeavors in Côte d’Ivoire. Our cross-cultural team with expertise from multiple disciplines developed a novel approach for the cocoa sector. In observations, interviews, and co-creation groups with cocoa farmers, we explored concepts of success, productivity, and profitability both orally and visually. The resulting quality and level of farmer participation was enhanced, therefore improving research results....
The Concierge has been a ubiquitous staple of the service industry for centuries. How has this industry stood the test of time, and what can we learn from the analog Concierge that might inform better digital experiences? Is there a ‘secret-sauce’ that can be applied to other channels? In today’s self-service world, customer service personnel are being marginalized. As these individuals disappear, brands are increasingly claiming they offer digital Concierges in an attempt to reestablish longed-for human connections. But can digital Concierges ever equal their human counterparts? Derek Kopen sees an opportunity to learn from the century-old craft of the hotel Concierge and examine how looking at analogies can inform digital strategy. Through his Concierge research, Derek presents a simple framework that can be used as a foundational model across any human service that digital is trying to enhance....