Advancing the Value of Ethnography

The Next Billion Creatives


Payal Arora is a digital anthropologist, a TEDx speaker, and an author of award-winning books, including ‘The Next Billion Users’ with Harvard Press. Her expertise lies in user experience in the global south, digital inequality, and inclusive design. Forbes named her the “next billion champion” and the “right kind of person to reform tech.” She is a Professor at Erasmus University Rotterdam, and Co-Founder of FemLab, a future of work initiative.

Payal’s work explores key issues in designing for, with, and in the Global South. Design has long been dictated by the aesthetic taste, values, needs, concerns, and aspirations of consumers in the West—but the “next billion users” are pioneering creative ways to repurpose design in ways that we are currently failing to capture. Does localization go against universal design principles? Is diversity scalable? How do we do justice in representing the voices of non-users or limited users?


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