Advancing the Value of Ethnography

Tutorial: Frameworks and Foundations for Research Team Development


Develop a targeted strategy for cultivating a successful research team and growing yourself as a leader.


Growing a successful research team within a complex organization can be overwhelming—and there are not many concrete resources. You must consider a variety of elements to grow yourself and your team, at the same time that you create value for customers and stakeholders. There are many moving pieces, and often not enough time to consider which elements might be essential for that next step. This tutorial will help you navigate where and how to focus your efforts as you evolve your impact.

We will cover a framework that includes considerations around both individual people and groups of people, as well as cross-cutting elements such as the organization, the domain, and the research itself. Topics include:


  • What are the key attributes and capabilities you should consider as you grow? There are always many areas to build for yourself. How can you choose what is right for you, and the kinds of things that you want to accomplish?
  • How to build trust with your team and stakeholders? What kinds of habits, for yourself and the data that you are sharing helps those around you build trust and become a partner in growth.

Your Team:

  • How will you lead by example? Where do you have influence? Within your team you have places that you can and should be involved, others you should likely step away. What kinds of activities will help you to define and refine where and when you are involved.
  • What do you expect from individuals? As a leader you’re more likely to look across the team as a whole—but may also have expectations from individuals. What are useful expectations?

The Research:

  • How much do you democratize your activities? As a leader, you’ll be asked to let other groups in within the company conduct research. What is ok? What isn’t? How do you decide and evolve the concepts?

Your Organization:

  • What are the incentives in your organization that affect how people react to your work?

The video has been edited to protect the privacy of participants in the event.


Molly Stevens has 20+ years experience in understanding the needs of users in a variety of domains around the globe. She is particularly intrigued by complex marketplaces, and the challenges and opportunities that they present. She builds diverse teams that collaborate closely with cross-functional stakeholders to build great products and services. Molly is currently the Senior Director of UX at


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