Valuable Connections: Design Anthropology and Co-creation in Digital Innovation

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This paper explores challenges and potentials for innovation and co-creation within an increasingly interconnected and digitalized world, and its affect on ethnographic practices within the field of design and business development. Our discussion is based on material from an interdisciplinary research and design project with a leading computer game developer, exploring opportunities of involving online gaming communities in innovation processes and product development. Based on our case, we argue that in a world with increasingly blurred boundaries between physical, digital and hybrid contexts, as well as design, production and use, we might need to rethink the role of ethnography within user centred design and business development. Here the challenge is less about ”getting closer” to user needs and real-life contexts, through familiarization, mediation, and facilitation, and more about creating a critical theoretically informed distance from which to perceive and reflect upon complex interconnections between people, technology, business and design, as well as our roles as researchers and designers within these.

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