The rise of weblogging has been a cold shower for the complacent mass communication industries. Although the weblogging pioneers are due much praise, their own rhetoric deserves examination, and they could also raise their sights higher.
The 2002 project, run for the EC by a group of European design organisations, researched how design techniques for envisioning the future can benefit EC decision-makers’ foresight planning and policy work. It’s aim is to help them respond to emerging issues and trends from environmental pressures to technological change.
The DFFN website now has all the information available from the research.
Many companies talk about getting close to the customer, but Microsoft pushed this idea to the extreme when it hired Nelle Steele to show up at 5 in the morning at the Milwaukee home of Tim Tucker. The owner of Air Engineering Inc., a supplier of industrial air compressor parts, is Microsoft’s model customer. Steele’s mission was to observe Tucker at close range, arriving as soon as he stepped out of the shower, then shadowing him until his workday ended at 10:30 p.m. Steele, a cultural anthropology Ph.D. student on leave from the University of Wisconsin, is one of five anthropologist-ethnographers (and the only one focused on entrepreneurs) that Microsoft hired full-time to conduct a field study. Called “Dawn to Dusk,” the study documents the work habits and thought processes of a species the software behemoth had never before tried to understand: owners and employees of small businesses.