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Posts in category 'Ethnography'

27 September 2013

An ethnography of interaction design practice (PhD dissertation)

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Delivering Design: Performance and Materiality in Professional Interaction Design is the title of the PhD dissertation Elizabeth Sarah Goodman defended last year to obtain the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Information Management and Systems at UC Berkeley. It is now available online.

Abstract

Interaction design is the definition of digital behavior, from desktop software and mobile applications to components of appliances, automobiles, and even biomedical devices. Where architects plan buildings, graphic designers make visual compositions, and industrial designers give form to three-dimensional objects, interaction designers define the digital components of products and services. These include websites, mobile applications, desktop software, automobiles, consumer electronics, and more. Interaction design is a relatively new but fast-growing discipline, emerging with the explosive growth of the World Wide Web. In a software-saturated world, every day, multiple times a day, billions of people encounter the work products of interaction design.

Given the reach of their profession, how interaction designers work is of paramount concern. In considering interaction design, this dissertation turns away from a longstanding question of design studies: How does interaction design demonstrate a special form of human thought? And towards a set of questions drawn from practice-oriented studies of science and technology: What kinds of objects and subjects do interaction design practices make, and how do those practices produce them?

Based on participant observation at three San Francisco interaction design consultancies and interviews with designers in California’s Bay Area, this dissertation argues that performance practices organize interaction design work. By “performance practices,” I mean episodes of storytelling and narrative that take place before an audience of witnesses. These performances instantiate — make visible and tangibly felt — the human and machine behaviors that the static deliverables seem unable on their own to materialize. In doing so, performances of the project help produce and sustain alignment within teams and among designers, clients, and developers.

In this way, a focus on episodes of performance turns our concerns from cognition, in which artifacts assist design thinking, to one of enactment, in which documents, spaces, tools, and bodies actively participating in producing the identities, responsibilities, and capacities of project constituents. It turns our attention to questions of political representation, materiality and politics. From this perspective, it is not necessarily how designers think but how they stage and orchestrate performances of the project that makes accountable, authoritative decision-making on behalf of clients and prospective users possible.

21 September 2013

Financial Times on EPIC conference

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This week, business anthropologists from all over the world descended on the Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference at London’s Royal Institution, the historic site where Michael Faraday first demonstrated the power of electricity, reports Emma Jacobs in the Financial Times.

Over three days, practitioners discussed applications of anthropology in the business world, covering such issues as big data and clinical trials. Addressed by such luminaries in the field as Genevieve Bell, who has worked at Intel for the past 15 years, the event is an opportunity to meet kindred spirits.

In the US, anthropologists have been hired for more than two decades by technology groups including Intel, Apple and Xerox. Microsoft is said to be the second-largest employer of anthropologists in the world, behind the US government. Technology groups descended on anthropology in order to understand the diverse markets they operated in.

19 September 2013

EthnographyMatters on the relationships between ethnography, fiction and design

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This month’s theme of EthnographyMatters, edited by Nicolas Nova, is about the relationships between ethnography, speculative fiction and design.

“In design circles, the current interest in “design fiction” is geared towards exploring how prototyping and storytelling can benefit from each other. Design fiction use standard objects and media conventions as a way to express ideas about the future: a fake product catalogue, a map of a fictional area, a journal, a short video showing a day in the life of a person, etc. One can see design fiction as similar to science fiction in that the stories bring into focus certain matters-of-concern, such as how life is lived, questioning how technology is used and its implications, as well as speculating about the course of events… which is obviously close to what a certain kind of ethnography is interested in. This ability to flesh out the details of alternative futures can be seen as an intriguing form of speculative ethnography with a specific focus on original format.”

This month’s contributors are:

  • Anne Galloway, an ethnographer interested in material, visual and discursive aspects of technology, will give her perspective on design ethnography and speculative fiction.
  • Laura Forlano, from the Institute of Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology, will address what ethnographers can learn from science fiction and speculative design. Based on examples from design and popular culture, she will explore the generative and analytic potential of “design fiction”.
  • Jan-Hendrik Passoth and Nicholas Rowland, both sociologists at TU Berlin, will address post-ironic ethnography, reportage style and David Foster Wallace.
19 September 2013

Book: Design Anthropology

9780857853691

Design Anthropology: Theory and Practice
Editor(s): Wendy Gunn, Ton Otto, Rachel Charlotte Smith
Bloomsbury Academic, 2013
304 pages

Design is a key site of cultural production and change in contemporary society. Anthropologists have been involved in design projects for several decades but only recently a new field of inquiry has emerged which aims to integrate the strengths of design thinking and anthropological research.

This book is written by anthropologists who actively participate in the development of design anthropology. Comprising both cutting-edge explorations and theoretical reflections, it provides a much-needed introduction to the concepts, methods, practices and challenges of the new field. Design Anthropology moves from observation and interpretation to collaboration, intervention and co-creation. Its practitioners participate in multidisciplinary design teams working towards concrete solutions for problems that are sometimes ill-defined. The authors address the critical potential of design anthropology in a wide range of design activities across the globe and query the impact of design on the discipline of anthropology.

This volume will appeal to new and experienced practitioners in the field as well as to students of anthropology, innovation, science and technology studies, and a wide range of design studies focusing on user participation, innovation, and collaborative research.

For all of us who work, think, teach, write, and dwell in this exciting interdisciplinary space, these essays will be of tremendous value.” – Paul Dourish, Professor of Informatics, University of California, Irvine, USA

16 September 2013

Experientia and Intel present at EPIC 2013 in London

Screen Shot 2013-09-16 at 16.21.07

EPIC 2013, the conference on “ethnographic praxis in industry”, kicked off in London today, with experts from around the world gathering for the three-day conference exploring ethnographic investigations and principles in the study of human behavior as they are applied in business settings.

This (Monday) afternoon, Experientia will give a joint presentation with Intel, titled Mobility is More than a Device: Understanding complexity in health care with ethnography. The presentation describes a recent research project on how doctors use mobile devices in the healthcare industry, and the impact that new technologies are having on workflows and patient care.

The project was conducted by Experientia for Intel last year, with research in hospitals in China, Germany, the USA and the UK. The conference presentation focuses on how ethnography can be a vital tool in understanding complex environments such as health care facilities, and outlines key methodological insights from the project.

Experientia UX researchers Anna Wojnarowska and Gina Taha co-authored the EPIC paper with Intel’s Todd Harple and Nancy Vuckovic. The paper will be published in full in the EPIC conference proceedings. Today, Nancy and Anna will present a concise overview of the key findings, in the Faraday Theatre at London’s Royal Institution of Great Britain venue.

Tomorrow (Tuesday) Experientia partner Mark Vanderbeeken will moderate the conference’s Town Hall Debate on the recent challenges in ethnography. Short statements by Natalie Hanson (ZSAssociates), Sam Ladner (Microsoft), Tricia Wang, Leisa Reichelt (GDS) and Stefana Broadbent (UCL) will introduce the public debate, that is set up to strongly involve the participants.

6 September 2013

Four new papers by anthropologist Brigitte Jordan

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Brigitte Jordan, the legendary corporate anthropologist, once described as one of the “godmothers” of design ethnography, has posted four new papers on her website:

The Double Helix of Learning: Knowledge Transfer in Traditional and Techno-Centric Communities
Draft. Comments appreciated.
In this paper I formulate a new, integrated theory of learning and show how it plays itself out in three distinct learning ecologies: the ethno-obstetric practices of Yucatec Maya village midwives, the operations room of a U.S. airline where ground operations are coordinated, and a set of global industrial factories where silicon wafers are processed into computer chips. I do this in order to argue that since time immemorial, consistently and continuously, two kinds of knowledge and skill acquisition have existed that are exercised to varying degrees in those settings in a constant process of mutual adjustment, suggesting that they have co-existed with different kinds of balance and legitimization throughout history and across societies. I provide evidence that the ancient, experiential, immersion-based kind of learning is massively present in high-tech industrial workplaces, and suggest that it will be increasingly useful and recognized as valuable as the world moves into the digital age.

Dancing with Tools: How Technologies Have Shaped Society and Vice Versa
Anthropology News (March/April): 54:3-4:6-7.
We have been in bed with tools from the beginning. Every societal advance that we can trace or imagine has involved an intimate interplay between tools and social formations in the making. Now, at a time when the world is crying out for tools that help manage the uncertainties of globalization, automation and the digital revolution, we should consider what we can learn from the millions of years our ancestors have been engaged in making (and living with) tools not only for making things, but also for making sense of the world. – See more at: http://www.anthropology-news.org/index.php/2013/02/07/dancing-with-tools-2/#sthash.AzzPsHfU.dpuf

Advancing Ethnography in Corporate Environments: Challenges and Emerging Opportunities
Walnut Creek, CA. Left Coast Press
In this innovative volume, twelve leading scholars from corporate research labs and independent consultancies tackle the most fundamental and contentious issues in corporate ethnography. Organized in pairs of chapters in which two experts consider different sides of an important topic, these provocative encounters go beyond stale rehearsals of method and theory to explore the entanglements that practitioners wrestle with on a daily basis. The discussions are situated within the broader universe of ethnographic method and theory, as well as grounded in the practical realities of using ethnography to solve problems in the business world. The book represents important advances in the field and is ideal for students and scholars as well as for corporate practitioners and decision makers.
The linked file contains the book’s introduction by Brigitte Jordan, who is also the editor of the book.

Pattern Recognition in Human Evolution and Why It Matters for Ethnography, Anthropology and Society
Chapter 12, Pp. 193-213 in: Advancing Ethnography in Corporate Environments: Challenges and Emerging Opportunities, Brigitte Jordan, ed. Walnut Creek, CA. Left Coast Press
This final chapter [of the same book referenced above] is concerned with a world that has been irrevocably changed by the arrival of the Internet and the massive amounts of data its affordances have generated. It speaks to issues that are of fundamental concern for all of us who are thinking about where we are coming from and where we are going, given that we find ourselves in a present that experiences unprecedented changes in the material and symbolic environments in which we live, facing an uncertain future, and, significantly, coming from a more or less unexamined past that goes back several million years. What do these versions of the world have to do with each other? Why are we “we” and “here,” and not “something other” or “somewhere else”?
We are concerned then with a number of wide-ranging issues, from the basic existential questions that confront society today to specific questions about the role of anthropology and ethnography in a world of ever-increasing complexity.
This chapter attempts to build a case for the significance of evolution for ethnography as a methodology, for anthropology as a discipline, and, in the end, for the future of our society.

28 August 2013

Ethnographic stories for market learning

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The July 2013 issue of the Journal of Marketing (a publication of AMA, the American Marketing Association) describes the results of a comprehensive study (pdf) by Julian Cayla and Eric J. Arnould on the way various organizations use ethnography to better represent the customer’s lived experience to managers.

The authors’ findings highlight how in many leading firms, ethnographic stories play a creatively disruptive role in: 1) challenging firms’ received wisdom about consumer behavior; 2) helping managers walk in the customer’s shoes; and 3) developing new business ideas.

In these three areas (market understanding; consumer empathy; market innovation), ethnographic storytelling has been a driving force in improving the tracking of market evolution, changing the way organizations connect with consumers, and stimulating innovative thinking.

“Although ethnography has become a popular research approach in many organizations, major gaps exist in the field’s understanding of the way it operates in the corporate world, particularly in how ethnography facilitates market learning. Drawing from extensive fieldwork in the world of commercial ethnography, the authors describe how ethnographic stories give executives a unique means of understanding market realities. By working through the rich details of ethnographic stories infused with the tensions, contradictions, and emotions of people’s everyday lives, executives are better able to grasp the complexity of consumer cultures. Overall, this research should help managers leverage the catalytic effects of ethnographic storytelling in their efforts to learn about and understand market contexts.”

Julien Cayla is Assistant Professor of Marketing, Nanyang Business School; Research Fellow at the Institute on Asian Consumer Insight; and Visiting Professor, Euromed Management. Eric J. Arnould is Professor of Marketing, University of Bath, and Visiting Adjunct Professor, Southern Denmark University.

7 August 2013

An object of journalism: the hyperlink

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Juliette de Maeyer kicks off this month’s edition of EthnographyMatters which focuses on Ethnographies of Objects, with a response to two questions posed to her: ‘Why is the hyperlink an interesting object of journalism?’ And ‘What’s the best way to approach this object methodologically?’

Her work on hyperlinks is a fascinating exploration of materiality, stubbornness and methods for trailing the object.

6 August 2013

Making the most of ethnographic research

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Applying ethnographic methods to digital experiences can yield myriad benefits that go beyond simply validating that something works or identifying opportunities for improvement, write Jessica Weber and John Cheng of AnswerLab.

Ethnography reveals how digital and physical processes work together to help businesses address gaps and focus on the entire customer experience. Anyone who has done ethnographic research can attest to its value, and to how expensive and time-consuming it can be. That’s why it’s critical to reduce the risk of investing in it. The investment does pay off, and this article presents five techniques to help ensure to make the most of this investment and reap the many rewards ethnography delivers.

1 August 2013

EthnographyMatters on ethnography and education

 

This month’s edition of EthnographyMatters is dedicated to education. Says editor Morgan G. Ames, “ethnography is unique in being able to dig below the surface and uncover the complicated processes and contingent effects of education and education reform.”

Some personal highlights:

Why digital inequality scholarship needs ethnography
by Christo Sims, Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of California, San Diego
Ethnography of a technology-focused public school in New York that inexplicably had many of its less advantaged students transfer out. With his research, Christo was able to say why this was happening and what it means for other efforts for digital inclusion.

Interactive eBooks and reading comprehension – I’ll meet you there
by Sheila Frye, literacy innovation researcher
Research on interactive eBooks, which promote active reading habits – a crucial part of literacy – to children who may not learn this skill otherwise. Sheila uses ethnography to take a close look at both the benefits and the potential drawbacks of interactive eBooks.

Interview with Mizuko ‘Mimi’ Ito
Interview of education, ethnography, and digital inclusion with Mizuko ‘Mimi’ Ito. Mimi has some impressive experience with the topics covered this month: she is the Research Director at the Digital Media and Learning Hub, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Chair in Digital Media and Learning, and a Professor in Anthropology and Informatics at UC Irvine (after getting two PhDs from Stanford).

19 July 2013

The implications of Agile for UX

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Anthropologist Natalie Hanson has written a series of blog posts regarding Agile methods and the implications for user experience work.

Recognizing Agile
List of the top ways to know you’re working in an Agile environment

A brief overview of Agile
Background on what Agile is and the conditions under which it emerged

Principles and practices of Agile
The basics of Agile.

Implications for Researchers
Specific examples about ways that researchers can engage at each of the major stages in the development lifecycle of a software product.

25 June 2013

The culture of borrowing and debt: an ethnographic approach

Shelter_in_Hands-_Web

What are people’s philosophy and attitudes toward loans and debt? And how financial marketers can respond to their basic emotional needs in the lending process?

Americans have a complicated relationship with debt, one that defies easy analysis. That’s why a pair of researchers from Filene, a credit union think tank, chose to study the subject using ethnographic models.

Filene’s report, “The Culture of Borrowing and Debt: An Ethnographic Approach,” set out to tackle two overarching issues: how consumers relate to borrowing and debt, and how financial marketers can respond to those basic borrowing needs. With that in mind, Filene used the following eight questions to guide its research project:

  1. What are people’s philosophy and attitudes toward money, borrowing, and debt?
  2. Does the average consumer understand the loan process, from considering whether to borrow, to obtaining a loan and paying it off?
  3. What is the language consumers use to discuss borrowing and loans?
  4. What are the influences and influencers around borrowing and taking loans?
  5. Who do consumers trust in the lending process, and what creates this trust?
  6. What forms of financial education work and what doesn’t? What can be done to improve consumer understanding of the lending process?
  7. How do members perceive the value of credit union membership?
  8. What is the customer lending experience? What works, what doesn’t, and what needs to be changed?
25 June 2013

Understanding human behaviour: taking a more complex approach

People resting on steps at Piazzale Michelangelo above Arno River and Florence near sunset

Large-scale surveys are useful but if we are serious about changing behaviours, we must use every tool to understand human complexity, writes Steven Johnson in the Sustainable Business section of The Guardian. Ethnographic approaches allow us to observe consumer behaviour as it happens naturally, rather than retrospectively discussing it in research setting.

“Recent advances in behavioural economics, cognitive neuroscience, network theory and social psychology more generally have overturned our common sense understanding of human behaviour. The rational, autonomous, self-aware agent acting in his own self-interest according to static preferences has faded as we realise that behaviour is largely irrational, unconscious and driven by external contexts. Ladies and gentleman, Homo economicus has left the building. [...]

If we are to deliver on our ambitions to empower new consumer behaviours, it is essential that we listen to the science and go beyond the limitations of traditional self-reporting research methodologies as a source of insight. As I have worked to incorporate these new perspectives into my own work over recent years, the emphasis has shifted towards bespoke approaches based on ethnographic and co-creation principles.”

This is the first in a 5-part series of posts based on Steven Johnson’s upcoming book, ‘Considered Creative‘. Steven Johnson is an independent writer, speaker and consultant specialising in behaviour change and sustainability.

6 June 2013

Experientia presentation at EPIC London

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EPIC, the premier international gathering on the current and future practice of ethnography in the business world, just announced the program of its upcoming conference in London (15-18 September) and Experientia is proud to announce that it will be presenting a paper on Monday 16 September.

The paper is entitled “The changing face of healthcare. Using ethnographic methods in dynamic, complex environments” and will be presented by Experientia researchers Anna Wojnarowska and Gina Taha. Together they will discuss an international ethnographic research project that explored the role and impact of mobile devices, particularly tablet computers within healthcare environments in China, England, Germany and the USA.

“The healthcare industry is undergoing significant transition through new technology, rapidly evolving patient and medical practitioner expectations and new challenges and opportunities related to privacy and security. Within this context, the holistic understandings delivered by ethnographic insights are vital for any project seeking to understand the complex intermingled systems of business, service, practice, and technology, and to develop solutions for environments such as hospitals and healthcare centres. This paper will discuss an international ethnographic research project that explored the role and impact of mobile devices, particularly tablet computers within healthcare environments in China, England, Germany and the USA. In addition to the outcomes regarding tablet use, the project also identified important considerations for using ethnographic methods in healthcare environments, and highlighted why a thorough understanding of the organisational and cultural contexts of use and behaviours is particularly vital when designing for this industry. Moreover, strong collaboration between internal company divisions and, more broadly, between the client and the user experience research consultancy enabled a multidisciplinary approach towards the research and the analysis and provided actionable results, understandable by the broad audience of stakeholders and internal employees involved in the implementation process.”

Keynote speakers at EPIC 2013 are Genevieve Bell (anthropologist and Intel Fellow), David Howers (anthropologist, Concordia University, Montreal), Daniel Miller (Professor of Material Culture at the Department of Anthropology, University College London) and Tricia Wang (global tech ethnographer).

1 June 2013

Papers about sense-making and ethnotelling

 

From the Journal of Information Architecture:

Sense-making in Cross-channel Design
Jon Fisher (Nomensa), Simon Norris (Nomensa), and Elizabeth Buie (Luminanze Consulting)
Successful cross-channel user experiences rely upon a strong informational layer that creates understanding amongst users of a service. This pervasive information layer helps users form conceptual models about how the overall experience works (irrespective of the channel in which they reside). This paper explores the early development of a practical framework for the creation of meaningful cross-channel information architectures or “architectures of meaning“. We explore the strategic roles that individual channels can play as well as the different factors that can degrade a user‘s understanding within a cross-channel user experience.

Ethnotelling for User-generated Experiences
Raffaele Boiano, Fondazione Enasarco
This paper focuses on storytelling as a research tool for the social sciences, especially for cultural anthropology. After a short review of the main methodological tools traditionally used in ethnography, with particular regard to observation and interview, we focus on collecting and crafting stories (ethnotelling) as suitable tools for conveying the relational nature of fieldwork. Drawing on the works of Orr, Chipchase, Marradi and Adwan/Bar-on, we show how stories — collected, mediated or made up — are valuable tools for representing experiences and identities. As a result, we suggest a different approach to user-experience design, based on the creation of “thick” environments enabling a whole range of possibilities, where users can imagine or live their own user-generated experiences.

31 May 2013

How Obama used ‘Ethnography Project’ to defeat Mitt Romney in 2012

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Ken Walsh reports on how Team Obama made an unprecedented effort to understand the voters and speak their language, slicing and dicing the electorate with a sophistication and savvy that the Republicans couldn’t match and are still scrambling to replicate.

“The Obama team’s opinion research was led by Joel Benenson, a tough-minded pollster from New York. [...]

In 2012, he succeeded, largely because the depth of his research was so extraordinary. Benenson says his goal as a pollster is “to understand the hidden architecture of opinion” and to “probe deeply into the underlying values and attitudes that shape how people are viewing the issues of the day and the content of their lives.”

One way that Benenson set the Obama campaign apart was through the ethnography project. It was designed as a deep dive into the world of everyday Americans not only to clarify their views on politics but to find insights into their “daily lives,” Benenson told me.

After the responses [to an online questionnaire] were analyzed, nine voters were chosen from among the participants in each of the three states, and they were further divided into groups of three, or “triads.” At that point, detailed interviews were conducted to learn even more about them as individuals.

They were questioned, for example, about their routines, their families, their concerns about the present and their hopes and fears about the future. Each of these sessions lasted about 2 1/2 hours. They were also asked whether Obama deserved to be re-elected, and why.

Benenson says this information, compiled into what he calls “ethno-journals,” was combined with the results of many regular opinion polls and focus groups. The ethnography project produced 1,400 pages of transcripts and data.”

27 May 2013

BBC on exploring and enhancing the TV user experience

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The BBC’s R&D department has been working on how to exploit the interactive functionality now available through connected televisions through a number of projects under themes such as companion screens, authentication, Internet of Things, recommendation services, accessibility and so on.

On Saturday 27th April, at the Universite Paris Dauphine, the team co-chaired a day-long workshop called ‘Exploring and Enhancing the User Experience for Television’ (TVUX).

Check out the Workshop Wiki for a treasure throve of position papers.

27 May 2013

Social networks of mobile money in Kenya

imtfi

Social networks of mobile money in Kenya
Sibel Kusimba, Harpieth Chaggar, Elizabeth Gross, & Gabriel Kunyu
Institute for Money, Technology and Financial Inclusion
University of California, Irvine

With mobile money technologies, people use mobile phones to send money to friends and relatives, connect to bank accounts, and make payments. This research examines the role of mobile money in Kenyans’ social and economic networks. Research reported was conducted in Bungoma and Trans-Nzoia Counties in Kenya, and among Kenyans living in Chicago, Illinois in the summer of 2012.

Although mobile money services are often described as a form of “banking,” most users in Western Kenya use mobile money as a social and economic tool through which they create relationships by sending money and airtime gifts. A wide range of mobile money uses includes social gifting, assisting friends and relatives, organizing savings groups, and contributing to ceremonies and rituals.

Even though mobile money was designed for person-to-person transfers, its practices are best understood as created by collectivities and groups. In savings groups, groups of siblings and other relatives, and communities who contribute to ceremonies, users “save with others” through the entrustment of value to kin and friends and create new groups and communities based around the “floating world” of mobile technology. Individuals balance their social and economic capital in order to create marginal gains and mediate the conflicts created between social obligations and personal economic betterment. Ties to and through mothers are prominent in social networks of mobile money flows. Matrilineal kinship ties are a means of sharing or circulating money among those marginalized from access to other resources and forms of value.

24 May 2013

Interview: “Hosting Todd Harple, INTEL Experience Engineer at ITC-ILO”.

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Some time ago, we suggested to Todd Harple, an anthropologist at Intel, to consider doing his 10 week sabbatical here in Turin at the International Training Center of the International Labor Organization (a United Nations structure).

His sabbatical is now coming to an end and our friends at ITC-ILO have now published an interview with Todd.

24 May 2013

Big Data needs Thick Data

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In the wake of Big Data, ethnographers can offer thick data, says Tricia Wang. In the face of the derisive mention of “anecdotes”, we ought to stand up to defend the value of stories.

“Lacking the conceptual words to quickly position the value of ethnographic work in the context of Big Data, I have begun, over the last year, to employ the term Thick Data to advocate for integrative approaches to research. Thick Data uncovers the meaning behind Big Data visualization and analysis.

Thick Data analysis primarily relies on human brain power to process a small “N” while big data analysis requires computational power (of course with humans writing the algorithms) to process a large “N”. Big Data reveals insights with a particular range of data points, while Thick Data reveals the social context of and connections between data points. Big Data delivers numbers; thick data delivers stories. Big data relies on machine learning; thick data relies on human learning. [...]

Thick Data is the best method for mapping unknown territory. When organizations want to know what they do not already know, they need Thick Data because it gives something that Big Data explicitly does not—inspiration. The act of collecting and analyzing stories produces insights.

When organizations want to know what they do not already know, they need Thick Data because it gives something that Big Data explicitly does not—inspiration. The act of collecting and analyzing stories produces insights.
Stories can inspire organizations to figure out different ways to get to the destination—the insight. If you were going to drive, Thick Data is going to inspire you to teleport. Thick Data often reveals the unexpected. It will frustrate. It will surprise. But no matter what, it will inspire. Innovation needs to be in the company of imagination.”