Three posts by Simon Roberts (?) explore the rise, fall and possible futures of ethnography in commercial settings.
Ethnography, magpies and shiny things
The first piece explores how ethnography fell victim of the enduring quest for fashion and the need to differentiate in market research. The market research industry commoditized ethnography and failed to capitalise on its potential. As a result, ethnography has become at best weakened, at worst sidelined in favour of newer, vogue ideas and approaches. It’s not just a lament – but a call for reinvigoration.
Ethnography in a parallel world
The second piece explores contexts in which ethnography has been used to greater potential – and chart the threats it now faces. It is a story of the rise and rise ethnography in contexts outside of market research where its application was more sophisticated and delivered more.
The third will attempt a resolution of the first two posts – charting a course for the future as a vital tool for businesses (and others) in their on-going attempts to understand and engage with a complex world.