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How ethnography helps product design
 

How ethnography helps product design

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Slides from my lecture to an MBA marketing class at the Schulich School of Business, York University

Slides from my lecture to an MBA marketing class at the Schulich School of Business, York University

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  • Full Name Full Name Comment goes here.
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  • 'Verstehen' is the sociological term for 'understanding.' Deep understanding of a product's eventual
    'world' will help you design products and services that are culturally meaningful.
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  • Product designers often see the objects they design as singular, isolated objects. They will focus on the grain of the wood, for example, or the shape of the hammer's head. These are all important, but they are not the 'world' where the product will eventually live.

    This hampers a product designer's ability to think creatively about what they're designing.

    In this presentation, I argue that a 'hammer' lives in its own world, full of people, other hammers, weather, buildings and all kinds of 'involvements and attachments.'

    Ethnography helps us understand what that world is about. It uncovers the hammer's 'social network,' as it were.
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    How ethnography helps product design How ethnography helps product design Presentation Transcript

    • Open to New Worlds: Product Development, Ethnography, and Creativity
      Guest Lecture MKT6440
      Schulich School of Business
    • Copernicus Consulting is a social research company that specializes in uncovering social insights, creating design and marketing strategies, and aligning organizations to realize those strategies.
    • Understanding Social Context
    • What is ethnography?
      A method, a product
      Immersive
      Extended period of time
      Often focused on a particular culture
    • Ethnography is observing
      Denver, CO: Scooters in local supermarket: represents shoppers’ need to avoid walking while shopping
      Toronto, Ontario: Intentional manipulation of corporate logo: symbolizes resistance.
    • Ethnography is interviewing
      Or in a “foreign” culture
      Can happen in a workplace “culture”
      Or in a domestic “culture”
      Photo Courtesy of Underwhelmer, Flickr
    • Case studies
      Corporate Ethnography
      Employs 24 full-time ethnographers who helped design a computer with a dust filter and runs off a car battery for use in India
      Ethnography in Asia and Africa lead to “image only” cell phone design, multiple address books, and long battery life
      Researched how consumers in developing countries deal with diabetes. Uncovered unmet needs in diabetes treatment.
    • Case Study: Prada shopping
      Corporate Ethnography
      Embedded RFID tags in clothes so shoppers can easily find complete outfits
      Created frosted glass doors for changing rooms that turn to windows at the touch of a button
      Mirrors have a 5-second delay allowing shoppers to see the view from behind
    • Why does ethnography help companies innovate?
      “Ethnography may start by exploring the experience of those directly involved in the institutional setting, but they are not the object of investigation. It is the aspects of the institutions relevant to the people's experience, not the people themselves, that constitute the inquiry.”
      Smith, Dorothy. 2005. Institutional Ethnography: A Sociology for People. New York: Altamira.
      We learn how people interact with our business, our brand, and our bureaucracy, from their point of view.
    • Corporate Ethnography Step-by-Step
    • Developing a better service
    • What new product would you develop?
      Overall customer satisfaction rose
      Yet loyalty did not increase…why?
    • What you learn from ethnography
    • What you can learn from ethnography
    • Sam Ladner, PhD
      Copernicus Consulting
      sladner@copernicusconsulting.net
      http://copernicusconsulting.net
      @sladner