Culture: You're Soaking In It


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Culture is everywhere we look, and (perhaps more importantly) everywhere we don’t look. It informs our work, our purchases, our usage, our expectations, our comfort, and our communications (indeed, if you aren’t familiar with a specific geographic and historical set of experiences, the presumably clever title for this talk will instead be perhaps bland). In this presentation, Steve will explore the ways we can experience, observe, and understand diverse cultures to foster successful collaborations, usable products, and desirable experiences.

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Culture: You're Soaking In It

  1. 1. Culture: You’re Soaking In It @ steveportigal
  2. 2. Today’s Session <ul><li>Highlight the power of the cultural lens </li></ul><ul><ul><li>We can observe artifacts of culture </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>We can use culture to inform design process </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Not a “how-to” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>We’ll have lots of examples </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You tell me how it impacts your work </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Q&A at the end </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>Portigal Consulting is a bite-sized California firm that helps companies discover and act on new insights about their customers and themselves </li></ul>
  4. 4. American Lens on Global Experiences Amsterdam Kyoto London Paris Bangalore Taipei California Istanbul Indonesia
  5. 5. American Lens on Global Experiences Amsterdam Kyoto London Paris Bangalore Taipei Toronto Istanbul Indonesia Canadian
  6. 6. What is Culture?
  7. 7. What is Culture?
  8. 8. Culture <ul><li>How a group of people make sense of the world </li></ul><ul><li>Common </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Experiences </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Beliefs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Knowledge </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Values </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Attitudes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Behaviors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Meanings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Patterns </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Symbols </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Common Ground <ul><li>Those of us here today don’t all have a common cultural perspective </li></ul>Godel explained that you couldn’t fully describe a system from within that system. Today we’re going to describe multiple systems from in and out of another set of systems. He may be spinning in his grave.
  10. 10. You’re Soaking In It?
  11. 11. Madge <ul><li>Jan Miner played the “Madge the manicurist” in Palmolive ads for 27 years </li></ul><ul><li>Is Madge an example of culture? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Advertising is obviously pop culture </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“You’re Soaking In It” and the accompanying gesture represents a shared experience from a time and place </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Madge: The Cultural Bridge Francoise Tilly Marissa Madge Madge
  13. 13. Beyond Manicures: Cultures We Care About <ul><li>Regional cultures – different places </li></ul><ul><li>User/customer cultures – different groups of people </li></ul><ul><li>Company/profession cultures – different organizations </li></ul>
  14. 14. But First: Cultural Norms <ul><li>Articulates what is normal </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Seen in artifacts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Media </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Products </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Advertisements </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Street culture </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Trends and fads </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Normal isn’t “right or wrong” – it’s the set of background rules that define much of what people choose or ignore </li></ul>
  15. 15. What is Normal?
  16. 18. Ethnography and Technology Reveal Norms <ul><li>People assert their own normalcy by verbally distancing themselves from the end-points of the normal curve </li></ul><ul><ul><li>We hear these stories over and over </li></ul></ul><ul><li>New technologies (especially those that enable new, visible behaviors) are often met with distrust </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Society “sanctions” people who violate these norms </li></ul></ul>Thinking someone is weird or a jerk is a manifestation of the norms of one’s society. What is weird in one age may eventually become normal over time. People who are too… People who are too… Me
  17. 19. Regional Cultures
  18. 20. Justin Guariglia on Planet Shanghai
  19. 26.
  20. 27. User/Customer Cultures Flickr: anikarenina
  21. 28. User/Customer Cultures
  22. 29. User/Customer Cultures
  23. 30. Company Cultures Belkin, 1982 Belkin, 1983 Belkin, 2010
  24. 31. Company Cultures <ul><li>Communication tools </li></ul><ul><li>Communication preferences </li></ul><ul><li>“ Speed” </li></ul><ul><li>Decision-making styles </li></ul><ul><li>Hierarchical/flat </li></ul><ul><li>Shared beliefs </li></ul><ul><li>Natural language </li></ul><ul><li>Internally/externally oriented </li></ul>Uncover ’ em. Work with ’ em. Work around ’ em. Change ’ em. You can’t ignore ’em, though! Company culture on display in an employee’s cubicle
  25. 32. Profession Cultures
  26. 33. Profession Cultures
  27. 34. Profession Cultures
  28. 35. Profession Cultures
  29. 36. Profession Cultures
  30. 37. Profession Cultures
  31. 38. Profession Cultures
  32. 39. Profession Cultures
  33. 40. Profession Cultures
  34. 41. Not Yet Time to Eat
  35. 42. Using Culture for Design <ul><li>User research goes beyond </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What features do people want? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What do they like or dislike about our current service or prototype? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Where is the ideal button placement? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Which version reduces error rates? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What are the three personas to share with our marketing team? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>…to collect cultural data </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What do they care about? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Where are people trying to accomplish? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What do people have in common? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How are people making sense of their world? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Design doesn’t just fix known problems, it addresses cultural insights </li></ul><ul><li>Answers to “How can we help people to…?” </li></ul><ul><li>This is a way to innovate </li></ul>
  36. 43. Practice Observing Culture <ul><li>With these examples, think about your own experiences with culture </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Is this outside your norm? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is this something you have an analog for in your own culture? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is it your own culture? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Have you observed this? Or something similar? </li></ul></ul>
  37. 44.                                               
  38. 45.                                               
  39. 69. The Native Effect
  40. 70. Collect Your Own Stories
  41. 71. Collect Your Own Stories
  42. 72. Collect Your Own Stories
  43. 73. Collect Your Own Stories
  44. 74. Collect Your Own Stories
  45. 75. Bringing More Culture into the Organization
  46. 76. Company Culture Meets Customer Culture Executives at Harley-Davidson are also Harley riders, and spend time with their consumers. There is no distinction between executives, dealers, and consumers. They are all part of the same group of authentic enthusiasts. Clif Bar founders are passionate about outdoor activities and environmentalism. They are actively involved and encourage their customers to join them in their efforts, enabling people to be more active and reach their aspirations.
  47. 77. What About Changing Culture? <ul><li>From A Good Way to Change a Corporate Culture , Peter Bregman, HBR blog </li></ul><ul><li>To start a culture change we need to do two simple things: </li></ul><ul><li>1. Do dramatic story-worthy things that represent the culture we want to create. Then let other people tell stories about it. </li></ul><ul><li>2. Find other people who do story-worthy things that represent the culture we want to create. Then tell stories about them. </li></ul><ul><li>We can change our stories and be changed by them. </li></ul>
  48. 78. What About Changing Culture? <ul><li>Flickr user dougbelshaw </li></ul>
  49. 79. Inauthenticity Dooms Culture Change Projects
  50. 80. I AM CANADIAN
  51. 81. One new thing I learned today is… I’ve got an example I’d like to share! Yeah, I’ve got a question for ya…
  52. 82. @steveportigal [email_address] +1-415-894-2001 Portigal Consulting Thank You!