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Tools of Ethnographic Analysis in Service Design

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Talk at Source, Deloitte Digital Melbourne.

Service design is a genuinely multi-disciplinary enterprise that borrows methods and thoughts from a wide spectrum of fields. Service designers work on problems from discovery to solution, which requires a good understanding of different stages and a capability to switch the mode of thinking between analytical and creative.

Framing the problem, getting users right and proceeding with the right insights is often crucial for the success of a service design project. Methods of ethnographic research are often used in the insight part of the projects, but the tools of analysis are applied more rarely.

Aim of this talk was to present some analytical tools of ethnographic research and social sciences that could provide new viewpoints into the process of crafting insights.

Published in: Design
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Tools of Ethnographic Analysis in Service Design

  1. 1. Tools of Ethnographic Analysis in Crafting Insights Contact information Taneli Heinonen mail@taneliheinonen.com +358 44 358 4433
  2. 2. Different fields of building insights Big data and quant research Behavioral economics Deep insights of human sciences Customer / consumer / user / human insights •  Large data sets •  Recorded online behavior •  Experimentations •  Studying different rationalities •  Studying the quality of experience •  Cultural “why” behind rationalities
  3. 3. Different fields of building insights Big data and quant research Behavioral economics Deep insights of human sciences Customer / consumer / user / human insights •  Large data sets •  Recorded online behavior •  Experimentations •  Studying different rationalities •  Studying the quality of experience •  Cultural “why” behind rationalities
  4. 4. My background – building bridges from social sciences to business and design Work experience: •  Insight Delivery, Education, research and consulting •  Diagonal, Insight Specialist in a service design agency •  Gemic, consultant and ethnographer in an innovation consultancy •  Eximia, teacher of sociology and a marketing assistant in an education company Education: •  Lund University, MA Applied Cultural Analysis •  University of Helsinki, B.Soc.Sc., Sosiology Taneli Heinonen, Insight Delivery
  5. 5. Companies and projects during the past year Deloitte took service design into their portfolio in Finland – I’ve been working with them on the few first projects. Demos Helsinki is a think tank and I’ve helped them in building a new service concept for social housing company. Skog Helsinki is a new creative insight agency and I’ve helped them in getting few of their first projects and working on them. JPY is the association for the professional soccer players in Finland. I’ve organized workshops and helped them build their strategy for the next three years. Design for Government is a course organized by Aalto University. I’ve been part of staff coaching the multi- disciplinary student teams in the course. Laurea University of Applied Sciences has a Master’s program in Service Innovation and Design and I’ve been teaching two courses: Methods of Service Design & Deep Customer Insights. Insight Design Ethnography Quantitative research Psychology Visual design UX Interior design Business design Storytelling Market research Semiotics
  6. 6. Insights need to be relevant for a) strategic level and b) concept development •  Good consumer insight is not just a piece of data or a market research finding. •  Good insights explain the world of the consumer by interpreting research data. •  Good insights introduce frictions in the world of consumers. •  Good insights are relevant for the business challenge at hand.
  7. 7. Analytical approach of social sciences fuels the creative process when it is rigorously executed and well communicated Insight part of the design process has five stages: 1. Discover 2. Define 1. Re-framing the problem What are we trying to understand? What is this all about from the perspective of people and culture? 2. Designing the research What will be the research questions? What kind of methods should be used? 3. Empirical research How to apply the methods in the real world? How to document and map the data? 4. Analysis What is the data telling us? How should we make sense of it? 5. Communication What does the analysis mean for the creative task at hand? What kind of opportunities can we see? Insight delivery point
  8. 8. Analytical approach of social sciences fuels the creative process when it is rigorously executed and well communicated Insight part of the design process has five stages: 1. Discover 2. Define 1. Re-framing the problem What are we trying to understand? What is this all about from the perspective of people and culture? 2. Designing the research What will be the research questions? What kind of methods should be used? 3. Empirical research How to apply the methods in the real world? How to document and map the data? 4. Analysis What is the data telling us? How should we make sense of it? 5. Communication What does the analysis mean for the creative task at hand? What kind of opportunities can we see? Insight delivery point
  9. 9. Analytical Mindset Creative Mindset From data to analysis “Analysis is the process of observing and breaking down a complex topic or substance into smaller parts to gain a better understanding of it.”

  10. 10. Language Kinship & social organization Objects Distribution of work Economic circulation Recreation Games Food and nutrition Gender roles Law and rules Myths Aiming at Thick Descriptions
  11. 11. Ethnography in modern settings – studying different social worlds Photo credits: National Eye Institute. Flickr.com.  
  12. 12. Studying the experiences in different worlds: properties vs. aspects •  Data points as facts vs. experiencing the aspects •  Biological sex vs. cultural gender (masculinity – femininity) •  Properties of entities vs. relationships between people and brands/people •  Correctness vs. truth •  Detached vs. embedded •  Believe in conclusive facts vs. doubt in “near truths” •  Ethnography as making something familiar strange – and strange familiar
  13. 13. User - service Multiplicity of roles – multiplicity of services helping and hindering Service design affects different relations
  14. 14. Role – The Presentation of the Self in Everyday Life Props Framed situations Backstage Frontstage Audiences Role is not something unreal – we are what we present, and the roles and stages change over the course of our days. Roles are combinations of normative expectations towards the behavior of a person in the role. Roles are always connected to other roles. (teacher – pupil) Impression management
  15. 15. What Can We Try to Understand •  Look for experiences of conflicting role expectations – How can we mitigate these? •  Look for situations and rituals where people swithc roles – What happens? How can we smoothen the transformations? •  Look for props and tools that are failing the role – How do we support people in maintaining their face? •  Look for how people enter different roles – What is ascribed, achieved, wanted, unwanted? How do we support the dynamics?
  16. 16. Fields and capitals – different social realms and how we compete in them Economic •  Wealth and economic power. •  What you have? Cultural Social •  Internalized skills and capabilities. •  Material cultural objects. •  Institutionalized degrees. •  What you know and how can you present that? •  Networks and relations that provide social responsibilities and entitlements. •  Who you know and how can you use that?
  17. 17. •  Look for the fields and positions in the fields related to the research problem – What are the rules of the field and how do we help people to follow or break them in a fruitful way? •  Look for the uphill battles in the fields – Where can we leverage the meaningful change from? •  Look for the types of capital people gather and apply – How can we support them in their endeavours? What can we try to understand
  18. 18. Access to aspects of urban space that provide good experiences, help save time and translate into other types of capital. •  Proximity to interesting ”third places” such as cafes and restaurants •  Proximity to local services such as grocery stores, health services, schools, recreational activities etc. •  Beautiful architecture and visibility of the history of the place •  Access to nature Example of a new concept: Spatial Capital
  19. 19. Case Example from Helsinki: Middle aged men who don’t use the public health services Starting point: A huge health gap between the different socio-economical groups of men. Especially middle aged men passive in suing health services and the main group suffering of national diseases, diabetes 2 and hypertension. Where do we want to be: Have a better understanding of the gap in order to find means of making it smaller –engaging people with the public healthcare services and healthier lifestyles.
  20. 20. Case Example from Helsinki: Middle aged men who don’t use the public health services Finding the people: Men outside of occupational health care. Day shift – groups of men spending time in the neighborhood pubs of the suburbs. Forms of capital Social capital – network around the place for advice, support and discussion. Group supports freedom and masculinity. Cultural capital – knowledge and skills – no health-related discussions or knowledge.
  21. 21. Case Example from Helsinki: Middle aged men who don’t use the public health services Roles: Traditional independent masculinity – fixing working-man ethics. Body as a machine – or something you work with. (not on) Collision of roles and settings: Negative attitudes towards health care – feminine, patronizing, “guessing-centres” that try to tell you how to live Clean white walls, waiting rooms, white jackets – tools used on you (not by yourself) – making a fuss of “small problems”
  22. 22. Case example: Taking healthcare to the neighborhood pubs in Helsinki
  23. 23. Case example: Taking healthcare to the neighborhood pubs in Helsinki Municipality of Helsinki, health care 1.  Ethnographic research Understanding and mapping the relations of the passive middle aged men to health and health care. Fieldwork – the day shift – in the pubs of Eastern Helsinki. 2. Co-creation Discussion the possibilities for bringing health to the everyday agenda through the pubs. Discussions with the bartenders and customers. 3. Service prototyping Pilot of a light health service taking place in two pubs every second week for two hours. Blood sugar and pressure measurements and possibility for discussions with health care students. http://www.uppsatser.se/uppsats/55a5fdaa92/
  24. 24. RECAP: Study aspects and relations When looking for patterns consider for example: •  ROLES: What kind of roles are present – what kind of other roles are they connected to? •  FIELDS: What kind of social worlds are present? What kind of fields there are? •  CAPITAL: How do people compete on those fields? What forms of capital do they gather and apply?
  25. 25. Some people and books behind these thoughts Clifford Geertz Pierre Bourdieu Bronislaw Malinowski Erving Goffman Bruno Latour
  26. 26. Insight Delivery By Taneli Heinonen Thank you for your interest. Feel free to contact me anytime. Contact information Taneli Heinonen mail@taneliheinonen.com +358 44 358 4433

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