Practicing Anthropology in Design and Business – Portland State University Presentation

These are my slides from a talk I gave at Dr. Jeremy Spoon's undergraduate Applied Anthropology class at Portland State University on May 20th, 2015. In the presentation, I discussed my educational background, academia-to-work transition, work experience, changing perspective on practicing anthropology, and how I currently apply my anthropology training in user experience, design and … Continue reading Practicing Anthropology in Design and Business – Portland State University Presentation

What I’ve been reading lately: the not-so-weekly digest (#5)

Presenting another installment of a collection of most-highly-recommended articles and websites that shaped my thinking throughout the past few weeks on the following topics: design, research, business, organizational culture, technology, careers, and culture [change] and society. Design A panel of UX professionals dish on UX certifications | Elaine Matthias, UX Magazine An interview with Zeesha … Continue reading What I’ve been reading lately: the not-so-weekly digest (#5)

What I’ve been reading lately: the not-so-weekly digest (#3)

Presenting another installment of a collection of most-highly-recommended articles and websites that shaped my thinking throughout the past few weeks on the topics that most excite me right now: design, research, business, technology, food, personal growth, and culture [change] and society. (Note: I decided to try out a new format for the digest that includes … Continue reading What I’ve been reading lately: the not-so-weekly digest (#3)

What I’ve been reading lately: the not-so-weekly digest (#2)

Photo by Isaac Sachs Presenting another installment of a most-highly-recommended collection of articles and websites that shaped my thinking throughout the past few weeks. The articles span across the topics that most excite me at the moment, including research, design, business, technology, food, and culture [change] and society. Research Why do organizations have trouble embracing … Continue reading What I’ve been reading lately: the not-so-weekly digest (#2)

Getting at the Heart of Consumer Understanding: Cheap, Fast and Tactical Isn’t the Answer

As researchers in business, how do we balance insightfulness, depth of thought and rigor with the demands and pace of business decision making? Anthropologist Gavin Johnston shares his thoughts below.

anthrostrategist

Sitting in a meeting not long ago, I couldn’t help overhearing someone comment that the presentation of the rationale for a campaign they had just sat through was too “academic”.  What struck me was the distinction he made between academics and “real businessmen” like himself.  The word “academic” is, of course, loaded but one of the underlying meanings to so many would-be paragons of business is that “academic” means complicated, useless or detached.  Now, while I would be the first to agree that people with an “academic” bent to their work can be prone to laying the jargon on fairly thick at times or wanting to give details that some people might feel aren’t needed, the ones that gain recognition and traction in their field and across disciplines (including business) are anything but detached or lacking in their ability to articulate game-changing product and business solutions.  The practical and the…

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Culture, Pushing Boundaries and Change

The Narcissistic (American) Anthropologist

plant-breaking-through-bricks

Recently in my professional career I have been yet again posed the question of “why study cultural context” – not so much from a “prove your value” perspective but from a “help us sell this stuff” perspective.

I got to thinking about the connection between “values” (broad term for not-so-easy-to-measure sociocultural “stuff”) and value (the “dolla bills”) and how the way we (at my company, in my profession) help create meaningful change by solving human-centric problems.

Essentially it really all comes back to identifying the need for and efficiently managing the process for change.  Change is what helps us grow – both socially and  – in business terms, financially.   And it all comes down to understanding the boundaries so you can bust them.

It took me back to my go-to explanation of the meaning of culture:  what happens when humans collectively respond to constraints (the big stuff on a social…

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Anthropologists in Practice: An Interview with Indigenous Performing Arts Promoter Gordon Bronitsky

Anthropologists in Practice is an ongoing series of interviews featuring anthropologists (and professionals with anthropology training) who work outside of the academy. The goal of the series is to provide a source of information and inspiration to other practitioners and (potential) students of anthropology, and to illustrate the wide variety of jobs, skills and competencies … Continue reading Anthropologists in Practice: An Interview with Indigenous Performing Arts Promoter Gordon Bronitsky