Some traditional Japanese service businesses such as certain ryokan inns and sushi restaurants have survived and thrived for generations. What makes them so special and enduring?
In innovative service, it is essential to build up and deliver a wide range of “hidden benefits” that create and maintain brand loyalty among users. While it is the grand attractions and famous characters that pull millions every year to Disney theme parks, the actual positive experience most guests have there is also the result of many small, carefully designed “below the surface” elements that help Disney deliver fun and satisfaction. These things are hard to identify and explain but also hard to copy. This workshop highlights the hidden touch points developed by some long-established, traditional businesses in Japan (called “Shinise” in Japanese) in order to deliver the hidden benefits that result in a superior, high value customer experience that is hard for competitors to imitate.
Under pressure from market uncertainties, companies across industries are struggling to anticipate changes in the socio-cultural landscape that will affect future business. In this climate, ethnographers are challenged to develop tools that help industry leaders envision and adapt to change.
This workshop exposes participants to tools that will help them envision future developments. These include a trends timeline, scenario map, and scenario table. Participants will learn about, discuss, and help develop these tools as well as learn techniques for mapping possible futures.
How might ethnographic research become more collaborative, cross-disciplinary and scalable? Can global networks of ethnographers be created, maintained and harnessed to gather real-time insights to pressing research questions? During this workshop, teams will conduct fieldwork in and around one of Tokyo’s newest and most popular shopping centers to examine the topic of designing for services in international contexts.
One of the enduring value propositions of ethnographic research is that it facilitates a deep understanding of the needs and expectations of “users.” In practice, however, our understanding of users is often very narrow. Typically, researchers conceptualize users as individuals who interact with something both directly and deliberately. This normative view overlooks the diverse range of interactions and experiences associated with products, services and environments. (Consider, for example, the many ways that people “experience” someone else’s mobile phone when it is being used in a restaurant or on a train.)
The reality is that most of the things we design are “used” in one way or another by a wide range of people whose experiences we probably didn’t carefully consider. These diverse users might be curious onlookers and voyeurs at the periphery of someone else’s interaction. Or they might be spouses, friends, colleagues, strangers, or anyone else drawn into an interactive role that they (and we) did not imagine or anticipate. Understanding these broader experiences can reveal opportunities to extend the value of products and services to larger audiences, optimize designs for varied social environments, and positively influence receptivity to product and service innovations.
This workshop will question the normative conceptualization of the direct and deliberate user. Its goal is to drive toward a more complex theorization of user ecosystems that takes account of multiple and diverse forms of engagement with design artifacts – engagements that are unintentional as well as intentional, indirect as well as direct, undesired as well as desired. In the workshop we will consider case studies presented by the organizer and by two pre-selected attendee presenters. Participants will discuss their own experiences in the field and compare case studies described by fellow participants from different parts of the world. In the latter half of the workshop participants will work in small, culturally diverse, breakout groups to generate models of multi-positioned user ecosystems and explore methodologies for gaining insight into the needs, experiences, and implications of all subjects who engage, in one way or another, the artifacts that we design.
Simplicity is power. How can we transmit and translate something that’s complex in a simple way?
Rich visualizations allow for complexity to become an aspect of immersion. Different reading levels involve a viewer differently, progressively presenting more detail. Complexity in a well-designed visualization becomes an issue of scale. Think of one of those detailed diagrams, the ones that are sometimes referred to as explosions. In those, one can appreciate all the parts of a car and see where they fit, how they interact, etc. The same can (and has been applied to ethnographic research).
Once upon a time, business folk saw truth mostly in numbers. For many a decision maker in the not so distant past, if a research finding didn’t have a number attached to it, the validity of that finding was called into question. Happily, for members of the EPIC community, business folk now see truth in lots of ways: stories, photos, video, quotes, anecdotes, sketches, conceptual frameworks, and more. This is the result of the hard and impactful work of many from our community, and speaks to the growing relevance we have within the industries we serve.
Throughout this journey to industry relevance, we have frequently positioned ourselves as entirely alternative (and sometimes better) than quantitative approaches. However, in recent years, advances in digital ethnographic methodologies have started to blur the line between qual and quant, both in terms of execution and analysis. In the spirit the conference theme for 2010, this workshop calls for members of the EPIC community to expand our notion of our community, our understanding of our collaborative set, and challenge the EPIC growth trajectory. The workshop is intended to start the conversation about the value of occasionally “marrying” ethnography to quantitative research, and learning how to love their offspring.
W7: They just don't get it: Strategies, tools, and best practices for explaining ethnography to stakeholders
Ethnography is a popular buzzword, broadly used but poorly understood – and even harder to explain. Furthermore, ethnography is driven by the logic of discovery, not verification. Ethnographers don’t bring their preconceived notions to the settings they study; they don’t want to predict just what will be discovered before fieldwork has begun. While the inductive nature of ethnographic research is its strength, this very strength makes it challenging to explain the benefits to folks who operate in business environments where managers pre-set their targets.
The goal of this workshop is to share and leverage each other’s experiences in explaining what ethnography is. The benefit for participants is to be able to anticipate and address challenging questions about ethnography, as well as fill in gaps about how best to explain it. The target audience is (1) ethnographers who are stumped or frustrated with repeatedly answering the hard questions, and (2) anybody who wants to clarify his or her understanding of ethnography.
W8: What we learned from the man with the missing toe: 3 principles to enrich your practice in any environment
While there remains vestigial debate about what constitutes authentic ethnography in some circles, we believe the term mandates a specific orientation, which we might call the “way” of ethnography, yet is expansive enough to include observational and participatory research in many different social spheres. This workshop is intended as a forum for discussing participants’ experiences of applying an ethnographic worldview in their research, and also for challenging us to consider how it opens up new ways of thinking about research in highly diverse settings.
Ethnographic researchers are often more at home in the field than in organizational settings, and designers in the open studio. We often see competing internal goals trump insights from effective research-based design proposals, presentations and reports. The Strategic Dialogue workshop prepares participants with tools for organizing collaborative stakeholder workshops that help you establish joint ownership of the meaning of research.
This workshop introduces participants to collaborative sensemaking methods effective for creating strategic proposals following research in business and innovation contexts. The Toolkit presents methods developed and selected for their effectiveness following exploratory research, when a business or product strategy is required, yet still emergent and malleable.
Ethnographic data can be very effective in helping organizations innovate. While it often takes weeks or months to collect and analyze ethnographic data, much of the work that needs to be done comes afterwards, meeting with and sharing insights with stakeholders to ensure that the data has lasting impact. One way to generate change from ethnographic data is to use it in a workshop setting. But how do you conduct a workshop that is really well received and effective?
How do you capture difficult situations, peoples’ reflections on the fly and very moments that may be difficult to share during fieldwork/field visits, without intruding the informant's most personal spaces? Video in the hand of the person enables to capture such situations which makes it an empowering tool while conducting a design research. In addition, as videos bring in so much information from one of the most intimate moments of their lives, the tool also provides a creative and co-creative means and its formant and dimension supports a shift from treating people as ‘informant’s to ‘participants.’
During the workshop, we will share our experiences utilizing the video clips in the research; and as a part of the workshop, we will run an exercise which we let our audience experience two primary recording approaches: Auto-Video approach, in which informants self-records the footage, and Videographer approach, in which researchers will be recording by shadowing interviewing or accompanying informants. Depending on the number of participants and the groups we could form in the workshop, we will digress the approaches we use in the exercise in further detail.
You may have experienced fieldwork in a foreign country during which you appeared to keep missing the very essence of what you observed without even noticing it.
How can we get the most out of our next cross-cultural fieldwork?
How could we do it better?
Our workshop will walk you through typical obstacles of cross-cultural fieldwork, and will let us together describe a framework for effective observation methods in cross-cultural studies.