BiographyI write at the intersection of anthropology and business, with a particular emphasis on the strategic benefits of ethnographic thinking—the thought processes and patterns ethnographers develop through their practice. My work is designed to help teams, companies, and organizations build on the cultural meanings and contexts of their offerings, develop the flexibility to embrace cultural change, and refocus their strategies at critical cultural moments. The goal is to strengthen and advance their positions by helping them understand themselves and others in cultural terms.
I began focusing in this space after observing the dramatic rise of ethnographic research in applied settings. From designers to computer scientists and marketing specialists, many now realize that ethnographic insights can drive the successful development of new products, services, and systems. As an anthropologist, it’s encouraging to see ethnographic methods transform how people innovate across an increasing number of disciplines and practices. Yet, there remains a gap between the often limited uses of ethnography in applied settings and the greater value that ethnographic thinking can provide.
My work is aimed at shifting the value of ethnography from simply identifying consumer needs to using ethnographic thinking as a means of driving a more holistic understanding of a company or organization to help it benefit from a deeper understanding of the dynamic cultural contexts of its offerings. In the process, I hope that my writing helps readers increase appreciation for openness and exploration, hone interpretive skills, and cultivate holistic thinking in order to broaden perspectives, challenge assumptions, and cross-pollinate ideas between differing viewpoints.
Ultimately, I believe that ethnographic thinking can profoundly and permanently re-shape how people see and relate to the world. I’d like my work to help others appreciate how building the skills needed to achieve ethnographic understanding can benefit them in ways that far exceed research findings. I want it to reveal that ethnographic thinking is an unique opportunity to appreciate cultural difference while simultaneously celebrating all that is common in the human experience.
Areas of Research / Professional Expertise
Social Anthropology, Ethnography, Qualitative Research, Research Design, Design Research, Sustainability, Technology