BiographyI am a researcher and educator working at the intersection of anthropology, design, and business. My ethnographic study of process formalization and the relationship between innovation and formalization at a Tier One automotive supplier focused on the social and organizational dimensions of innovation processes. As a design anthropologist, my work is explicitly interventionist and transformative, which allows me to engage in all phases of the design process. My research interests include socio-technical systems and the ways in which sociality and culture influence the design and adoption/adaptation of new products, processes, and technologies. I am is also interested in communication and knowledge flows, especially between diverse groups, and collaborative innovation networks (COINs). I am currently a Co-PI on an NSF study of Ethics in STEM research (“A Bottom-Up Approach to Enhancing a Culture of Responsible Research and Practice in STEM” NSF Award #1635661). Our goal in this project is to design an alternative to traditional ethics education that incorporates a series of group conversations within STEM labs that allow ethical concerns to emerge, be examined, and articulated in a set of locally crafted guidelines that reflect the ethical culture of the lab.
Areas of Research / Professional Expertise
Design anthropology, business and organizational anthropology, ethics, design research
Recent publication: Research in and through Design: Prototypes as Forms of Investigation to Explore Energy Efficiency in
By: Christine Miller
Subjects: Anthropology - Soc Sci, Economics, Finance, Business & Industry, Environment and Sustainability
In process publication (Dialectic 2019)
This case study explores the changing nature of design practice through a project focused on the sociotechnical system of energy distribution and consumption. The case involves a diverse set of stakeholders and variables that constitute public and private sector efforts to drive persistent gains in energy efficiency. As such, the case reflects a central theme of the AIGA Designer 2025 that “Design challenges exist at the level of systems and involve elements and forces in constantly changing relationships.” Specifically, the challenge posed to designers by utility provider Peoples Gas and their energy efficiency implementation contractor, Franklin Energy, was to identify ways to increase energy efficiency (EE) program effectiveness within low income communities in Chicago with the ultimate goal of scaling up viable design solutions. Phase 1 of the project involved a multiple disciplinary prototyping course of design, business and engineering students at Illinois Tech’s Institute of Design. Phase 2, a graduate practicum, was tasked with validating and developing one of the Phase 1 solutions.
 Peoples Gas is a provider of natural gas to more than 845,000 customers in the city of Chicago. Franklin Energy, a Peoples Gas contractor, is a provider of grid optimization services.
By: Christine Miller
Subjects: Anthropology - Soc Sci