Across the Wall: Ethnographers and Technologists at Work Together

Across the Wall: Ethnographers and Technologists at Work Together

Panel Participants

  • Natalie Hanson, SAP (Organizer & Chair)
  • Jill Boncek and Jeff Pierce, Pitney Bowes
  • Brigitte Jordan and Richard Tyo, Intel
  • Tracey Lovejoy and Nelle Steele, Microsoft

Session Abstract

More and more, corporate decision makers and technologists recognize the value of ethnographic insights. As a consequence, there is an ever-increasing demand for ethnographic expertise in corporate settings.  This Roundtable is comprised of three ethnographer-technologist teams who have been involved in the design and development of new technologies, processes, products and services.  All of us are struggling with the issues that arise in the high-tech arena, where traditional ethnographic methods are expected to drive business objectives.

At our Roundtable we propose to share some of our recent experiences and engage with the audience in exploring the kinds of issues that turn up routinely in our work. Among the questions that we expect to address are the following:

  • What led up to the engagement between ethnographer(s) and technologist(s)?  This will serve as an introduction to Roundtable participants. What were the mutual expectations?
  • How have those expectations evolved?
  • How have team structure and process evolved over time, why, and what impact have these changes had?  How do different perspectives impact collaboration?
  • What preliminary lessons can we draw at this point?  How can we increase the value of anthropology in technical and business applications?  How can we help technologists and their managers better understand the true potential of ethnography?

Given the salience of these topics on both sides of The Wall, we expect a lively exchange among rroundtable participants that, with major audience participation, should substantially advance the dialogue between ethnographers and their corporate sponsors.

One Comment on “Across the Wall: Ethnographers and Technologists at Work Together

  1. Pingback: Origins of anthrodesign | Natalie Hanson

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