Thought Leadership

  • An Uneasy Truce - Over the past few decades, much has been written about the ways in which project teams bring technologies to market. In this context, social scientists typically partner with specialized designers to bring their research and new concepts to life in a way that is consumable by a variety of team members, including engineers and data scientists. This paper explores one such collaboration, and describes the challenging conditions that team members face — both in their work context and with their peers — in imagining and building a commercially viable software product.
  • Collaboration by Design - In the opening keynote for UX Camp Chicago, I spoke integration and amplification. How do we deepen our focus on interdisciplinary collaboration, in order to deliver better experiences and - ultimately - better business outcomes.
  • Think Big Thoughts - In 2006, I was interviewed by Spencer Ante at BusinessWeek for an article they called The Science of Desire.  The article focused on the ways ethnographic research was being used to shape an understanding of customers.  I was quoted in one of the sidebars (top left box in the image below). At the time, I […]
  • A New UX Maturity Model - As mentioned in my earlier post, for at least ten years now I have been collecting User Experience (UX) and Customer Experience (CX) Maturity Models.  I’ve never really been completely satisfied with the ones I’ve found, and the main reason has been that I felt that the framework and level of detail was not appropriate […]
  • Analytics & Behavior Change - On Wednesday this week, PM360 featured my article about analytics and behavior change on the front page of their site.  PM360 is a site targeted at product managers and marketers in the pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device industries.  The Panorama eBulletin has a circulation of 17K and is read online by more than 43K unique […]
  • Origins of anthrodesign - Anthrodesign is an active online community of about 3000 practicing social scientists and interested colleagues from other disciplines.  The focus of our dialogue is on the use of ethnographic methods in non-academic contexts.  I created the listserv in 2002, and many of the reasons for its founding are the same reasons it continues to be so […]
  • Themes in Ethnographic Research - A few days ago, I had the opportunity to meet the design research community of practice at Fjord (the design firm acquired by Accenture) in Chicago.  I was asked to speak to them about how anthropologists approach ethnographic research in a way that might be interesting or instructive for design research professionals. ZS competes with […]
  • UX is not a subset of CX - [This article was originally posted on ZS Associates’ CX Factor blog.] User Experience (UX) isn’t just about user interface design (though many conflate the two). Rather, the field is a convergence of art and science, including design, ergonomics and human factors engineering, the social sciences, and more. As a domain, UX has matured rapidly. Undergraduates […]
  • The Handbook of Business Anthropology - Today I got a first glimpse at the announcement for the Handbook of Business Anthropology, edited by Rita M. Denny and Patricia L. Sunderland.  It will be available in May, but they are accepting pre-orders now with a 50% discount.  You can review the Table of Contents, and if you’re interested in buying your own […]
  • Agile – Implications for UX Research - This Part 4 of a 4-Part series on Agile. As I mentioned earlier, one of the pleasures of working in both Lean and Agile working environments is that it’s extremely flexible, adaptable, and emergent.  There is lots of room for experimentation!  However, that also means that the summary in my prior posts is by no means exhaustive. It […]
  • User Experience & Lean - Over the past few years I’ve written a few times about SAP’s internal transformation efforts.  We just pre-announced record Q2 results yesterday (35%+ growth in all regions – go SAP!), and so I thought it fitting to return to the topics of growth and change and talk a little bit about the good things that […]
  • Performance of commitment - I am really starting to read in earnest again, as much as my schedule permits with the two kids and a crazy busy work life.  Over the weekend I configured an RSS reader and refreshed the list of blogs I’m following.  For a long time, most of the compelling blogs I was reading were related […]
  • Sustaining Stories - Abstract Ethnographers, in a sense, play the role of story creators and storytellers.  For “in-house” ethnographers engaged in the long-term work of making sense of and contributing to organizations, a challenge emerges: discovering and managing the retrospective and prospective meaning of their storytelling. The narratives produced in these contexts – and the fieldwork from which […]
  • Consuming Work, Producing Self – Chapter Summaries - This dissertation will describe the how practices of employee control in the corporation reflect both the changing global context and specific, local forces at play in one U.S. high tech corporation.  The chapters are organized to some degree around Foucault’s four arenas of power (see pages 7 through 10 of the Introduction), though there are almost […]

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