Interdisciplinary Collaboration

Early in my career, I worked in many roles where I was the lone expert on a given topic.  As a result, I became interested in how to collaborate effectively across disciplinary boundaries.  This curiosity led to me to form anthrodesign in 2002.

To celebrate the 15 year anniversary of the list, I wrote a blog post describing my reasons for creating it, and what the future might hold.  In short, I feel as though the list has done a wonderful job fostering dialogue between social scientists working in business.  That was a huge and necessary gap that needed to be filled, and I’m so glad I had a chance to be a part of it.  However, I still feel like we haven’t made as much progress working across disciplinary boundaries as I would have hoped.

One of the early inspirations in my work was the writing of Diana Forsythe. She was trained both as an anthropologist and as a Human Computer Interaction (HCI) expert.  Her writings (which I’ve documented in a bibliography) were extremely influential in helping me understand the challenges that co-workers face in communicating effectively across their domains of expertise.


As I focused more deeply on User Experience, I became interested in the way that research and design methods need to be thoughtfully selected in response to changing business direction and emergent stakeholder requirements – and how really effective teams work together to make that happen.

Over the years, I have also made a conscious effort to learn and write about other business practices such as lean and agile, so that I could ensure my team and I were engaging effectively with our colleagues.

And now as the leader of an organization, I am especially interested in helping customers, executive stakeholders, and my peers in other functional areas (such as Engineering and Product Management) understand the benefits of User-Centered Design (UCD) and User Experience consulting services in a way that resonates for them.