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rapid ethnography and finding the right problem

June 9, 2011 //

Check out my latest post on using rapid ethnography to make sure we pursue the right problem – still inspired by Alison J Clarke’s book “Design Anthropology – Object Culture in the 21st Century”…

Any design shops out there who have encountered problems with merging ethnographic methods into their fast-paced environment of design?

Read the whole blog below or see the original post over at Stokefire HERE!

 

This is my third post inspired by one of the essays in the book “Design Anthropology – Object Culture in the 21st Century” by Alison J. Clarke. This chapter “The ethnography in design” is written by Jo-Anne Bichard and Rama Gheerawo.

Bichard and Gheerawo conclude that “the longer studies and observational methods of research that ethnography favors can lead to fundamental truths about the way individuals or groups behave, but in a time-pressured project, designers have to deal with shorter time frames and provoke responses rather than waiting for interesting behavior to be revealed. The search is for creative insights rather than an expansive understanding of every aspect of a user’s life.” This “creative insight” is what we at Stokefire call finding the right problem.

Tobias Rees, a Professor of Anthropology at McGill University, proposes that “the future design of the anthropological project will take its cue from design and the design studio, by allowing anthropological research to resist being dominated by ‘well established theories and/or tactic norms of what fieldwork is’ – in effect, for the practice of anthropology to resist its traditional disciplinary ‘function and form’, where the anthropologist and ethnographer become designers. In turn, if anthropologists and ethnographers appear to be becoming designers as such, then perhaps designers should allow themselves to reflect on their ‘field’ and ‘work’ more as anthropologists and ethnographers.”

How do YOU make sure that you are pursuing the right problem?

I was already a fan of London design firm Bibliothèque and their amazing collection of books…Theeeeeen, I found this blog post over at Cool Hunting and two facts have just increased my “like” of this design firm:

First of all, I grew up in Kiel and have many fond memories of the “Kieler Woche” and the posters advertising it. Secondly, I am a big fan of Dieter Rams ten principles of good design and his aesthetic.

So read this post and get a little insight into a few of their favorite rare finds and special editions HERE!

Kielerwoche_bibliotheque
Dieterrams_bibliotheque

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