The Value of Design Ethnography in Bussiness

16 Mar

Did your company still rely on either on your developer organization or on your marketing organization? You might had been successful using one or both of these approaches for the development of new products or services. That’s excellent, but it is the past. While How can you ignore your current inapparent products without understanding  the needs of consumers? OR How can you keep your outstanding status underneath the dynamic world without acknowledge your mind?


Design ethnography is a way of understanding the particulars of daily life in such a way as to increase the success probability of a new product or service or, more appropriately, to reduce the probability of failure specifically due to a lack of understanding of the basic behaviors and frameworks of consumers. (Salvador, T. et al., 1999. )

Our job is to help your company or your business to gain more knowledge about the your consumers or users no matter where they are. Our role is to express the relevant context of one culture to another, to narrate the acts. Design ethnography, both in its practices and its insights, provides designers and engineers with a language in which they can talk about experiences and behaviors that are critical to life. (Salvador, T. et al., 1999. )

A century ago, the vast majority of people lived on and around the family farm; so for most people, living was working and working was living. Anthropologist or sociologist were focus on the role of individuals in social life, how they were projecting themselves in frontstage or backstage(E. Goffman:1959). After one hundred years of urbanization and industrialization has created and reified a divide between work and life. Ethnographer had to adopt an innovative way to research people’s life in order to promoting the business. While nowadays, Life extended more broader than before, a growing number of people now lives in a hybrid world where the boundaries between physical life and virtual life which based on the information flows continue to fade.(Brigitte Jordan: 2009) So explore the “life” still was a big issue.

Design ethnography is an emerging discipline which have a strong applicability, it has the function to bridge the gap between work and life. Because of its anthropological legacy, it focus to explore the people in a certain areas or regions with diversity methods . In this terms, there are four significant features:


  1. Culture is the primary source of the world, It is a holistic approach to the study of cultural system.

culture includes phenomena ranging from how we tie our shoes to religious beliefs, flirting, the categories we use to parse the world, and how we navigate an interface. One aspect of engagement with a designed artifact is through use. Another dimension closely related to use is how products are experienced or interpreted. These are both deeply cultural activities.(Tim Plowman: 2003 )


  1. Beyond simply a discussion of methods, it has Ontological and Epistemological Properties 

No matter what methods you used, the key is in terms of the perspectives on the nature of what is being study(ontology),and how to best understand this object of study(epistemology)(Guba and Lincoln 1994)


  1. As a methodology of anthropology, it includes both qualitative and quantitative methods.

This is the research tools for conducting academic ethnography, which were divided into two pairs of dimensionality: quantitative Vs qualitative and visual Vs verbal. But the gray area represents those used primarily in commercial ethnography.


  1. It is greatly dependent on fieldwork because of  achieving the emic validity that ethnography promises.

We hang out with the hosts day by day. we asked questions, we did what we were told, we took notes, we took photographs, we watched, we were watched. Although it was time-consuming and offered no immediate insights into potential products or services, it helped us observe and examine all aspects of a cultural system, especially those that could not be addressed through laboratory or survey research alone.

Managing your business requires these four route markings Goals, Thoughts, Approaches and Tools, to guide your business on the bright way. We still study people, their voice, their storys, their thoughts, not our own. We believe what we translated from the ordinary life will help you and your business.



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