Bus Ride To The Future

from the ethnography dept

The Intel ethnogracists’ job description: “ride bus all day, stare at people”. Seems like an easy enough deal. Intel is now using these “ethnography experts” to ride a bus around London and figure out how people really use their electronic gadgets. It turns out that when you ask people how they use gadgets, they lie. So, Intel decided it was time to go out in the real world and see how people used gadgets. In this experiment, the real world is being played by the part of a bus.

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Comments on “Bus Ride To The Future”

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Michael Clouser (user link) says:


The ethnographic research method is underutilized in general. A research method from the science of anthropology (others include archeology, map making, historical document searching, etc.) its a powerful tool to understand cultural and sociological factors better and create new knowledge. Much more than just observation, it entails the researcher “becoming one of the tribe” and participating in the culture. I’m glad to see that firms such as Intel, Intuit and now Microsoft have recently begun deploying ethnographers. My hope is that the academic community in the US will once again lend favor to this method that it has shunned since the Chicago School popularized it, for a short time. Ethnography has the power to awaken us to new understandings, new knowledge, and theory creation, which can then be tested by traditional American academics.

Good book:

Global Ethnography

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