Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

Anthropology Inc. - Yes, You're Being Watched

Without Reliance Upon Math And Spreadsheets

This report in The Atlantic, describes the disruption in corporate research, evidenced by the increasing deployment of social scientists to conduct field research and the art of ethnographic mining, making online surveys and dinnertime robo-calls superficial by comparison:

When clients are confronted with...anthropological research, they often discover fundamental differences between the businesses they thought they were in, and the businesses they actually are in.

For example, the Korean electronics giant Samsung had a major conceptual breakthrough when it realized that its televisions are best thought of not as large electronic appliances, measurable by screen size and resolution, but as home furniture.

It matters less how thoroughly a speaker system rattles the bones and eardrums of its listeners than how these big screens occupy the physical space alongside one's tables, chairs, and sofas.

The company's project engineers reframed their products accordingly, paying more attention to how they fit into living spaces, rather than how they perform on their technical spec sheets.

[Image: Viktor Koen in The Atlantic]

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