Learning from Liminality

The Importance of Purpose During Organizational Change Whether it’s the first day of kindergarten, the start of a new job, puberty, or retirement, change – even when it is welcomed – tends to be challenging to cope with. It’s no wonder that organizational change is typically considered a painful experience. While complex constellations of factors…

The Myth of Simplicity

Simplicity. As a concept, an idea, or an aesthetic, it connotes ease of use, elegance, efficiency, and flow. We like to think of ourselves as creatures that crave, appreciate, and enjoy simple things. But human beings are anything but simple; as semiotic forms of expression, our simple things (and the relationships we have with them)…

Temporality and Innovation

Using Design Anthropology to Imagine and Design for the Future  What is Temporality? Anthropologists use the term “temporality” to talk about the way we experience time; temporality allows us to think about how time is, what it feels like, and how it exists in our lives. Whereas time can be understood as the objective movement…

The Bias of Digital Transformation

Exploring the Link Between Digital Transformation and the Experience of Work Once there was an English word whose meaning had to do with fingers and toes. Over time, that word evolved to mean something quite different; abstracted away from the human body, “digital” was transformed into a way of talking about data in the form of…

What Is an Excellent Insight?

In the economy of innovation consulting, insights are an important currency. Insights are how we package our understandings of human experience, and they are bought and sold every day because business leaders know that the human context is the heart and soul of meaningful and differentiated offerings. Insight is core to how consultancies deliver value…

How to Win in the Experience Economy

“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.” These mythic lines from Shakespeare’s As You Like It serve to illustrate a key pillar of The Anthropology of Experience: that identity is created as it is performed. Everyday actions and practices – like taking public transit, attending business meetings, eating meals,…

Users of the World, Unite!

What Marx’s theory of alienation tells us about our relationship with big data. Human beings have become living, breathing, data-making machines. When we wake up in the morning, before our feet even hit the door, we check our email, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. Our quantified selves move through the day, captured and counted by our wearable…

5 Minutes with Grant McCracken

Grant McCracken is a cultural anthropologist, author and blogger. His most recent book is Chief Culture Officer. The appetite and need for anthropologists in a business context has grown over the years, and you’ve certainly had a big part in opening those doors. What do you think are some of the challenges that anthropologists continue…

Bringing Ugly Back

You’ve seen them. They’re wearing shoulder pads, mom jeans and sweaters embroidered with cats. With a fancy fountain pen in his pocket and a heavy watch on her wrist, they rely on their iPhones to manage their time and capture the world around them. Whether they’re called millennials, hipsters or Generation Ys, you know who they are.…