Triangulation: Validating Research and Strategy

One of the central problems we run into when discussing research finds, particularly when we’re using those finding to give strategic direction, is having the research’s validity called into question. I’ve talked over the years a fair amount about the idea of triangulation, but I’ve rarely summed up what it means. Here’s my take in […]

Context and the Changing Mobile Landscape

Marketers increasingly think about consumers in complex ways. It is understood that in a changing digital landscape, the context in which they learn and shop influences what messages we deliver and how we deliver them.  But we rarely define “context”. It is one thing to design a usable app that conforms to human factors and […]

Video and Analysis

It is not uncommon for a researcher using film in data collection to run into people concerned with the validity of the method.  Sometimes the concerns revolve around whether film and video are art or science.  Because of its interpretive, creative, impressionistic, and emotional attributes, art is sometimes assumed to be in direct conflict with […]

Remembering Ethnography

If you want to innovate, you have to look beyond the problem at the world in which that problem exists. Ethnography is about looking at the world as a complex system and understanding what elements you can affect.  If you want to understand the opportunities for your product or service, then you need to think […]

Anecdotes vs. Insights: Analysis Matters

Why does a world-class chef eat Spam? Why does a man in his late twenties, making over half a million dollars a year, choose to be “poor” on the weekends? And most important, why does it matter to a business? It is important, quite simply, because understanding the deep, resounding issues, practices, and beliefs of […]

Laying Out Fieldwork in Under 10 Steps

DEFINE THE PROBLEM What are the pain points a client has defined? What issues are we trying to better understand. Depending on the project, questions may be very tactical and specific or very strategic and broad. In either case, the first step is to clearly articulate what the overarching goal is. RETHINK THE PROBLEM Once […]

Hire Me: “Selling” Good Ethnography

The term “ethnography” has been used fairly loosely and expectations about the work and final outcomes vary as much as the people calling themselves ethnographers. Businesses have embraced ethnography with mixed reactions and mixed results.  Ethnography has become as much a $10 word for those who feel at ease interviewing people in a “natural” setting […]