A Different Approach to Focus Groups

When something becomes a running joke on every sitcom since the 80s, you know it’s been overdone. The traditional focus groups is overdone. But I don’t think the focus group, or something akin to it more precisely, is dead. It’s an imperfect methodology but it has its place and it can be done well – if […]

Moderating vs. Learning

Let me state that I am not a moderator. At least, not a traditional one. I am an ethnographer, an anthropologist, and a strategist. And while both moderators and ethnographers speak to people, they are not the same thing. This isn’t just a matter of semantic difference, it is at the heart of how practitioners execute their […]

Making Fieldwork Easier and More Productive

Advertisers, marketers and designers have long held the role of creating materials that reflect the lives of customers. Traditionally, this has relied on market research that is gathered in something of a vacuum, or reflects the beliefs and practices of the researcher more than the consumer.  People’s preferences all too often are neatly, if unimaginatively, […]

Ethnographers vs. Moderators: Know What You Are Buying

The other day I was speaking with someone about ethnography and was informed by the person in question that she too was a “moderator.” She, of course, practiced ethnography, such as it is, and informed me she had been “moderating ethnographies” for years.  Yes, it made my skin crawl. Not because someone was crossing disciplinary […]

Remove Focus From The Focus Group

When something becomes a running joke on The Simpsons, you know it’s been overdone. The traditional focus groups is overdone. Instead, we preach (and use) the “un-focused” group; a gathering of individuals in a workshop or open discussion forum where they have access to a wide range of creative things to stimulate interaction   and creation. […]