Jul 2011

Successful ethnography lunch & learn

On June 29, 2011, Daedalus and Echo Strategies hosted a Lunch & Learn session entitled DIY Ethnography as part of the Echo Strategies' Culture of Innovation Collaborative. The Lunch & Learn provided an introduction to some of the basic interview and observation techniques that Daedalus practices in its pursuit of customer insights and understanding.

In addition to a qualitative research presentation, participants were given the opportunity to join in a classic hands-on demonstration of some of these techniques, called a Wallet Inventory. A wallet inventory, often used as an exercise in qualitative research classes, is a type of personal inventory in which the interviewee walks through the contents of his or her wallet or purse with interviewers who have developed research objectives to be fulfilled by using the wallet as a window to the person’s life. Our Lunch & Learn participants established some rather interesting objectives, including determining the importance of the separation of their subject’s personal and professional lives, as well as identifying spending and travel habits.

At the end of the session, participants were invited to share some of their thoughts in regards to what they were taking away from the session. We were pleased to learn that some of our participants were musing on how to apply these techniques with internal customers in addition to their typical external customers. One gentleman succinctly summed up his take-away expressing that, "You should use different techniques - not until you get an answer, but until you get enough data to formulate an answer."

Our discussion at the end of the session also raised questions that could be better answered in more detail in later sessions, including how to go about formulating research objectives and choosing appropriate research techniques, and how to synthesize the data after your research visits have been conducted. We’ve decided to look into future events to explore these topics in greater detail.

Future lunch and learn events will be posted on this site, so check back often for dates and descriptions.

Echo Strategies' Culture of Innovation Collaborative:

Daedalus has been participating in Echo Strategies' Culture of Innovation Collaborative, a group of 19 CTO's and senior R&D executives from Pittsburgh's top companies. The goal of the Collaborative is to help participating companies better understand innovation culture as it applies to discovery, service development, product development, and commercialization. The Collaborative has put on a series of informative "Lunch & Learn" events and participating companies have included Bayer Material Science, Heinz R&D, Medrad, Mine Safety, Highmark, Thoughtform, GSK, NOVA Chemicals, Braskem, and PNC.