- Percival Everett's short story, “The Appropriation of Cultures” – This is the second story in this podcast and is an entertaining and powerful piece of fiction about the meaning of symbols and the power that we might seize to change that meaning. Culture jamming as narrative device, in other words.
- Ethnography is not an in-home interview – Grant McCracken considers the emerging finger-pointing as Tesco doesn't do as well in the US as they had hoped. Was research (or rather, poor research) to blame? I share his concern about people going through the motions and claiming they've done the research. A prospective client asked us the other day why they would hire us as opposed to simply borrowing a video camera from his brother and dropping into some of their target offices. It's an important question because it reveals a common mindset. My short answer was that they should definitely do that, but that the expertise we are bringing includes (but is not limited to) the ability to plan and execute those interviews so you really do get to something new, and the process for analyzing and synthesizing that data so that we can identify what it means to them and what the opportunities are. Perhaps, as McCracken suggests, Tesco failed to do just that.
- Standing/adjustable height work surfaces, long available in workplaces, are being tried out – with seeming success – in schools – Teachers in Minnesota and Wisconsin say they know from experience that the desks help give children the flexibility they need to expend energy and, at the same time, focus better on their work rather than focusing on how to keep still.
“We’re talking about furniture here,” she said, “plain old furniture. If it’s that simple, if it turns out to have the positive impacts everyone hopes for, wouldn’t that be a wonderful thing?”
Tags: alternative, audio, children, culture, cultureby, customer, design, desk, education, ergonomics, ethnography, furniture, innovation, insight, interviewing, marketing, mccracken, meaning, reading, research, school, story, strategy, symbol, tesco