HBR Touts Ethnography

Ken Anderson is an anthropologist at Intel.  In this Harvard Business Review article, Mr. Anderson discusses the use of ethnography at Intel and its importance as a strategic research tool.  The first couple of paragraphs are provided below.  The following link will take you to a longer introduction to the article and the opportunity to purchase the article from HBR.  http://hbr.harvardbusiness.org/2009/03/ethnographic-research-a-key-to-strategy/ar/1

Ethnographic Research: A Key to Strategy


Corporate ethnography isn’t just for innovation anymore. It’s central to gaining a full understanding of your customers and the business itself. The ethnographic work at my company, Intel, and other firms now informs functions such as strategy and long-range planning.

Ethnography is the branch of anthropology that involves trying to understand how people live their lives. Unlike traditional market researchers, who ask specific, highly practical questions, anthropological researchers visit consumers in their homes or offices to observe and listen in a nondirected way. Our goal is to see people’s behavior on their terms, not ours. While this observational method may appear inefficient, it enlightens us about the context in which customers would use a new product and the meaning that product might hold in their lives.

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