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Ethnographic Research for Design

Ethnographic Research for Design: IxD Service Design UX Strategy Interaction Customer ExperienceEthnographic research for design explains how to use advances in ethnographic research of social media to design products, services, experiences… anything—while getting better results at lower risk. Ethnographic research of social media is breakthrough for designers in the “design stack” in which I’ve includedArchitecture/Interior Design, Product Design, User Experience Design/Interaction Design, UX Strategy, Service Design and Customer Experience Design.

Designers in all fields lament clients’ resistance to funding robust research. Traditional design research methods are often grounded in asking proposed users explicit questions, and self-reported responses vary significantly from actual behavior despite respondents’ best intentions. Similarly, shadowing, service safaris, “a day in the life,” and other analog research methods are costly and slow. Sample sizes are necessarily small because scaling analog methods greatly multiplies the budget and length of the research phase. Ethnographic research of social media changes the game because it studies proposed users’ actual behavior in digital public when they’re having heated discussions about the outcomes they want when the proposed product, service, or process is useful to them. It enables deep, broad understanding of users, at a much lower cost and time commitment than any other research method.

Even more interesting, ethnographic/social combines deep qualitative results with quantitative findings.

Continue reading Ethnographic Research for Design

Behavioral Economics, Autonomy and Ethical Land Mines

Overview: Behavioral Economics Autonomy and Ethics user experience designBehavioral economics autonomy and ethics is a thought experiment on how to approach “doing good” when applying the emerging practice of behavioral economics. Along with big data analytics and cognitive science, behavioral economics affords businesses, governments and other organizations unprecedented impact on individuals’ behavior, even without their consent or awareness. This arouses serious ethical and social dilemmas.

Every behavioral economics practitioner I’ve met has emphasized the importance of using its practice “for good” in order to help people. Like all other human endeavors, however, “for good” is open to interpretation, so I’ll apply my experience with ethnographic and behavioral analysis of social media to reflect on what “for good” might mean in light of individual and group autonomy.

I also hope this Noodle will be food for thought for executives who hire behavioral economics firms as well as all of us who are invariably its subject. In a similar vein, most designers I know are committed to using design principles to improve user experience, and there’s considerable overlap between design and behavioral economics.

Behavioral economics is as old as mankind, but its importance is rapidly growing for two reasons.

Continue reading Behavioral Economics Autonomy and Ethics Land Mines

Ethnographic Research for Business Innovation Using Social Media

Ethnographic Research for Business Innovation Using Social Media: de-risk innovationEthnographic research for business innovation shows how to apply ethnographic research of social media to managing controlled disruption within organizations. Ethnographic research of social media can transform the entire innovation process because it’s a very efficient way to study the behavior and motivations of the people that the innovation proposes to serve. Unlike traditional innovation and ethnographic research methods, which are relatively slow, costly and qualitative, ethnographic research of social media combines qualitative richness with quantitative analysis. It’s faster and less costly, too.

Ethnographic research for business innovation can dramatically improve the depth and breadth of business and corporate strategy, business design and service design research since it allows teams to consider more users and to assess their behavior and motivations, which can improve the value of more costly research.

This post outlines the business innovation use case of ethnographic research of social media, and it includes examples in banking, professional services, consumer products, and B2B marketing. For more on ethnographic research, see More Resources below. Continue reading Ethnographic Research for Business Innovation

Social Media Strategy Lessons Learned

Social media strategy lessons learned summarizes eleven golden rules I’ve learned while leading strategy and its execution for global firms. Some of them might surprise you: I’ve come to learn that I have a different perspective on social media strategy since I advised global firms and startups in their corporate strategies before founding CSRA in 2006.

Social Media Strategy Lessons Learned

Before diving into lessons learned, let’s specify what we mean by social media strategy. “Strategy” itself is an overused work that denotes some mixture of research and planning. The strategy trade-off is simple: the more research and analysis you do upfront, the more risks you can foresee and account for in your plan. When you put your plan into action, you make fewer mistakes and execute more efficiently. Conversely, “minimum viable”/lean strategy does less research upfront, so the team learns while doing. Neither approach is universally “right,” and both work best for certain situations and firms. Continue reading Social Media Strategy Lessons Learned

Social Media Strategy Good Practices

Social media strategy good practices is a short list of principles that can make your firm stand out when empowering customer and employee experience. It’s part of a talk I gave today to a large multidisciplinary team. Their venerable institution plans to use social media strategy to get the ducks in a row without too much squawking. The most exciting aspect of social media strategy is that there’s so much room for improvement: while your peers and competitors are trying to “engage” with finely crafted-yet-impersonal content, you can power past them using experiential social media, which focuses on scalable interaction.

Social Media Strategy Good Practices: summary

Here are the cliff notes to the good practices part of our discussion: Continue reading Social Media Strategy Good Practices

Ethnographic Research of Social Media for Social Media Initiatives

Ethnographic Research for Social Media Initiatives avatarEthnographic research for social media initiatives shows how ethnography can change the rules of social media programs in marketing, customer service, product development, recruiting and others. Ethnographic research enables teams to understand the people who are most important to your firm so they can relate to them at a completely different level. Moreover, interacting in digital public activates the network effect and the annuity effect, so it’s very scalable. Since your teams interact in digital public, where a far larger group of like people observes the interactions, they influence a large group of people and build relationships with them. People start trusting your firm, preferring your firm, and doing more business with you. See the Trust Business Chain Reaction and infographic for how it monetizes.

Ethnographic research for social media initiatives is a game-changer for customer experience and digital transformation programs in multiple phases. It’s faster, less costly, and scalable. It provides an unprecedented combination of qualitative and quantitative research.

Continue reading Ethnographic Research for Social Media Initiatives

The Connected Car and Customer Experience

The connected car and customer experienceThe connected car and customer experience reveals a new opportunity for carmakers to dial into real customer behavior and desires around connected cars and autonomous cars. The Connected car and the autonomous car are powerful services that will help transform how people move around, and they are emerging during an era of unprecedented volatility in markets. I’ll wager that there’s never been a better or more challenging time to be a carmaker because opportunities and threats have never been higher. I’ve been fortunate to meet product managers and engineers who are pioneering connected and autonomous car services. I’ve also been meeting leaders in the Internet of Things (smart devices), of which the connected car is a part.

My crystal ball says that the connected car is a bet-the-brand proposition for carmakers because it directly addresses competing on customer experience, the most disruptive trend of all. As I detailed in The Social Channel, we have moved from a product/service-based economy toward an experience economy. Even IT analyst Gartner has proclaimed that customer experience is the final battleground for firms. Established product brands that miss the significance of this shift will probably not survive.

But there’s a silver lining for carmakers that can help them de-risk connected car services. Experiential social media finds and engages any firm’s most valuable stakeholders in digital public where they’re forming their opinions about all these changes. It’s a game-changing opportunity to inform their development of connected car and autonomous car products/services.

Below, I’ve shared some off-the-cuff suggestions for carmakers, but they will also apply to firms that make any product that’s becoming smart. Continue reading The Connected Car and Customer Experience

Ethnographic Research for Product Management

Ethnographic Research for Product Management with social media logoEthnographic research for product management shows how to apply ethnographic research of social media to managing the life cycle of products and services. Ethnographic research of social media can revolutionize product management because it’s a very efficient way to study people’s behavior and motivations in each part of the product life cycle. Unlike traditional product and ethnographic research methods, which are relatively slow, costly and qualitative, ethnographic research of social media combines qualitative richness with quantitative analysis. It’s faster and less costly, too.

This post outlines the product management use case of ethnographic research of social media. For more on ethnographic research, see its executive summary. Continue reading Ethnographic Research for Product Management

Ethnographic Research of Social Media

Ethnographic Research of Social MediaEthnographic research of social media is one of my biggest secrets. It has become the foundation of CSRA’s ability to create trust at scale, so here I’ll share a short story about how I came to use it with social media. Then I’ll explain what ethnographic research is, why it’s vital to CSRA, and how it works. Finally, I’ll share use cases for experiential social media, product management, and business innovation. Continue reading Ethnographic Research of Social Media

The Employee Engagement Fallacy and How to Fix It

The Employee Engagement Fallacy: How You Can Fix It AvatarThe Employee Engagement Fallacy reveals that most literature, papers, and methods are built on faulty Industrial Economy employment attitudes, and it provides an approach that uses experiential social media to help reframe employment and performance.

Although the idea of “employee engagement” can be a rare opportunity to increase competitiveness, its practice is compromised by well intended but flawed logic.

Here’s the fallacy: Employee “engagement” is the result of employees’ experiences while they’re working at employers. Few engagement programs focus on employees’ experiences, so they fall short.

Engagement is not achieved by a program or initiative that focuses on the outcome. Employers see much more success at achieving the result when they focus on empowering the experiences their employees want when they decide to work at the employer. Experience is the motor of engagement, so empowering experience is the first step of raising productivity and lowering employment costs, two common employee engagement goals. Here’s how it’s done. Continue reading The Employee Engagement Fallacy