This posting was motivated by the following quotation I found in my in box this morning:

MultiExposure-webI like not to know for as long as possible because then it tells me the truth instead of me imposing the truth. Michael Moschen

TheAnthroGuys spend a great deal of time trying to use and teach the use and limits of analytic induction.  This is more than just a curricular objective; it is an impassioned crusade, a holy war against the zombies of common sense.  This may sound somewhat over-eager for some but the power of common sense is typically unassailable.  Left unchallenged, “common sense” – supported by humans’ penchant for retrospective sense making – claims the final word in most cases.


A case in point is a colleague’s reference to our use of the term “analytic induction” as oxymoronic.  But analytic induction is not an oxymoron.  Rather, it is an effective methodology of managing many observations made in most research contexts.  Deduction and induction can be thought of in cyclical relationship to each other.  With analytic induction, one is able to think outside of the box systematically.  One can approach problems and expect more than the accidental inspiration of the “ah-ha moment”.


In Ethnography for Marketers (2006), Hy Mariampolski references a term he calls “magic”, to invoke such terminology for the very same reason that we are trying to focus on this problem.  In a section entitled, “creating imaginative interpretations” Mariampolski urges readers to move beyond the initial assumptions about what one sees in the field.


Recently published a fine line (2009) further illustrates the power of systematically thinking outside of the common sense.  Written by Hartmut Esslinger, founder of Frog Design, this sort of advice could not come from a better source.  Esslinger starts the book by pointing out how “out of the box” his approach has been and how very successful it has been due to its rigor.

It is not easy to liberate the truth from the burden of one’s own gut instincts or the sense that seems common to all, but if given enough time, time to “not know for as long as possible”, as Michael Moschen states, then the rich rewards of true creativity become available.