Tomorrow, TheAnthroGuys are giving a presentation about our core competency: Analytic Induction.  Our objective is to introduce entrepreneurship students to Analytic Induction in search of opportunities to “add value“.

We will be in a lecture hall of entrepreneurship students at Fresno State.  Incidentally, the name of the lecture hall is, “Pete P Peters”.  As I often tell students of ethnography, reality is usually far more interesting than fiction once you start actually noticing it.

Elsewhere, we have observed that our world is utterly overshadowed by ignorance, yet few people notice this.  Ethnographers and entrepreneurs share a reliance on inductive skills to accomplish their goals.  Once this is understood, we can learn a great deal from each other.

Here is our Presentation Slides

It is important to note that the similarities between anthropologists and entrepreneurs are numerous. The table below illustrates this point:

Anthropologists   Entrepreneurs Application
Trained to think holistically Intuitively holistic visionary, iconoclastic
Take an evolutionary approach Forward-looking know future demands
Seek the insider perspective Intuitively know consumers wants know when something will have value to others
Trained to be inductive Intuitively inductive keen observers, see openings

Other helpful guides include:

Read this article from The Atlantic entitle, “Anthropology Inc.”.

Or, Watch the clip that was attached to the above article from The Atlantic.

-Check out: “A Crash Course on Creativity” (Tina Seelig, Executive Director, Stanford Technology Ventures Program)

-View the following 3 min video entitled: Field Observation with Fresh Eyes by Tom Kelley | IDEO

-View the following 4 min video entitled: Thinking Like a Traveler by Tom Kelley | IDEO

-Read: “Can’t You Just Ask People?” (Delcore)

-Watch: Parc’s use of these techniques.

-Define: The notion of “workarounds”

-Define: Ethnography

Observation Assignment:

1) Conduct some sort of “inductive observation”,
2) analyze your notes, then
3) expand those notes into a brief report about what you found. DESCRIPTION
–Rather than looking into a completely innovative idea (service or product), the goal is to 1) observe something that already works; 2) observe it in great detail; then 3) begin to understand it in such detail that you can 4) make concrete suggestions about improving it.
–1. Find a routine, taken-for-granted task/service/product,
–2. “Hang out” and “thickly describe” it in a notebook,
–3. In a one page pitch, suggest some sort of innovation that will add value. DUE: next Wednesday March 18th in class.
–The best observations will be published on our blog and presented in class on March 25th.

We will return to their class to continue this discussion.  Our hope is that some – if not all – of these students will see the value of this skill set and in so doing, realize that “thinking out of the box” can be learned.


We have included how the assignments are evaluated but the the main point is that this is NOT rocket science. Rather , it’s social science!  Applied systematically, humans’ natural observational skills can notice things that are typically ignored.  With some analysis, suggestions can be made to improve lives, products, profit margins, whatever.

If you have further questions about the assignment or the course, feel free to contact us at:

Note, the following table is used to evaluate these assignments.

LINK TO Ethnographic Opportunity Analysis Assignment Rubric (Mullooly & Delcore)

Send questions to:

In a one to two page pitch, suggest some sort of innovation that will add value.
DUE: next Wednesday March 18 2015 in class.
The best observations will be published on our blog and presented in class on March 25th.