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Ethnographic Opportunity Analysis 

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This afternoon 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.

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.

Our presentation can be found here: Ethnographic (Inductive) Opportunity Analysis.

It is importnat 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:

-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.
Steps
–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 October 17th by 3:00pm in class.
–The best observations will be published on our blog and presented in class on October 24th.

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.

Assessment

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:  jmullooly@csufrenso.edu

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

Ethnographic Opportunity Analysis Assignment Rubric (Mullooly & Delcore)

Observation Analysis Suggestion

Accomplished

 (18-20*)

Solid evidence of a period of observation provided. Sufficient details were included to clearly illustrate the problem under investigation. Clear, concise description of the observed problem. The report illustrates a keen understanding of the problem. New, clever suggestion for a product or service that directly solves the problem.  The solution is novel for the context and sounds practical in terms of resources.

3

Competent

(16-17)

Some evidence of a period of observation provided. The problem under investigation is evident. Concise description of the observed problem. The report illustrates an understanding of the problem. Clever suggestion for a product or service that solves the problem.  The solution is novel for the context but impractical.

2

Satisfactory

(14-15)

Some evidence of an recent observation provided. The problem under investigation is not evident. Some evidence of an understanding of the observed problem is provided. The product or service suggestions is not new or does not solve the problem defined or is highly impractical.

1

not Satisfactory

(12-13)

Little to no evidence of a recent observation done for this project. Little evidence of analysis or of a problem is provided. Little evidence of a novel or practical suggestion.

If you would like examples of well written assignments, send an request to Jmullooly@csufresno.edu

TIMELINE:
In a one to two page pitch, suggest some sort of innovation that will add value.
DUE: next Wednesday October 17th by 3:00pm in class.
The best observations will be published on our blog and presented in class on October 24th.
Here are examples of A papers from last semester.
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Here we go again!  A few years ago, we (with our students) conducted an ambitious ethnographic research project on student life at Fresno State, with a focus on informing library services.  The Library Study ended up as a major statement about student life on campus at the time (2009).  Three years later, we’re embarking on another ethnographic study of students on our campus, this time focused on student IT use.  The study was inspired by some recent research by anthropologists at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  That study caught the eye of our VP for Administration, Cindy Matson, who also happens to be TheAnthroGeek’s student in the doctoral program in educational leadership here.  Seeing an opportunity to inform looming decisions about how to invest scarce IT resources with data about actual student behaviors and attitudes, Ms. Matson asked us if we could do something similar to the Milwaukee study.  Just a few months later, we have the skeleton of a research plan and we’re meeting with various campus stakeholders to nail down the details.  The study launches this fall.

The way it’s brewing right now, mobile computing will be a major concern of the study.  Our campus is developing its approach to web presence, social media, data storage, software access and mobile apps, among other issues.  What do existing student practices tell us about the demand for proprietary Fresno State mobile apps?  Does the virtualization of software access make sense for student users?  What do students take away from Fresno State’s existing social media efforts?  What do they want to take away?  Stay tuned for updates on how the study evolves and what we find!

TheAnthroGuys returned to Entrep 81 with good news: We found that many students got the idea we were trying to describe.

We have included below how the assignments were graded 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.

It is importnat 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

For those wishing to continue on this path, you have the opportunity to take our ethnographic methods class (Anth 111, Delcore & Mullooly) in place of ENTR 151 in the Fall 2012 semester.

Fall 2012 Anth 111 will be offered on Tuesdays 6-9pm.

If you have further questions about the assignment or the course, feel free to contact us at:  jmullooly@csufrenso.edu

Note; the following table was used to evaluate your assignments.

Ethnographic Opportunity Analysis Assignment Rubric (Mullooly & Delcore)

Observation

Analysis

Suggestion

4

Accomplished

(18-20*)

Solid evidence of a period of observation provided. Sufficient details were included to clearly illustrate the problem under investigation. Clear, concise description of the observed problem. The report illustrates a keen understanding of the problem. New, clever suggestion for a product or service that directly solves the problem.  The solution is novel for the context and sounds practical in terms of resources.

3

Competent

(16-17)

Some evidence of a period of observation provided. The problem under investigation is evident. Concise description of the observed problem. The report illustrates an understanding of the problem. Clever suggestion for a product or service that solves the problem.  The solution is novel for the context but impractical.

2

Satisfactory

(14-15)

Some evidence of an recent observation provided. The problem under investigation is not evident. Some evidence of an understanding of the observed problem is provided. The product or service suggestions is not new or does not solve the problem defined or is highly impractical.

1

not Satisfactory

(12-13)

Little to no evidence of a recent observation done for this project. Little evidence of analysis or of a problem is provided. Little evidence of a novel or practical suggestion.

IMG_0286This afternoon 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.

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.

Our presentation can be found here: Ethnographic (Inductive) Opportunity Analysis.

Other helpful guides include:

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

-Watch: Parc’s use of these techniques.

-Define: The notion of “workarounds”

-Define: Ethnography

In a few weeks, 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.


TheAnthroGuys were recently invited to the The Pulse.  Hosted by Timothy Stearns and Tammy Sears

The Pulse is a show about innovators and entrepreneurs who are reshaping the Central Valley….Join us each week as we take the innovative “pulse” of the region.

This week on The Pulse, the AnthroGuy and AnthroGeek, join us in a free form and rather chaotic discussion on ways to foster more innovation in Fresno and the Central Valley. Based on their cumulative work as Professors of Anthropology, Hank Delcore and Jim Mullooly identify several key features of innovation and how the community can expand and develop more. What are some of the most innovative events in Fresno? Find out by tuning in and treat yourself to some fun!

During the show, we mentioned a number of websites that we have listed below:

At these sites, you will find many innovative a fun ways to get involved in “The Pulse” of Fresno!

http://roguefestival.com Rogue March 1-10, 2012

Pecha-Kucha Fresno

http://thegerm.org/

Fresno Beehive Story on the first Germ Event (Mike Oz)

Center for Advanced Research and Technology (CART)

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