Business Anthropology

See your business services through the eyes of your clients and receive consultation on tried and true paths to success. 

Published Articles on Business Anthropology:

 How Hiring an Anthropologist Will Make Your Firm More Competitive in the New Economy (PowerPoint)
Anthropologists employ a number of techniques to gather, understand and integrate data
  • Qualitative and quantitative research methods
  • Analytical reasoning and critical thinking
  • Ethnographic research and analysis
  • Statistical analysis
  • Survey techniques and interviewing skills 
  • Focus group management
  • Systematic observation
  • Detailed record-keeping
"How can ethnographic methods be applied to business?
Where business can truly benefit from ethnography is through consistent and systematic application of techniques. The models can also be applied within the business. Want to reduce turnover, increase worker satisfaction, or streamline a process? Don’t assume a top-down approach. Oftentimes, the person with the most insight is the person actually doing the job, and ethnographic exercises are ideal for vetting the expert knowledge and experiences of your team."
"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 non-directed 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."
Breakthrough market discoveries often hide out in latent form
"Latent needs of customers are product or service requirements that customers don’t even know they want, or in some cases are solutions that customers have difficulty envisioning due to lack of exposure to new technologies or being locked in habits and thought processes developed over time. How can businesses gain a fuller picture of the customer's world and how a product or service best fits? A heightened level of understanding and insight can generate the breakthroughs companies need and seek to create a competitive advantage. One promising possibility is ethnographic research, a technique developed by anthropologists."
Anthropologists dig into business
"For a summer, Dev Patnaik and his team of researchers hung out with teens preparing to go away to college. Trained in anthropology and sociology, they observed while the teens and their parents shopped for the essentials of college life. ...Patnaik's firm, San Mateo-based Jump, is part of a growing trend in which anthropologists, long perceived as notebook-toting academics who study isolated cultures, are woven into the fabric of corporate America. They're helping to design new products and business ventures, as well as organize the inner workings of companies. Work done by anthropologists -- who observe people in real-life settings -- has translated into products including Yoplait's portable Go-Gurt, Whirlpool's ``refrigerated oven'' and Yahoo's photo service."

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