Finding out what the customer wants can be a difficult task. A new approach that is becoming more widespread is to treat potential customers as participants in the product development process. This customer research approach is known as ethnographic research and is defined as "the description and study of human culture". For the purposes of new product development, customer research is conducted in a much shorter time scale to fit the needs of industry.
The power of taking such an approach is that it provides real life accounts of customers' everyday activities, needs, desires, beliefs and values; it highlights the differences between what people do and what they say they do, and as a result find needs that have not been directly expressed; and it describes what meanings people place on products and how products are used. It is also cheap as it is purely about observing and listening.
Large multinational companies, including Microsoft, Nokia, Ericsson, IBM, Hewlett Packard, Kimberley Clark, General Mills and Motorola, are using this approach. >>continue
I'll be offline for one week to attend the Saami Indigenous Festival "Riddu Riddu" in Northern Norway.
From the self-description:
"Northern guests of this year are the Inuit people from Nunavik in Canada and for the very first time we have the pleasure of introducing a people from the southern hemisphere: the Sanpeople from Botswana. At Riddu Riddu you can enjoy all the beautiful cultural impressions and experience a modern indigenous atmosphere with artists from Canada, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Siberia - and from Kautokeino, Kåfjord, Tromsø and Oslo."
For information about the Saami, check >>Arctic Circle's overview
The party aims to be a new force in New Zealand politics, wooing Maori voters who have traditionally supported Labour. It has threatened to join forces with the centre-right National Party to oust Ms Clark's Labour minority government in an election due to be held next year.
Legislation placing the seabed and foreshore under public control is opposed by Maoris, who say it will deprive them of traditional ownership of coastal areas. The government says it is intended to protect public access to beaches and fisheries while accommodating Maori customs such as gathering seafood on ancestral lands. The plan sparked the biggest Maori protest for decades, with 20,000 demonstrators cramming the grounds of parliament in Wellington in May.
(article no longer available online)
A group of bushmen from Botswana who claim the government illegally evicted them from their ancestral lands have begun challenging the move in court. The Basarwa are recognised by many internationally as the indigenous people and claim a right to stay on their ancestral land. The BBC's correspondent in the region, Alastair Leithead, describes the case as a historic one for the rights of bushmen in southern Africa. >>continue
Iranian Cultural Heritage News Agency
“Nomads constitute a cultural treasure, not a simple community, because the Iranian society can trace back its roots among them and still feeds on their agricultural products,” said Dr. Jalaludin Rafifar, nomad expert and head of the Anthropology Association of Tehran University. Economically speaking, nomads meet 20 percent of Iran’s needs to red meat, though they themselves are very content and incur little, if no, cost on the central government.
Fiona Moore, Anthropology Matters 1 (2004)
Transnational business people are seldom studied by anthropologists. Here, I examine the role that two ‘global cities’ — London and Frankfurt — play in the lives of a group of employees from a German transnational financial corporation. In researching transnational groups, anthropologists need to think less in terms of ‘global’ versus ‘local’, and more in terms of complex relationships between groups of varying degrees and kinds of globalisation.
Erin Brubacher, who, with Odile Nelson, is co-directing and acting in the play in Iqaluit this weekend, says this is a play that "fits with the community". "The issues involved are universal: interracial marriage, the concept of cultural appropriation, political correctness...," Taylor says. "Many Native issues are cross-cultural."
One of the themes in the play involves a group of kids on a reserve who are visited by a group of anthropologists researching traditional legends. None of the elders will talk to the anthropologists, so instead, the kids told them the legends their grandparents had told them, in some cases making them up for 50 cents a legend.
The play not only makes fun of the anthropologists, but also the kids who made up the stories, and "how a trick can come back and trick you," as Taylor puts it. >>continue