// what do you think?


Crowdsourced Weekend Ethnographic Research Project For Innovators #WERPI

If you read almost any great story of a new or disruptive innovation there’s usually some variation of the story that the innovator (or group of innovators) observed some sort of behavior that sparked an idea. It could have been an opportunity to apply an existing technology towards a different problem or a problem that didn’t have a good solution. But often the spark of inspiration was the observation. Basically these innovators were doing a bit of ethnographic research.

I have an idea for a crowdsourced research project and I’d like to ask for your help. I’m a big believer in doing informal ethnographic research. I always get a ton of great insights when I do it and it’s proven hugely valuable. The problem is, with informal research, your sample set is really small, it takes many, many weekend outings and there’s no way to test for false positives. But what if we crowdsourced the effort and got dozens of people to all do the same informal ethnographic research this weekend? We’d accomplish in one weekend what one person could do in 3 months of weekends.

Here’s what I propose: While you’re out this weekend watch for how people are using their mobile phones or other interesting tech. Not just are they taking pictures, texting or making calls but is there anything unique or different about the circumstances, context or setting? Are they using apps? Which ones? Does the behavior differ from groups vs individuals? What are the differences between age groups?

Then using the hashtag #WERPI (I know it sounds silly but should be easy to remember) post your research finding to Twitter. Take pictures if you can and post them to Twitter. If you’re unable to capture pictures of it make a note of it make a note or just post a tweet of what you observe.  Or if you get really industrious write a blog post, but be sure to share it on Twitter with the hashtag #WERPI.

What do you think? Are you on board? Anything different we should add? I prefer to keep it simple but I’m open to any other ideas.

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About Tac

Social media anthropologist. Communications strategist. Business model junkie. Chief blogger here at New Comm Biz.

  • http://www.newcommbiz.com/weekend-ethnographic-research-handheld-devices-and-augmented-reality-werpi/ Weekend Ethnographic Research: Handheld Devices and Augmented Reality #WERPI | @NewCommBiz

    [...] probably drive my family crazy because every outing turns into field research. This last weekend I tried a little experiment. Knowing I was going out with my family to the Pacific Science Center to see the amazing Star Wars [...]

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