Anthropology, Innovation and the End of Arm-Chair Ideas

Upon first consideration, the link between anthropology and innovation may not be apparent. For many, anthropology conjures visions of un-contacted tribes in remote locations, unfamiliar customs, and perhaps men in tweed jackets smoking pipes while speculating about human nature. Innovation, by contrast, brings to mind images of smart cities, wearable technology, and whiteboards flush with post-it’s. With these visions, the compatibility of anthropology and an innovation agenda could not be more questionable. Yet innovation leaders like Intel, Microsoft, and Google are utilizing anthropologists to improve their products and spur innovation. How does that work?

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How Design Thinking Applied To Student Engagement Re-energized My Work As An Instructional Designer

As an instructional designer, I am always looking for a way to improve the way I meet the needs of learners. I want to talk to students, to understand what they really need to know or do, and understand their environment, challenges, wants, and needs. By applying the “design thinking” (DT) methodology I learned at Booz Allen Hamilton, I was able to explore what students find engaging and what drives students to be interested in their education. Through this new viewpoint, I uncovered surprising insights about the unmet needs of students of all ages.

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A Lesson in Empathy

Being a design thinker means the up-front research is critical for understanding a stakeholder experience in order to find ways to provide improvement to those experiences.   One of the critical pieces of this research includes in-depth interviews where listening, understanding, and being empathetic to the person telling their story.

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On Intrapreneurship

This year, Booz Allen Hamilton turned 100. I have spent the most recent of those 100 years building a new consulting capability in the firm – a Design Thinking start-up.  For the MBA and business readers, it has been a supply-side driven market entry strategy.  To my knowledge, no clients were driving up to 8283 Greensboro Drive entrance asking, “I would like 2 design thinkings please, with a dash of digital while you are at it.”  

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A Designer’s Experience: Discovering Human Trafficking

Up until recently, the words “human trafficking” meant very little to me. Maybe even nothing. Now they haunt me.

I first heard about human trafficking through a conversation at work. I had zero idea what it was. My first thought was that it had something to do with smuggling and bringing people across the border illegally. It’s interesting looking back and seeing just how unaware I was, and knowing now that my first impression couldn’t be farther from the truth. I was living in blissful ignorance. Little did I know, that would soon change.

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To Infinity and Beyond: A Look at Gamified Levels

If you’re thinking of Buzz Lightyear and Toy Story right now – I’ve accomplished my goal. If I didn’t do it with the title, me saying it probably did the trick.  So, now I’ve got your headspace just slightly out of the regular confines of work and ready for a quick read.

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