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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