• Why Big Data Needs Ethnography

    Matt Artz (see profile) , Uldarico Rex Dumdum
    Anthropology, Ethnology, Business, Web usage mining, Big data
    Item Type:
    Meeting Title:
    2018 NABET
    Meeting Org.:
    Northeastern Association of Business, Economics, and Technology (NABET)
    Meeting Loc.:
    State College
    Meeting Date:
    design anthropology, business anthropology
    Permanent URL:
    Big Data analytics have increasingly gained prominence in business because it has provided beneficial insights regarding emerging trends, behaviors and preferences. Relying exclusively on analytics to address the vast majority of business uncertainties, however, is detrimental to our ability to solve problems. Madsbjerg and Rasmussen, in a WSJ article, insightfully captures the essence: “By outsourcing our thinking to Big Data, our ability to make sense of the world by careful observation begins to wither, just as you miss the feel and texture of a new city by navigating it only with the help of a GPS.” If we are to gain a better understanding of our customers and the business itself, we must not miss “the feel and texture.” We need to see problems and opportunities in terms of human experience and capture and interpret data with a human context. We need to examine and understand how people live their lives from their own perspective, rather than from traditional business’ perspective. This applies to markets and products, as much as it applies to corporate culture because humans are complex and difficult to qualify and quantify. By using ethnographic research methods, we can uncover and understand the needs and desires – the whys and the feel and texture – that drive the emotional lives of customers. This paper argues that businesses need to combine analytics with ethnography for richer and even more valuable insights to move ahead in a global market. It also provides some suggestions on how to combine analytics with ethnography.
    Last Updated:
    1 year ago
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