Valuable Connections: Design Anthropology and Co-Creation in Digital Innovation

Mette Gislev Kjærsgaard, Rachel Charlotte Smith

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


This paper explores challenges and potentials for innovation and co-creation within an increasingly interconnected and digitalized world, and its affect on ethnographic practices within the field of design and business development. Our discussion is based on material from an interdisciplinary research and design project conducted in collaboration with a leading computer game developer, here called ‘Games’, exploring opportunities of involving on-line gaming communities in innovation processes and product development.
Based on our case, we argue that in a world with increased interconnectedness and blurred boundaries between physical, digital and hybrid contexts, as well as design, production and use, we might need to rethink the role of ethnography within design and business development. Perhaps the aim is less about ”getting closer” to user needs and real-life contexts, through familiarization, mediation, advocacy and facilitation, as in conventional approaches to ethnography in user centred design, and more about creating a critical theoretically informed distance from which to perceive and reflect upon complex interconnections between people, technology, business and design, as well as our roles as researchers and designers within these.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2014 Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference
PublisherAmerican Anthropological Association
Publication date2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventEthographic praxis in Industry Conference - Fordham University, New York , United States
Duration: 7. Sep 201410. Sep 2014


ConferenceEthographic praxis in Industry Conference
LocationFordham University
CountryUnited States
CityNew York
SeriesEthnographic Praxis in Industry Conference. Conference Proceedings


  • design anthroplogy
  • Digital media
  • methodology
  • ethnographic practice

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