Tomorrow TheAnthroGuys are giving a presentation about our core competency: Analytic Induction that gets practiced in search of opportunities to “add value“.
This is a rather clunky way to express what we do but we are still sharpening our ‘laser focus’ so bear with us. Once we reach Gladwell’s 10,000 hours, I’m sure it will sound better. 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 more interesting than fiction once you start actually noticing it.
Ethnographers and entrepreneurs share a relience on inductive skills to accomplish their goals. Once this is understood, we can learn a great deal from each other.
Tomorrow our presentation about all of this that can be found here: Ethnographic (Inductive) Opportunity Analysis Presentation.
In a few weeks, 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.
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Jason, a clever colleague of mine, found an interesting article that reminded me of Claude Lévi-Strauss’ use of bricolage [French for, "fiddle, tinker" and, by extension, "make creative and resourceful use of whatever materials are to hand (regardless of their original purpose)].
The Fresno Scraper
Paul Boutin describes a variety of simple solutions to complex problems that typify the sort of ingenuity that launched “The Fresno Scraper” and will pull us out of the challenges currently facing us in the San Joaquin Valley. This sort of “routine applied induction” or is occurring around us all the time but rarely celebrated. In light of the growing challenges we all keep reading about (e.g., this story of Mendota’s water problems), we need to start hearing more of these stories of applied cleverness to balance things out.
Paul Boutin states this idea better than I could in his article:
Today’s shaky economy is likely to produce many more such tricks. “In postwar Japan, the economy wasn’t doing so great, so you couldn’t get everyday-use items like household cleaners,” says Lisa Katayama, author of “Urawaza,” a book named after the Japanese term for clever lifestyle tips and tricks. “So people looked for ways to do with what they had.” via Basics – Low-Tech Fixes for High-Tech Problems – NYTimes.com.
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Wow, if you ever wondered what Practicing Anthropologists do for the world, visit the Point Forward site today.
I found out about this firm’s web site by following a Google add link that was on my own LinkedIn page – yes apparently the whole “targeted advertising” thing actually works from time to time. I was then very pleasantly surprised to find a web experience that gives much more than it takes. Point Forward’s site is a great way to learn about the most exciting, emergent area in anthropology. I plan to encourage my students to visit it this semester. I really liked the cases they provided, e.g., the Chick-fil-A case and the Sony case are particularly effective. They also offer reports for a more in depth look into the wonderful world of Practicing Anthropology.
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Analytic Induction is the hallmark of great ethnography.
Leonardo da Vinci, the great “pre-Principia natural philosopher” (if you will allow such an figurative appellation) that he was, was well aware of this fact, many years before it existed. Here are some choice quotations I found that illustrate my point.
Common Sense is that which judges the things given to it by other senses.
Experience does not err. Only your judgments err by expecting from her what is not in her power.
He who loves practice without theory is like the sailor who boards ship without a rudder and compass and never knows where he may cast.
Why does the eye see a thing more clearly in dreams than the imagination when awake?
Tags: DeepQuotes, Analytic Induction
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Are entrepreneurs actually Ferengi in disguise?
Ferengi, the sniveling money grubbers of Star Trek (pictured here) seem to me to be motivated by one principle above all else: PROFIT! Conversely, entrepreneurs seem to be motivated by a different principle above all else: VALUE!
The important question then becomes: Is there any difference between PROFIT and VALUE?
The people tell us that profit generally refers to the making of gain in business activity for the benefit of the owners of the business. The word comes from Latin meaning “to make progress”. Elsewhere, the people tell us that value, or in this case, “economic value” in something is how much a desired object or condition is worth relative to other objects or conditions. Economic values are expressed as “how much” of one desirable condition or commodity will, or would be given up in exchange for some other desired condition or commodity.
Adam Smith’s “diamond-water paradox” or “paradox of value” is an effective illustration of economic value. Water is far less valuable than diamonds in the market but it is far more useful to our survival.
So, you’re in the desert for a week or two with a bag of diamonds and no more water and up walks Gunga Din with a bag of water. Sadly, he turns out to NOT be ‘a better man than you are’ as Kipling had assumed. So Gunga demands the bag of diamonds from you in exchange for the life saving water. Now the value of that water has increased even beyond the current market value of printer ink (NB: Uncle Leo once claimed printer ink to be worth around $5000 a gallon).This brings us to the saving grace of relativity and the power of entrepreneurs’ natural talent for analytic induction. Analytic induction is the very best and most original of the ethnographic skill set. Ethnographers train long and hard to hone this skill whereas many entrepreneurs seem to have it naturally. Analytic induction is often glossed as “thinking out of the box” among entrepreneurs but it is far more than that. How does one think out of the box?
Ethnomethodologists are very good at thinking out of the box because they are the best observers of social interaction. What makes their method so strong is their unwillingness to trust anything until they have seen it many times. They are so concerned that their own common sense will get the better of them, that they are perpetually trying to avoid the most natural action for all of us – making sense. Some are better at this than others are. There is evidently a knack for this sort of work. The sort of work that, I argue, is very much akin to the knack entrepreneurs have for knowing that something (like personal computers) will be valuable one day.
In summation, I therefore conclude that entrepreneurs are not Ferengi in disguise! At least not the ones I know.
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