On a recent episode of This Anthro Life, Adam Gamwell, Ryan Collins, and Matt Artz got to interview Dr. Alexandra Mack on the topic of applying business anthropology to innovation in enterprises. About Dr. Alexandra Mack Using her business anthropology toolkit, Alex leads innovative problem solving and strategy development based on a deep understanding of the surrounding culture and activities. […]
I’m design anthropologist who has spent over a decade working at the intersection of user experience and product management.
When not working, teaching or volunteering, you will likely find me learning. A self-described lifelong learner, I have earned an MS in applied anthropology, and MBA in Management Information Systems, a BS in Biotechnology, and a BBA in Computer Information Systems. I have also obtained certifications in Software Product Management from the University of Alberta, Project Management from University of California Irvine, ITIL Foundation Plus from Villanova University, and Lean Six Sigma (LLS) from Purdue University.
I am an avid reader, traveler, and lover of all things culture. I am continually seeking out new experiences across the world. Over the past nine years, I have had the fortunate opportunity to travel to 35 countries and engage in cultural immersion experiences, such as researching the vocalizations of Mantled Howlers in Nicaragua, working on a biodynamic and organic vineyard in Italy, and hiking the Inca Trail in Peru.
I am also a visual artist and musician and enjoy getting out into nature, practicing yoga, and meditating in my spare time.
I apply the methods and theory of anthropology to product management and user experience. Using ethnography, I help companies unlocks hidden insights with users, data, and products through qualitative research.
I am currently serving as Director of User Experience (UX) Design for UM Technologies, VP of Business Development of Appek Apps, and an adjunct professor at Misericordia University.
At UM/Appek Apps, I have led research, design, and product management efforts to ship and scale products in the enterprise and consumer space. I have led research, design, and agile product management efforts to ship and scale web and mobile products in the enterprise and consumer space. I have experience working in energy, biotechnology, healthcare, financial services, telecommunications, entertainment, fashion, broadcasting, and nonprofit. Customers or end-users of products I have worked on included Verizon, Dunkin Donuts, Bluecross Blueshield of Pennsylvania, Direct Energy, Taylor Consulting, Romeo + Juliet Couture, Sequencing.com, Special Guest App, and more.
To give back to the anthropology, product and UX community, I also volunteer and guest host for the podcast, This Anthro Life where I discuss business and design anthropology; and write articles on user experience (UX), user research, and design leadership for UserZoom.
Consulting Podcasters: Prototyping a Democratic Tool for Multiple Voices, Storytelling and Solution FindingAnthropology, Matt Artz
Thanks to the Society for Applied Anthropology (SfAA) for having Adam Gamwell and I of This Anthro Life present at the annual meeting in Philadelphia. We presented as part of the New Methods, Interventions And Approaches session. Our paper title was Consulting Podcasters: Prototyping a Democratic Tool for Multiple Voices, Storytelling and Solution Finding. You can read […]
At this year’s Society for Applied Anthropology (SfAA) annual meeting in Philadelphia, Adam Gamwell and myself will be representing This Anthro Life as we present on consulting podcasting. We are part of the New Methods, Interventions And Approaches panel, and our paper is titled Consulting Podcasters: Prototyping a Democratic Tool for Multiple Voices, Storytelling and Solution Finding. […]
For new practitioners of design anthropology, networking and mentorship is key to developing as a design anthropologist looking to apply ethnographic methods to solve design and business challenges. If you fit into that bucket, considering joining the following anthropology organizations and associations, and going to the yearly conferences. By participating in these communities, your knowledge of ethnographic theory and methods […]
Design anthropology is a form of applied anthropology that grew out of cultural anthropology. It involves the collaboration between anthropologists, designers, and often other stakeholders. It is a young practice only stretching back to the 1980s. However, despite its relatively short history, it is incredibly forward-looking. But because it is so young, new practitioners often are left looking […]
Design anthropology, with its foundation in ethnographic theory and research methods, is adept at solving modern complex problems by helping practitioners to understand their user’s needs and wants. It has been used in enterprise organizations and consultancies s like IDEO and frog design for decades. If you do know about it, learn more with these videos: […]
While design anthropology, with its use of ethnographic theory and methods, lends itself well to the application of design in business, not all design anthropology models are created equal. In Design Anthropology: Theory and Practice, Ton Otto and Rachel Charlotte Smith argue that there are three models: dA, Da, and DA. Design Anthropology (dA, Da, & DA) […]
Design anthropology is a form of applied anthropology that makes use of ethnographic methods. It is reflective, yet given its design-orientation, also deliberately and openly prescriptive. Moreover, design anthropology is adept at solving modern complex problems given its ability to understand the problem by conducting applied research which is framed out through the theory and scholarship […]
“Design anthropology describes the practices of anthropologists who collaborate with designers and team members from other disciplines in order to develop new product ideas” (Wasson 2000). The Value of Ethnographic Research “The primary contribution of the anthropologists lies in the ethnographic research they conduct with users, or potential users, of the product being envisioned, in […]