Jay Hasbrouck on Anthropology in Business with Matt Artz

  • Jay Hasbrouck on Anthropology in Business
Jay Hasbrouck on Anthropology in Business Cover
Anthropology in Business with Matt Artz
Jay Hasbrouck on Anthropology in Business with Matt Artz

In this episode of the , Jay Hasbrouck speaks with  about his career as a . They also discuss the evolving role of anthropology and insights in business, the second edition of his book Ethnographic Thinking: From Method to Mindset, and how ethnographic thinking can help organizations navigate complexity and uncertainty in areas like AI. Jay earned a PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Southern California, currently works as a Senior Staff Researcher on the ads team at Google, and previously held Pathfinder roles at Google and Meta.

About Jay Hasbrouck

Jay Hasbrouck has over 15 years of experience working as an anthropologist in industry settings, including both in-house roles and consulting. He is currently a Senior Staff Researcher on the ads team at Google, focusing on identifying emerging needs and opportunity areas to solve for long-term value and market advantage. Prior to this, Jay held Pathfinder roles at Google, working on Gen AI, AR/VR and the competitive landscape, and at Meta, identifying emerging needs 3-5 years out and mapping growth opportunities in areas like creativity, authentic expression, social gaming, and community growth. Jay was also previously a partner at Ethnoworks, the founder of Filament Insights & Innovation, a senior human factors specialist at IDEO, and a research scientist at Intel. He is the author of “Ethnographic Thinking: From Method to Mindset”, now in its second edition.

About Ethnographic Thinking: From Method to Mindset (Second Edition)

This second edition of Ethnographic Thinking: From Method to Mindset serves as a primer for practitioners who want to apply ethnography to real-world challenges and commercial ventures. Building on the first edition, each chapter now includes a section focusing on practical advice to help readers activate key insights in their work.

The book’s premise — that the thought processes and patterns ethnographers develop through their practice have strategic value beyond consumer insights — remains the same. Using real-world examples, Hasbrouck demonstrates how a more holistic view of an organization can help it benefit from a deeper understanding of its offerings within dynamic cultural contexts. In doing so, he argues that ethnographic thinking helps organizations increase appreciation for openness and exploration, hone interpretive skills, and cultivate holistic thinking; allowing them to broaden perspectives, challenge assumptions, and cross-pollinate ideas between differing viewpoints.

Ethnographic Thinking: From Method to Mindset is essential reading for managers and strategists who want to tap into the full potential that an ethnographic perspective offers, as well as those searching more broadly for new ways to innovate. It will also be of value to students and practitioners of applied ethnography, as well as professionals who would like to optimize the value of ethnographic thinking in their organizations.

Key Takeaways

  • The second edition of Ethnographic Thinking: From Method to Mindset is out now with new updates.
  • Timing and relevance are crucial in delivering insights that can accelerate product development and innovation.

  • Anthropologists should focus on simplifying complex information and providing frameworks that help organizations make informed decisions.

  • Storytelling is a powerful tool for conveying research findings and engaging stakeholders.

  • Understanding the business context and aligning research with organizational goals is essential for anthropologists to create value in the business world.


  • 1:15 Exploring Ethnographic Thinking in Business with Jay Hasbrouck
  • 2:16 Evolving Insights Work in Tech and Innovation
  • 4:15 Aligning Passion Projects With Organizational Strategy
  • 7:17 Strategies for Timely Team Insight Delivery
  • 9:33 Balancing Enthusiasm and Professional Identity in Research Careers
  • 10:59 Transitioning Academic Skills to Business Contexts
  • 12:1Ethnographic Thinking: From Method to Mindset (Second Edition)
  • 14:38 Adapting to Complexity in Organizational Contexts
  • 17:48 The Underutilized Power of Storytelling in Anthropology
  • 21:00 Balancing Complexity and Simplicity in Professional Communication
  • 23:19 Addressing AI Complexity in Business and Risk Management
  • 24:46 Contextualizing AI in an Evolving Technological Landscape

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