In this episode of the Anthropology in Business podcast, Louise Vang Jensen speaks with Matt Artz about her career as a business anthropologist. Louise discusses the evolution of applying anthropology in business within a Copenhagen context. She also shares her journey from studying anthropology to joining Is It a Bird and becoming the Co-CEO. She also discusses how the practice has matured over the years and emphasizes the importance of shifting from a focus on methodology to a mindset.
About Louise Vang Jensen
Louise Vang Jensen is a partner and co-CEO at Is It a Bird, a Copenhagen-based strategic innovation agency. With a background in anthropology and over a decade of consulting experience, she focuses on integrating anthropologically informed, human-centered approaches into business. Throughout her career, Louise has led projects and facilitated teams to build innovation capacity and enact organizational change. Her competencies extend to ethnographic research, co-creation, analysis, and project management. She has collaborated with a diverse range of organizations, including commercial companies like NIKE and public sector organizations such as the Municipality of Copenhagen.
- Shifting from a focus on methodology to a mindset of curiosity and reflection is crucial in applying anthropology in business.
- Combining anthropology and design thinking offers strategic potential by integrating slow, reflective approaches with fast, experimental ones.
- Embracing friction and uncomfortable truths can lead to valuable insights and transformation in client interactions.
- 00:01:28 – Louise discovers anthropology
- 00:03:08 – The focus of anthropology education in Copenhagen was not on business
- 00:05:07 – Louise reached out to agencies to apply anthropology in business
- 00:06:22 – Louise joined Is It a Bird after selling a project
- 00:10:11 – The name “Is It a Bird” is a reference to Superman
- 00:11:00 – The philosophy of Is It a Bird is to start with questions and curiosity
- 00:15:00 – Shifted focus from methodology to mindset and value of anthropology.
- 00:19:00 – Transitioned from data collector to trusted advisor.
- 00:21:00 – Anthropology is now recognized and acknowledged in business contexts.
- 00:24:23 – The combination of anthropology and design in strategy
- 00:25:44 – The potential of anthropology in strategy and problem-solving
- 00:27:13 – The importance of curiosity and looking around in strategy
- 00:28:20 – Exploring the role of anthropology as a trusted advisor
- 00:30:29 – Staying in the trouble and embracing friction
- 00:32:00 – Encouragement for those starting their own practice
- 00:32:53 – The value of holding on to uncomfortable truths