All posts by ypineault

People-Centered Innovation, book review and reflexions

OliveiraCoverWebWhat can anthropologists do outside the academia, especially in the private sector? It is a tricky question to which this book offers answers, exemplified by detailed cases the author faced as a professional anthropologist. Halfway between biography and an anthropology essay, Oliveira presents his professional career within the last five years, as he switched from being a clinical psychologist to a practitioner in innovation research. Over the pages, we follow the evolution of his thoughts as he conducts different ethnographical researches and eventually co-creation workshops: from crisps consumption to wine, going through cryopreservation to promotions in shopping center to achieve in the technology sector.

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Applied anthropology : toward an hermeneutic approach

Recently I have been thinking about how to apply my anthropology knowledge and ethnographer skills to work in organizations. Through the multiple experts, consultants and applied social scientists I met, there seems to be two different visions of the “applied social sciences expert”. On the one hand, there is the traditional consultant who comes with solutions based on his or her specific knowledge; this is the vision we often find in management consulting. On the other hand, there is a less mundane vision of expertise which is based on shared experience, learning and where the solutions are co-created by both parties. I think this vision has something to do with an hermeneutic epistemology and I will try to show that anthropology has the needed skills to act as a co-creation agent.

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Industry as an ecosystem : the problems of a functionalist analogy

An ecosystem metaphor is often used to describe an industry as a whole, like a cluster, but having a more “lively” aspect. Montreal’s videogame industry promoters I met while doing my master thesis used the expression to describe the industry’s nature nowadays. It carries a strong living aspect as all parts make a whole organism, appearing to be one of the most valued industry in Montreal. However, as I argued in my master thesis: «We should not limit the ecosystem metaphor to its vivacity; ecosystem can easily be unbalanced and even destroyed by an external change.» (Pineault, 2014: 69) Anthropology’s Functionalists made an extensive use of the organic analogy in their attempts to explain culture and critics have showed its limit. In this short article, I would like to explain why we must be cautious about using the ecosystem to describe an industrial or creative cluster.

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Plot and conspiracy theories as a belief system

tunnelMy girlfriend and I recently had a discussion with friends who believe that some historical events may not have happened, precisely about the Holocaust, as they used negationists theories. I don’t know if talking about conspiracy theories is initially pejorative (if it is, this is not the tone I intend to use in this article) but the term precisely focus on a knowledge ensemble that refutes common thoughts about different subjects. What struck me is the fact that as long as we talked, we couldn’t agree on anything because we were not on the same scale and this is what I would like to explain here. I will argue that believing (and I carefully chose the word here) in conspiracy theories goes further than facts, it involves a different belief system.

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Interviewer’s three positions

Using the interview as a data gathering tool seemed to be an easy thing to do, until I did my fieldwork. Manuals say that you must define what kind of interview you want to do and how to adapt: you need to be prepared (so your questions will directly relate to your problematic), be a good listener, and avoid inducing answers from your informants. When it comes to ethnographical interview, boundaries are blurred since you try to break the artificial position that normally emerge when you conduct a discussion within a sterile context.

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LinkedIn as a part of projective city : strategic networking

I recently subscribed to LinkedIn, wanting to know how video game developers use it as a tool to promote themselves in the developers community. I made my own cv-profile and rapidly got “in touch” with a few of them but I asked myself: hummm….what’s next? Okay, well, I’ve done my CV things but what can I do next? Facebook, for example, gives much more options to interact or share with friends but…wait! They aren’t friends but contacts, professional contacts who insert in a network that celebrate employability. What does it mean?

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