This months event focused on the power of ethnography and contextual research to uncover consumer insights and drive innovation.

We had an exciting panel of speakers with a broad perspective including UX, design research, cultural anthropology and business strategy. They covered and challenged some of the practical and theoretical aspects of ethnography.

This event was proudly sponsored by PDD (

About our panel of speakers

Simon Roberts, RedAssociates
Simon is a consultant at ReD Associates, an innovation and strategy consultancy with offices in Copenhagen and NYC. His career has been devoted to bringing anthropology to business, first with Ideas Bazaar, the UK’s first ethnographic research consultancy and later in R&D at Intel. This work has been covered by the FT, Daily Telegraph, Marketing Week and BBC Radio 4. Simon is Co-Chair of EPIC – the annual Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference in 2012 (Savannah, GA) and 2013 (London).

Simon’s talk, ‘Anthropology and the abduction of strategy’, will explore how ethnographic research and anthropology can impact strategic intent and practical action in large organisations.

Jaimes Nel, Connected Futures
Jaimes Nel a freelance design researcher and strategist at Connected Futures ( He provides creative strategy for digital/brand/service innovation, with experience in using social research methods to answer why and how people will use products and services that don't yet exist.
Jaimes was Head of Research at service design pioneer Live|work before starting Connected Futures and has worked with a wide range of clients and sectors, including the BBC, Channel 4, Orange, Aviva, Ordnance Survey, Faber & Faber, Samsung, NHS, Johnson & Johnson, Nokia and others.

He studied Sociology at Goldsmiths and applies a solid grounding in social research methods and a healthy dose of pragmatism to design research. He likes to see things ship.
His interest in ethnography began while working as a photographer in South Africa, enjoying the contrast of spending mornings with CEO's and afternoons on the factory floor!
Underlying everything Jaimes does is a curiosity for how people and technology evolve together.

Simon Johnson, Claro Partners
Simon is an ethnographer and general UX dude in London. He writes about various ethnography related matters here: Blog:

What he’s known for?
In his own words, Simon is a mad Geordie that grew up in the Bahamas and lives with his Nepalese wife and 4 cats in SE London. He’s also an experienced Usability Consultant and designer with strong qualitative research background. In particular ethnographic research including contextual/depth interviews with more than 300 user interviews on the behalf of international blue chip clients.

He’s also involved with the UK Usability scene having spoken at UPA in London and Brighton on several occasions

Simon has recently run ethnography projects for Claro Partners and Vodafone in Barcelona and the US. Previously he was a usability consultant with Flow Interactive, mainly doing lab-based interviews for clients including TfL, The Guardian, Reuters, Law society, Yell,, SonyBMG, etc.

About our sponsor: PDD
PDD is a London product and service design innovation consultancy working across the medical, pharma, consumer, transport, FMCG, industrial, commercial and communications industries. They are made up of designers, planners, researchers, anthropologists, scientists, ethnographers and just about everything else in-between. In fact, the only thing that links them all together is the goal they’re working towards – delivering meaningful innovation that works.
Designing solutions driven by the needs, desires, and contexts of people has been growing rapidly the past few years. PDDs partnership with MAYA design and LUMA institute ensures that human centred design and ethnographic fieldwork is embedded in their innovation process. To find out more visit or visit their blog to see what's been inspiring them this week.

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