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In the last 10,000 years, which innovation has been more responsible for human progress and development than any other? Was it the invention of the wheel? The discovery of metal? Democracy? The printing press? While all of these things were important, the case could be made that something you might not have considered is even more important.
Anthropology invites us to see the world through a different kind of lens — one that’s grounded in extensive research, validated by logical thinking and informed by a rigorous and systematic methodology — to help
us uncover truths that we might otherwise never have recognized.
Digital transformation isn’t about powerful hardware or lightning-
fast processing speeds or coding prowess, it’s about people. Just as succeeding in the automotive market requires a new set of skills, so does building technologies.
“Digital anthropology is the very best way to understand the consequences of technology usage for people.”
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Digital anthropologists ... have taught us that our relationship with technology is more complex, more nuanced and more interdependent than we may have previously imagined. Customers have a multitude of needs that they themselves haven’t yet recognized, and, of course, businesses that can leverage the power of digital technology to transform and meet those needs stand to win profits and market share. But they’re also poised to enable bigger changes — possibly even to alter humanity’s very nature, or to redefine the limits of human potential.
If this sounds like a tall order — and an undertaking of the deepest consequence — that’s because it is.
In this paper, we’ll go a step further. We’ll explore how the discipline of anthropology, which has adopted and built upon Maslow’s ideas, can provide a relevant framework for thinking about issues and challenges that will likely arise over the course of digital transformation projects. We’ll delve deep into the emerging field of digital anthropology to investigate how it can provide insights that can help us build new technologies that reflect and meet our core human needs. And we’ll explore how adopting digital anthropology’s methodology and approach will enable us to understand the purpose and meaning of the digital products and solutions we’re creating.
This approach asks us to set aside our usual assumptions and prejudices and take an unbiased view of the existing evidence. Anthropology invites us to see the world through a different kind of lens — one that’s grounded in extensive research, validated by logical thinking and informed by a rigorous and systematic methodology — to help us uncover truths that we might otherwise never have recognized. It opens our eyes to new insights and our minds to new ways of thinking.