The practice of ethnography, which relies on observations of people in their local context, is being disrupted in the digital age. With the right digital tools and incentives, individual stories can be collected at scale to make sense of their lived experiences. Observing online communities facilitated by human-technology interactions then become the fieldwork of digital ethnographers.
Already, digital ethnography has transformed the way industry leaders like P&G, Lego, Adidas and Intel develop their products. Citizens today are smarter, technically savvier and have higher expectations as consumers of products and services. As a result, there’s a clear shift towards human-centric design and methods that treat them as active agents rather than passive and docile. What implications might this shift have for facilitating citizen-focused policies?
New Zealand can be a world leader in using digital ethnography in policy formulation. Lucy Xie will talk about the benefits of ethnography, and the transition of her social enterprise into a digital ethnography agency. She will highlight international trends and use cases, and how these have shaped the development of a new 'ethnodatamapping' platform to harvest and analyse stories at scale. Vivienne Wright will speak on how 'ethnodatamapping' is supporting her organisation, One People One Planet, in getting our youngest citizens involved in voicing their hopes, dreams and fears, by gaining an understanding of how modern stressors affect their anxiety levels, ultimately on a global scale.
About Lucy Xie
Lucy Xie is the founding Director of Memribox Technologies and Mapmo, both based in Auckland, New Zealand. She began her career in law after graduating from the University of Auckland but quickly discovered a passion for innovation. After winning two entrepreneurship competitions, Lucy founded Memribox in 2014 to develop scalable solutions for harvesting people’s stories, starting with the oral history of New Zealand WW2 veterans. In 2016, her enterprise idea Mapmo was one of seven selected for the Youth Enterprise Fund and has since become a digital ethnography agency led by young people. Mapmo was one of 21 ventures selected for incubation at The DO School in Berlin, a global social impact incubation program. Recently, Lucy travelled to China as part of the Minister for Youth’s International Young Leaders Award, where she was able to observe the rise of digital ethnography as a preferred research methodology by big brands wanting to enter the Chinese market. Lucy has worked in four countries in the legal, HR, marketing and IT sectors and she now wants to use her skills and international connections to find solutions to large-scale social issues using the latest technologies.
About Vivienne Wright
Vivienne Wright is the founding Trustee of One People One Planet, (affectionately known by children around the world as “One Peeps”). Uniquely child-focused and child-centric, One People One Planet is a New Zealand registered charitable trust devoted to empowering and facilitating their voices to be heard. Under the banner The Voice of The Children Vivienne and her team are gearing up to do this on a social platform enabling children around the world to aspire together – to share their visions and their dreams – to work towards the world they want to inherit. More than a decade of research and development has gone in to validating the principles and goals of the organisation, which has gained significant support and validation from community groups, educators and academics - and has already touched the lives and tapped the thoughts and feelings of thousands of our youngest citizens.
Note: Papers, presentation slides and any other material provided by the Guest Lecturer will be made available some time after the lecture at Publications > Media & Speeches > Guest Lectures by Visiting Academics.