Design uses anthropological tools such as ethnography to connect its human intentionality to its human context. But design has yet to truly partner with anthropology, and vice versa, due to misconceptions on both sides. BusinessWeek discusses the demonstration of how ethnography and design have emerging business value, yet both fields are still generally perceived as marginal to business, government and society. Anthropology and design represent the yin (internal contemplative) and yang (external active) energies and, by working together, they can balance each others' weaknesses and enhance each others' strengths. At stake is an understanding and respect for anthropology and designs' insights, skills and intentions to positively affect human connectivity and the world in particular regard to the fields of business, government and society.
Paper presented at 'NEXT', the AIGA Design Conference, Denver, United States, 11-14 October 2007