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Recently I wrote about the three campuses–Dell, Apple, Microsoft–and what you could glean just from looking at the walls. Dave Pollard discusses a similar sort of observation-centered activitiy: customer anthroplogy. The art and science of observation applied to people in their “end user” environment. very interesting…and encouraging.

Says Pollard:

“What you are looking for is anything that clearly does not work properly or effectively, such as:

* Workarounds: Things people do that the process, tools and facilities obviously were not designed to accommodate, e.g. extra manual worksheets that are maintained because the computer reports don’t do the job.

* User Torture: Evidence of obvious physical or psychological discomfort, e.g. people with phones cradled in their neck because they don’t have headsets.

* Obstacles and Barriers: Signs that people can’t do their job properly because something is physically or procedurally in their way, e.g. people who leave their station for inordinately long times because they need to ‘get approvals’.

* Repurposed Objects: Tools designed for one thing that have been appropriated for something else because no other suitable tool was available, e.g. makeshift doorstops to increase airflow or light in a factory.

* Wear Patterns: Evidence of stress or overuse, e.g. damaged power cords or hinges.

How to Save the World

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