Industry Keynote


Jeanette Blomberg
Title: Embedding participatory agendas in industry: The legacy of PD

Abstract: PD has a long history of reaching out to and involving practitioners working in commercial, not-for-profit, and governmental organizations to achieve the goal of having a more inclusive and representative set of voices included in design and development processes. In the early days of PD there was an assumed connection between academic researchers and workplace participants in defining project objectives and developing strategies to achieve them. As opportunities to embed PD in organizations became more limited due to a weakening of worker rights legislation and the adoption of PD approaches outside Scandinavia it became important for PD to find new ways to establish and maintain connections to industry in order to foster participatory practices beyond the academy. In this talk I will reflect on PD’s connections to commercial, not-for-profit, and governmental organizations and will point to opportunities and challenges to strengthen those ties going forward.

Jeanette Blomberg is an anthropologist who has spent over 30 years working in high tech, corporate research contexts – first as a member of the Work Practice and Technology group at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), later as Director of Experience Modeling research at Sapient Corporation, and currently as a research staff member at IBM Research. Along the way she has been an industry-affiliated professor at the Blekinge Institute of Technology in Sweden where she received an honorary doctorate in 2011, a visiting professor at Copenhagen University, and an honorary adjunct professor at Roskilde University in Denmark. Jeanette is well known for her research on ethnography and design with two recent publications from 2012 Positioning Ethnography within Participatory Design and from 2013 Reflections on 25 Years of Ethnography in CSCW. Jeanette’s current research includes a critical assessment of the promise of data analytics within the context of enterprise transformation and an exploration of the possibilities for an anthropology of services.


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