I am passionate about making organizations human-centric.
I'm a global tech ethnographer. I co-founded PL Data, a start-up that designs human-centered research systems by integrating data science and social science.
With more than 15 years’ experience working with designers, engineers, and scientists, I have a particular interest in designing human-centered systems. I advise corporations and startups on using Thick Data--quantitative, ethnographic research methods that uncover emotions, stories, and meaning--to improve strategy, policy, products, and services. Organisations I have worked with include P&G, Nokia, GE, Kickstarter, the United Nations and NASA.
Through extensive fieldwork in China and Mexico as a Fulbright Fellow and National Science Foundation Fellow, I have developed expertise on digital communities, leading to the formulation of an innovative sociological framework for understanding online behavior, The Elastic Self
. I'm also cofounder of Ethnography Matters
, the leading blogs for ethnographic community, which covers how ethnographers, designers, programmers, engineers are using ethnographic approaches. Along with my consulting work, I am also a visiting scholar at New York University's Interactive Telecommunication Program
and a fellow at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet Studies.
I am currently in-residence at IDEO
in Shanghai, China.
I love speaking to organizations about Big Data, Thick Data, social media, innovation, and China (for speaking inquiries, please contact Leigh Bureau). I am the proud owner of an internet famous dog, #ellethedog.
Updates: Giving a talk on Feb. 18, 2014 at Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University / Transcript to my opening keynote EPIC 2013 / Video of "Elastic Self" & "Designing for Trust" talk in Sweden / Article on why Big Data Needs Thick Data / Fast Company interview with me & slideshow of my fieldwork / comment on Clive Thompson's Wired article on Weixin / Wired UK article on Transparency in China
ongoing field notes and thoughts on the socio-cultural contexts of technology usage in low-income communities.
thoughts on the intersection of people, computing, cities, and the spatrial production of knowledge and practices
daily observations on how youth & migrant interaction with digital technologies are changing the future of China and the world
a research blog on the rhetoric and history of "free-information"
a community of ethnographers blogging about their research in industry & academia
group blog about technology, media and design in the Greater China region