Science Of Desire Article Summary and Critique

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Summary The article The Science of Desire presents ethnography and its proponents play an important role in modern business world. Author Ante began with an example, the satellite-radio war, to show how ethnography worked in business. In satellite-radio war, Sirius Satellite Ratio made a team of social scientists, designers, and ethnographers. Through studying customers’ habit of listening to music, watching TV and reading magazines, the team concluded several facts that can defeat competitors. Then, depending on the research, Sirius launched its new product, the Sirius S50. Later, as the company’s wish, the S50 became one of the hottest sellers in that season. First, as author Ante (2006) said, “ethnographers’ findings often do not lead to a product or service, only a generalized sense of what people want” (p. 100). Even if ethnographers find something, it also needs designers and engineers to make products or services to fit it. This process is not easy, even the findings cannot transmit into products and service. Second, ethnographers’ research usually takes a long time, and the result from using the findings needs long time to come out. Therefore, how to use ethnography right is very important. The author gave five advises to do ethnography right. First, “Think Big Thoughts”. Companies should used ethnography in big and broad questions, not in small and detailed ones. Second, “Due Diligence”. Companies should use the right consultants for their projects. Third, “Start Early”. Companies should use ethnography at the beginning of the development process of projects. Forth, “Sell, Sell, Sell”. Managers should constantly tell executives why use ethnography and how it work. Fifth, “Build a Culture”. Companies should make the thought of using ethnography into everyone of the companies and make it become a culture of companies. With a right way to use ethnography, some people believe ethnography could become a core competence. Second, ethnography cracks markets. GE wanted to get into the plastic-fiber business, which provides material for higher-value, higher-margin products such as fire-retardant jackets and bulletproof vests. However, after research, Jump researchers found customers want to take part in the development of advanced materials. Therefore, GE shares prototypes with customers. Furthermore, instead of currying favor with executives, it works closely with engineers to solve technical problems. Third, ethnography transforms a culture. From 1990s, Intel, a big corporation that does not market directly to consumers, brought in ethnographers at the highest levels of management in order to focus on consumer products more.

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