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Jan Chipchase on Field Research for Actionable Insights

Jan Chipchase is the founder and director of Studio D Radiodurans, a research, design and innovation consultancy. He specializes in identifying nuanced patterns of human behavior. The insight it generates informs and inspires design, strategy, brand and public policy.

Jan describes his work in design anthropology in terms of a satellite launched into space that is chartered with identifying new planets, existential threats, but with a lens that can also be turned back on earth to help his clients also understand themselves.

I’ve been fascinated with Jan’s work for quite some time and had previously read and recommended both of his books. His research provides great insights into how products are being intentionally and unintentionally used and often take him into gray market environments.

In this OODAcast, we discuss Jan’s work but also his insights into how to conduct field research, build focused teams, and what sorts of insights can be derived. He also shares some great OODA Loop stories where quick decision-making and disrupting expected behaviors allowed him to get out of some tight situations.

Earlier in his career he was Executive Creative Director of Global Insights at frog, a global design and innovation consultancy, where he headed up the global research practice. Prior to that he was Principal Scientist at Nokia where he specialized in entry level products. He’s worked on products that have collectively sold over a billion units.

His first book Hidden in Plain Sight was published in English, Japanese, Chinese, Korean and Russian. It became a best-seller in South Korea, of all places. The follow-up Today’s Office was published in South Korea. He also wrote The Field Study Handbook.

At various times he has been based out of London, Shanghai, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Berlin and a decade in Tokyo.

Podcast Version:

Additional Links:

Studio D Radiodurans

Jan’s Books:

Hidden in Plain Sight

The Field Study Handbook

Book Recommendations:

The Culture Map
Living in Data
Sensemaking in Organizations


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