As a clinical assistant professor in the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, Gina Fong teaches Ethnographic Customer Insights. She was voted “Professor of the Year” by Kellogg’s 2023 graduating class. In this conversation, we discuss how her work translates to understanding and improving the employee experience.

Mentioned in this Episode: 

Time Codes:
(2:01) – Welcoming Gina.
(2:12) – What is a consumer anthropologist and what is ethnographic research?
(4:10) – Is it fair to say employee anthropology would be a way to apply some of the ethnographic skillset as well?
(5:19) – How is ethnography different than the way employees may be surveyed today?
(7:54) – What are we looking to learn versus what can’t we learn from ethnographic research?
(9:49) – Is there a best practice approach or do you cycle through both options?
(12:51) – What are the basics of how to conduct ethnographic research?
(18:53) – How do we become better observers?
(22:02) – How do we improve our ability to inquire?
(23:12) – Is it a myth to help people who are struggling to think of a couple options?
(26:15) – What are the actual steps to doing the research?
(27:42) – What would be the better research objective
(30:02) – Are there any other steps we haven’t covered yet?
(32:18) – Have you ever taken improv classes?
(40:43) – Do you share your subcultures with students?
(43:09) – What are the best ways to keep bias from this type of research?
(48:16) – What are the other final steps?
(50:28) – How do you help people go deeper when you’re asking questions of them?
(54:49) – How do you think about being in the environment changes the environment?
(56:18) – Is asking ‘why’ questions, as opposed to ‘what’ or ‘how’ something you do?
(57:11) – How can leaders in a business start to practice this?
(1:00:26) – How do we get better at giving gifts?