In the UK, the average refrigerator is set two degrees Celsius or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit too warm according to the climate action team WRAP. Might be worth giving yours a check to make sure it’s set to 32-38 degrees Fahrenheit.
Why does this matter?
Well, Unilever mayonnaise brand, Hellman’s, shares that some food can last three days longer if your fridge is set to the right temperature. Many aren’t aware of the right temperature to set their fridge at, nor its impact on food waste. To solve this, Hellman’s has literally turned a mayonnaise jar into a thermometer by adding thermochromic ink to its labels, meaning the label changes color based on the temperature. The label indicates whether a fridge is cool enough to keep food fresh.
Amazing innovation! But, how might the need for a temperature-indicating mayonnaise jar have been discovered?
Perhaps it was via deep-dive ethnography, a qualitative research method that explores and mines for insight through the power of observation and storytelling in natural settings.
In our qualitative practice here at Bovitz, we conduct ethnography every day and in doing so, aspire to go beyond the “why” that is traditionally the focus of qualitative research in order to create the “what if” that drives innovation.
Conducting ethnography is a bit like mixing a cultural anthropologist with a secret agent. It’s every bit as observational and contextually rich as it is stealth and cunning. We collect stories and artifacts like any good anthropologist, but we also rely on non-verbal cues and indirect questioning to uncover information, nuance, and inspiration.
And like any good craftsman, knowing when to use a tool is more important than having it in our tool belt. Below are a few of our favorites.
Visual archaeology: studying where products are placed in the home, who uses them, when, why, and which are used frequently.
A day in the life: observation and journaling of how information and products are discovered, explored, used, and shared within a given context. Workarounds and body language are central cues.
Brand/product collage: collaging the emotional aspects of a product/brand.
Mind mapping: diagramming thoughts around a central keyword to structure ideas, as well as mine for product opportunities
Vision boarding: creating a multi-media board of hopes and dreams
This type of work takes us on amazing adventures each day. From immersing ourselves in communities, to understanding how a client can have more of a local influence, to technology deprivation exercises that help us understand the role of client technologies in people’s lives, ethnography helps us put people first and define opportunity along the way.
Are you ready to have some great stories from the field too?