It is a practice of observation, description and curious questions that lead us to a clear picture of what is true right now. Digging deeper we look for the drivers, motivations, norms and interconnected systems contributing to the landscape in which we find ourselves. We strive to make visible the often unseen or hidden factors that contribute to the current situation.
When an understanding and awareness of the present is seen and shared, it accelerates our ability and willingness to choose and act toward an envisioned future.
Listening and exploring is useful when…
- Moving into a new context, geography, population, or delivery mechanism
- Avoiding duplication of, coordinating or optimizing multi-stakeholder efforts
- Inviting local involvement and listening to constituencies on behalf of ‘designing with…’
- Seeking root causes and unraveling wicked problems
How we approach listening and exploring…
We ask a lot of questions!
What do we see? What do we notice? What’s going on here? Where are we?
Then we go about answering them using a mixed methods ethnographic approach—activating our position as curious outsiders, avoiding preconceived frameworks, and using a full breadth of data (both formal and informal). This approach also acknowledges and skillfully uses the investigator themselves—and all of their experiences and identities—as a tool for discovery, knowing that who we are matters deeply to what we see.
Our qualitative approach is highly participatory and inclusive, treating data collection events as an opportunity to engage, connect, and learn. We use pictures and storytelling, immersive observation, semi-structured and open-ended interviews, role plays, games and activities to elicit responses.
- Formative / Design Research
- Situation Analysis
- Participatory Research
- Behavioral Insights
- System Mapping