Conversations with people who share our passion
for understanding what makes people tick
UChicago’s Nicole Beechum on the experience of students in urban school districts from an equity and strengths-based perspective.
A qualitative researcher of 20 years, Carrie Yury has found that agile can make qualitative research process and findings more visible to stakeholders and even create new hunger for user understanding.
Uber’s Molly Stevens walks us through the company’s recent project designed to foster moments of connection between drivers and riders—including the surprising things they don’t want to know about each other.
Researcher Jonathan Bean is an architect, sustainability consultant, ethnographer, marketing guru, and expert on consumer taste—and he brought all of those skills together to study the cultural and social movement unfolding at a Harlem restaurant. Bean takes us through his interdisciplinary approach to studying the current moment, and the importance of the environment around us.
Indigo Books’ Markus Grupp knows that when it comes to deeply human needs—how we’re inspired and how we communicate—algorithms don’t hold a candle to person to person connection.
Maci Peterson, founder of On Second Thought, wants to give us a chance to correct ourselves, and improve the way we communicate in the process.
Credit Karma’s Yasmine Khan shows us how exhibit design can help stakeholders and product teams grasp research insights in a whole new way.
We’re conducting a study on Research Leaders to better understand what it’s like to grow and manage a user research practice today.
People Nerd John Dominski has spent countless hours studying gorillas. We chat about how the experience taught him to be a better observer, and how his learnings can be applied to human research.
2017 was all about breaking down silos and walking in someone else’s shoes. So, what can it tell us about what to expect in the coming year? Here, four trends we’ll be watching unfold in user research in 2018.
For the second discussion in our series about “Research Roadblocks,” dscout sat down with a group of People Nerds to ask: What can researchers do to ensure our insights actually have influence?
David O’Donnell and his team at Salesforce Ignite were only a week into product development on a new disaster relief tool when Hurricane Harvey hit. Here’s how they captured first hand accounts of people’s disaster experiences, and the invaluable insights uncovered.
Researcher Karen Eisenhauer conducted a linguistic study of the twelve films in the “Disney Princess canon” to see just what these films are really saying about gender roles.
Leadership consultant Lisa Stefanac, group behavior expert, breaks down the importance of good questions, the value of silence, and everything you can learn about yourself from how you play with others.
With the 2017 Corporate Researchers Conference happening right in our neck of the woods, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to gather as many people-curious researchers as possible in one room for a night of drinks, games, conversation, and of course, People Nerd portraits!
Ran Zilca, Chief Data-Science Officer at Happify, talks about what makes us happy—both what the data tells us, and what he found on his own personal 6,000 mile journey across the country.
Award-winning documentary filmmaker Alexandra Nikolchev is a People Nerd whose work centers on social justice issues and immigration. Those kinds of narratives, she says, require filmmakers to leave their preconceptions at the door in order to really listen.
Recently, we convened a group of People Nerds to explore the concept of research success, the roadblocks that prevent us from getting there, and what’s really at stake when challenges arise.
Allie Mahler and Scott Weiss have spent most of 2017 talking to teenagers, and they’re feeling optimistic about the future. We sat down to learn what the newest generation really wants.
Tips to better understand group dynamics, pick-up on non-verbal cues, and keep people engaged in your next big meeting.
Aryel Cianflone started researching researchers to get better at her job. But quickly, she learned that everyone’s approach and process is so different that it is worth sharing.
Anne Helen Petersen really knows popularity. At Buzzfeed she dissects the role of celebrities in our daily lives and what it really means to have someone as your spirit animal.
Is curiosity a learned trait? Julie and Stefanie Norvaisas discuss working together, learning from each other, and the differences between researching for the digital and physical realms.
Susan Kresnicka’s recent 13 month study of fandom revealed that nearly everyone is a fan of something and what that means to brands who want to empower their loyalists.
dscout’s head of product, Jonathan Fairman, talks to fellow product management nerd + people nerd, Suzanne Abate, on the 100PM podcast about why great product managers are the leaders of user empathy.
A researcher’s job doesn’t end when the data has been collected. We asked people nerds about the other hats they wear most often and why they do it.
Lance Weiler talks about the power of collective narrative, the medium as an innovation driver, why stories are more powerful than data, and how the human experience is at the core of it all.
Josh Elman knows what people want. A visionary product manager who helped grow some of the most prominent startups in Silicon Valley into the juggernauts they are today, Elman seems to have a sixth sense for zeroing in on what’s next.
How many things have you touched today? Your phone, most likely. Your favorite coffee mug? A toothbrush? The clothes on your back? What else? If your answer is “nothing,” Paula Zuccotti suggests you think harder.
We asked the professionally curious researchers, strategists, designers and storytellers for their number one research rule and why. Here’s what drives the people nerd tribe.
Dr. Brian Levine is a neuropsychologist and cognitive neuroscientist at Baycrest’s Rotman Research Institute and at the University of Toronto, who’s specialized in memory for over 20 years.
Hsu, sees a very clear through path in their diverse work: “Anywhere I’ve gone I’ve always tried to figure out a research question that could better serve the community that I think is underserved.”
Madsbjerg argues that in order to really understand what’s going on around us, we have to place the same value on the humanities as we do on data and science.
We chat with Kat Lee to learn how Square, the tech unicorn, breaks out of their bubble, the importance of individual voices, and what it takes to make a true “People Nerd.”
Adler’s most famous as a founder of Kickstarter; he enabled regular people to help other regular people to realize their entrepreneurial dreams. And then he scaled the process.
For Martha Cotton, the promise of design-thinking is in continually solving problems driven by ongoing development of empathy. We discuss building deep human understanding into design at Fjord and how she teaches it at Northwestern.
InVision’s Prinicipal Researcher and design anthropoligist, Charles Pearson, chatted with dscout recently about how he’s weaving qualitative, discovery-oriented research into InVision’s “ship, ship, ship” agile environment.
Natalie Hanson has had anthropology on the brain since at least the third grade. She’s followed her curiosities in the decades since, from her Ph.D. in anthropology to building out the UX teams for both SAP and ZS Associates.
Rick Bond has conducted, scaled and evangelized research at startups across the bay area. We discuss how he builds the story for research within organizations and what it takes to be an effective design research leader.
Google is a data driven company, but big data doesn’t always explain ‘why’. Supriya Gokarn chats about how she brings empathy to Google Home in our first live People Nerds event.
After the US election in 2016, it became clear that we are living in our own bubbles. So, we asked our people nerds how they plan on breaking their metaphorical bubbles.
Kelly Goto is obsessed with patterns and people. It drives her evangelism for great design and impactful research, which led her to launch gotomedia and gotoresearch.
Storytelling is such a big part of the life of people nerds—both finding and sharing the stories of others. We wondered then, what stories and storytellers do they recommend we add to our reading lists this year?
Lanusse sat with dscout to share his passion for curiosity and empathy, his own multicultural background, and his understanding of the threads that connect viewers and consumers around the world.
Jeanne Bliss, a Chief Customer Officer, is an advocate for caring about the people who care about people. We chat what makes CX team and why CX needs UX.
With a PhD in Human-Computer Interaction, Aruna Balakrishnan has devoted her career to understanding what makes people tick, and how that ticking works with technology.
Myles spent 20 years at P&G studying the intent of in-store shoppers and became an expert in knowing what it’s like in the aisle. Now at ChaseDesign he uses new tech to replace dated techniques.
Sarah Cambridge is Google’s unofficial diary study expert for good reasons. Over her career, she’s taking research to lead design teams and brought design thinking to research organizations.
Anthropology has its place in business. In fact, Susan Kresnicka would tell you every company needs a few anthropologists. She explains how studying culture and ideas creates better products.
Combining a love for science and a need to understand people, Katy Mogal has designed her research teams to provide guidance in every product decision. User Experience means much more than just product validation.
Christopher Ireland, a design and research leader, talks about how storytelling is half of a great research project and what it takes to get to the core of a design solution.
Dan Makoski has seen true innovation happen and he knows the great ideas rarely come from the design leads in the room. The most-loved ideas come from the most ordinary people.
Journalists and qualitative researchers — the best ones anyway — are usually people nerds: humans obsessed with understanding their fellow humans. But not all of them are extroverts.
Know someone you’d love to read about in a People Nerd profile? Tell us why