After twenty months of intense work and much enthusiasm, Antropología 2.0 takes on a new strategic stage and becomes an ethnographic research agency. In this article, we explain what we have done until now and what we are going to do to continue contributing to the development of our discipline.
“Everything flows, everything changes, nothing remains.” This phrase, attributed to the philosopher Heraclitus, is one of those quotes that every entrepreneur should tattoo. In projects, and in life in general, people change and circumstances change. Contexts, objectives and strategies change. And above all, we change ourselves.
Antropología 2.0 is in process of change. And we can’t think of a better time to announce it than after reaching 10,000 followers on our Facebook page. A historic milestone for a project that was born in the social networks. We are very grateful to all those people who follow us and who take the time to transmit their affection to us from such distant places. A million thanks to all of you!
What have we achieved so far?
When we decided to create Antropología 2.0, we understood that our main objective, the professionalization of social anthropology, was broad and abstract. And that it would entail great effort and a lot of hope, but it was also a good strategic approach and a dose of effective communication. After carrying out an analysis of the situation (see the kidnapping of anthropology) we established an action plan with the following objectives:
1) Create an online community of applied anthropologists.
2) Make applied anthropology more visible through the use of effective communication.
3) Motivate and encourage the debate on business anthropology within the academy.
4) Promoting the use of methods and theories form anthropology in private companies.
Over the past twenty months we have worked hard to achieve these goals, and we believe that the outcome so far has been satisfactory.
Currently, our blog contains 53 articles of our own content or from collaborator editors in Spanish, half of which are also available in English. The blog is an excellent place to discover the immense applications of anthropology in sectors as diverse as design, finance, health, transport, energy and technology. Interviews with key practitioners and scholars involved in applied anthropology have been conducted and posted as well. We have reviewed books and events, shared experiences and case studies, and also contributed to raising the discussion on the roll of anthropology nowadays… Fortunately all this work has had some impact. In addition to the 10,000 followers on Facebook, our website community is made up of more than 3,000 people from 45 different countries.
Networks generate events and events inspire ideas. Our brief history would not be the same without the previous efforts of other great anthropologists who worked hard to make the applications of anthropology known in Europe. We are specifically thinking of our dear colleagues of the EASA Applied Anthropology Network: Dan, Meta, Pavel and Laura who dream of changing a discipline and have known how to lead this transformation. It is no surprise that it was in one of their events, the Why the world needs anthropologists: Humanise It! where we had our first contact with corporate anthropologists, opening up a whole new world for us to explore.
We are now honored to be actively involved in the organization of Why the world needs Anthropologists 2018: Designing the future event to be held on 26 and 27 October in the beautiful city of Lisbon (Portugal).
In the offline world we haven’t been still either. The project has travelled from Spain to Estonia, the United Kingdom and Mexico, and will soon land in the United States and Portugal. Our focus to also build bridges with the academic world has led us to participate in 5 international congresses, where we have presented papers and coordinated panels in relation to business anthropology and other applied anthropology topics. We believe that articulating this type of spaces in large academic congresses helps to standardize business anthropology as a (sub)discipline, making visible the work of ethnographers working in corporate environments or consultancies. We would also like to thank the Department of Anthropology at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid for giving us the opportunity to share our project with their students, and to the students themselves for their interest and challenging questions too.
In relation to the fourth objective, this was one of the issues that surprised us the most was the ease and spontaneity with which contact with companies took place. In our initial plan we thought that this objective was going to be the most complicated, since we started from the belief that companies in Spain do not know anthropology and do not seem to have an interest in it. However, about a year ago, one of the leading national companies in the food industry contacted us: they had been looking for anthropologists for some time!
Starting to work with companies meant an acceleration of times. Suddenly, we had to set up an organizational structure, we had to establish ourselves legally, design research had to be adapted and scaled to new types of rhythms and we had to carry out a research and present some results. With our first income, we established a rigorous theoretical and methodological training plan: we bought a multitude of books and were later fortunate enough to be able to apply what we learned in the field itself, because we started getting more projects.
The development of Antropología 2.0 has led to some successes and numerous errors. Paradoxically, the greatest of all the failures has been to underestimate the breadth of our discipline. The professionalization of anthropology entails being present not only in companies, but also in schools, museums, hospitals, NGOs, large government decision-making centres or in the ranks of activist organizations. A too great objective that must be addressed by a rather broad set of actors: students, teachers, departments, associations, governments, agencies and companies.
At this point, Antropología 2.0 takes on a new stage and officially becomes an ethnographic research agency. A stage that will translate into a renewed visual image and a greater emphasis on the development of business anthropology. Soon we will release our restyled logo and a new website. There will also be a series of structural changes that will necessarily involve the expansion of equipment. In this new stage we want to be more and better, establishing synergy relationships with strategic partners who share our enthusiasm for Business Anthropology.
We will work to make this project a reference in Ibero-American business anthropology. To make ethnography an essential tool to face future innovation processes, placing people at the centre of decisions, contributing to respect for cultural diversity, providing the necessary holism to face environmental challenges, improving work climates, designing for users, watching out for the ethics involved, in short, understanding human groups in all their uniqueness and complexity.