DESIGN ETHNOGRAPHY® provides a range of services including research, marketing planning support and workshops as minimal units. Depending on client’s needs and issues, we can customize our services from a small project to a mid to long-term project.


Location hunting research

To visually understand a potential of the city

Location hunting is a Japanese term based on an English phrase, meaning to look for an outside location for making or filming movies or TV programs.

We visit a location such as a city, a store and any other place where people gather, where the client wants to understand a potential of the location and customers. From this research, we will reveal flow lines, habits, behavior, appearance (including fashion trends) of residents, businessmen and shoppers as well as store opening tendencies, goods selection and relevance to neighboring areas. 

After the research, we will present the results visually, using videos, photos, and location mapping with other marketing information and consumers’ interview results.

This research is useful when considering a store opening, customizing a promotion for a certain area and developing a community-based product.

Documentary research

To survey by recording daily life in a house, a store, or a city with a professional cameraman

A documentary is a movie recorded under a particular theme and edited without dramatizing it.

We will visit the house of a customer who the client wants to approach, or a site where service is provided, and monitor the space with a professional cameraman. This research makes it possible to discover things about the customer that they themselves may be unaware of through monitoring their daily life; or ideal service and shop layout from a customer’s point of view by monitoring their purchase behavior and problems that is not apparent in your staff’s daily report.

We can customize recording methods by using several cameras to record different angles at the same time, reproducing the customer’s perspective by wearing a miniature camera and recording changes at certain locations in different time zones, on weekdays and weekends and more.

Our professional editing team can edit the video so it can be shared with others. We also provide services such as adding English/Japanese subtitles and narration, creating both full versions and digest versions, and commentary with moving diagrams.

Impersonation workshop

To understand customer’s behavior and phycology through roll-playing


An impersonation workshop is a simulation experience, made meaningful by solving problems. By reproducing a customer’s daily life by impersonating him/her, it is possible to understand true motivations and any issue related to consumer behavior.

We decide roles and scenes to play based on the location hunting and/or documentary research. The scene is generally picked up from considerable scenes. For example, in the case of housekeeping/housework behavioral psychology, the team shares the roles of family members, from getting groceries, to cooking meals, to washing dishes (OR cleaning up) in a rental kitchen space. In addition, roles are played by those who do not usually experience them – the design development team will experience receptions and the sales team will experience design development.

This research is beneficial because it helps to connect participants from different fields and makes it possible to have a common understanding without words. Also, it gives a certain amount of guidance on the actual use of the service, so it is helpful not only when developing products and services but also when launching a service in the market.

Creator’s workshop

To make use of young creators’ point of view and creative power for projects

The creator’s workshop starts with creators from various fields finding a consumer issue from previously conducted research, then generating ideas from test site fieldwork and putting them into a new product or service. 

Creators not only have interesting ideas, they also unique viewpoints to issues and to make concepts; their thought process can provide a lot of learnings that are beneficial for a company.

We choose creators from our network including that of art, photography, video, illustration, copy writing, product design, architecture, and food, based on project necessity. We also plan and conduct general workshops for attracting customers.

Futuristic scenario/video 

To make movies of the life that customers truly desire to share with clients

A scenario is a script which contains a combination of scenes, outlines, movements and dialogues for each player in a movie or a TV drama production.

Using intuitive induction method, we consider the “ideal future” that consumers potentially desire according to the research data and the “value add” that could be provided by the company making their ideal future possible, to collaboratively make their encounter into a futuristic story scenario.

When making a scenario, we set up a team with a writer, a creator and a client. This team structure makes it possible to find customer issues and to collaboratively create something for the future. This research is useful for brainstorming at a planning stage, reviewing functions and designs at a developing stage, and checking whether appealing points are acceptable before launching a new service. 

Deliverables are prepared based on the purpose of use, but it is possible to create computer graphic video, live-action video, four panel comic, photo collection style, drama styled book and more from the research results.

Ethnographic research 

To express complicated information in an easy-to-understand manner with the power of graphics

Ethnographic research is a technique applied to investigations that infographically express information and data visually.

Based on information gathered through on-site observation and data collection, this service illustrates complicated and unclassified information such as a company’s “service, system, process” and conceptual and obscure information such as “brand, concept, and idea” systematically by converting them into comprehensible with diagrams, color schemes, images and illustrations. 

Ethnographic research can be deployed in various ways, such as business modeling, customer journey mapping, system and process guidelines, visualizations of brands and concepts, and pictograms of services, so that teams can share objectives and communicate policies broadly to stakeholders.

Design ethnography study and training

To train talent who have aesthetic faculties and observing ability

Design ethnography is not a technology or knowledge that only a limited number of people with years of experience can deal with.

A design ethnographer correctly understands the background and structure of the issue by onsite observation, and can share this knowledge to a team with empathy. They can also manage a diverse team made up of members with varying specialties and different sensitivities, and can draw in ideas and innovations from them. This program will train your staff to be design ethnographers.

Through the program, you can understand designer’s and ethnographer’s ways of thinking, and techniques used, easily and practically, using several case studies. You also will learn our original methodologies such as on-site observation, intuitive induction and ways to improve teams and projects using design.

© 2014-2020 by DESIGN ETHNOGRAPHY ,Inc. 

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