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On the Brink with Andi Simon

Sep 23, 2019

Hear how anthropology is bringing you better design!

This was a wonderful interview with a fellow anthropologist. Amy Santee is a design research and strategy consultant working in product development, innovation and business strategy. Trained as an anthropologist, Amy incorporates a human-centered lens to help teams build products, services and brands through an understanding of people, context and experience. What does that mean for you? Listen to our fascinating conversation and you'll find out. Learn and share!

Amy SanteeAs you know, at SAMC we preach the virtues of stepping out and looking at things from the outside-in. Rather than assuming you know what your customers are doing, the challenges they are facing, or the fears and struggles with which they are coping, go out of the office and hang out with them. Listen to their stories. Let them tell you what they think is the problem with the solutions they have today. Don’t try and sell them anything. Just listen.

Along those lines, Amy and I dig into the ways in which anthropologists work in Design Thinking to provide an ethnographic approach to new ways to design things. You will listen to hear how she is driven by an endless curiosity about how humans experience the world so they can make sense of complex problem spaces.

As Amy says it so well: “We have to understand the people we're designing for in order to create things that are meaningful and relevant to them. Knowing what they care about is essential for increasing confidence in decisions, lowering risk, achieving business goals and differentiating from competitors."

A little about Amy Santee

Amy has worked primarily in the digital world, with experience in areas such as ecommerce, entertainment, retail, home improvement, health care, wearables, enterprise software and consumer tech. She is also a prominent figure in the community of anthropological practice, and blogs about design, business, organizational culture and careers at She is now building her own business to bring anthropology to others. You can tell why I'm such a fan!

You can find her on LinkedIn or visit her website,

For more on anthropology's huge effect on business, check out these blogs and podcasts:

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