Is PEOPLE changing the way we perceive social sciences?

  • PEOPLE project, Erasmus+, workshop, industry, university-industry cooperation, government, people-centred design, people-centred approaches, anthropology

Are we aware of different contributions that social sciences in general and ethnography in particular can bring towards product and service development? What are the experiences of doctors, mechanical engineers, lawyers, architects, consultants and other professionals when it comes to working with anthropologists? Does current higher education system teach the required skills or should we involve more real-life project-based assignments in direct collaboration with the industry, companies, NGOs, professionals and other experts?

We discussed these questions on 20 March 2019 in a workshop setting that involved interdisciplinary group of Slovenian experts, all having valuable experience with university-industry collaboration. We also presented the PEOPLE approach and the results that were already achieved in line with current environmental challenges that our society is facing. The workshop provided us with several interesting evaluation findings. For instance, the PEOPLE approach should be widely disseminated, targeting not only industry but also other contexts such as environmental and humanitarian organizations, healthcare, national and local governments, and agriculture. All these sectors could significantly contribute with real-life case studies and providing guidance when it comes to teaching and learning in higher education. In addition, they can benefit from collaborating with higher education and anthropological knowledge, especially when it comes to involving actual people in the development and improvement of their services. Participants expressed interest to continue collaborating with PEOPLE project and shaping our common future.