“Create with the people, not for them!” A training workshop and a keynote lecture for managers and employees of Slovenian companies


Can anthropologists give relevant advice to business managers? Are anthropological methods and insights valuable in industry and business, in product and service design?  Absolutely!

As Anna Kirah, design anthropologist and a member of the PEOPLE project’s Advisory Board, and Dan Podjed (ZRC SAZU), techno-anthropologist and PEOPLE team member, recently demonstrated in their training workshop, it is crucial that companies start looking through other people’s eyes to create people-friendly products or services that are relevant, meaningful, and useful, benefiting the individual, the society, and the environment.

The workshop was delivered on Friday, 29 September 2017, and organised within the Competence Centres for Human Resources Development 2.0 action, supported by the Government of Slovenia and the European Social Fund. Over 20 managers and employees of Slovenian companies and NGOs attended the workshop, where they were introduced to the people-centred development approach. Dr Podjed presented the four steps of the approach – from identification of people and research to interpretation and testing – and explained that the approach is an iterative process. This means that we should continuously return to people who use the products or services and repeatedly ask questions that shed light on how new solutions meet their needs and desires. Anna Kirah emphasised that meaningful solutions should always be created with people and not for them and described how she used people-centred approaches in design and development projects at Boeing, Microsoft and other companies. Kirah also presented cases she has worked on more recently in Norway, for instance a train service to Oslo, which has become a success story due to their focus on people instead of technologies.

A day earlier, on Thursday, 28 September 2017, Anna Kirah was a keynote speaker at the “Congress of Managers”, the main yearly event of the Managers’ Association of Slovenia, which was attended by more than 300 managers of Slovenian companies. She also gave an interview for Svet kapitala, the weekly finance and business supplement of the Slovenian daily newspaper Delo.

Anna Kirah Keynote Address at the ‘Congress of Managers’ (Photo credit: Managers’ Association of Slovenia)

Want to know more about how the PEOPLE project and its team demonstrate the value of people-centred design and development approaches in practical and learning environments? Visit our News section for regular updates, or follow our Facebook and Twitter accounts (@PEOPLEprojectEU) for news and interesting reads.