Contrary to popular perception, a trend isn’t something that’s getting a lot of mentions at a point in time.

There’s a broad misconception about what makes something a trend and it often sends corporate innovation on a wild goose chase.

Over the course of the last ten years, we’ve all grown to accept the idea that a trend is something that is being talked about a lot (let’s thank Twitter for that, shall we?).

How many mentions is something getting? Have the mentions grown significantly over the last little while?

These are the types of questions we find ourselves asking when we are trying to determine if something is trending. …


Here we go again. Yet another “failure of polls” situation. History truly does repeat itself. Sometimes, incessantly.

Don’t blame the pollsters.

It’s not their fault you keep making the same mistakes.

Last week, my three year old drew on an expensive vintage coffee table in our living room. I didn’t address the idea with her or find a creative solution to prevent it from happening again. So, when she did the same thing the next day, I had no one else to blame but myself.

It’s a similar situation when it comes to our obsession with polls. They were and…


Photo by Smit Patel on Unsplash

The philosopher and social scientist Max Weber made a stark judgment of American culture almost a hundred years ago. He noted that unlike society and culture in Europe where one’s social status is rather “fixed” — the family you’re born into, the type of education and vocation you choose being the predominant drivers of said status, in the United States, young people concern themselves more with the desire to make money than with the desire to acquire a traditional education or normative forms of status (as defined in European society). …


Photo Credit: Unsplash — Kayla Velasquez

Election season is upon us and the issue of “fake news” is all the rage once again. But is “fake news” really that “fake”?

Our assumptions about what is or isn’t “fake” is based on our understanding of what makes something true in our society.

Truth, however, is one of the most misunderstood ideas in culture. As much as we’d like to think of truth as a singular rational idea — that which is observable and verifiable — the reality is that our minds don’t quite work in such a rational way. We’re not rational beings, as much as we’d…


It’s time to ditch that target consumer “persona”.

Imagine a world where ‘the brief’ for a brand doesn’t consist of a target audience — i.e. a persona. Rather, it conveys the meanings that the brand must embody, and the forms of symbolic capital (commonly referred to as social capital) it must provide to its consumer.

That’s what this post is about. I’m going to tell you why it’s important to shift your thinking away from tired old models, and how you can begin doing so.

Let’s begin with the brief because even if you work in innovation, there’s a very high chance that you are beholden to this…


Photo by Omar Lopez on Unsplash

If you want your clients or the company you work for to truly embrace diversity, then you need to think about re-examining commonly used approaches to research. After all, research is what drives the creation of solutions and value in the marketplace. If research doesn’t take the rich complexity of culture into account, then it will inadvertently find itself gravitating towards insights and outcomes that are geared toward the majority.

You see, corporations have historically bet on cultural homogenization, and still today continue to use such approaches in research which are designed to dismiss and minimize the experiences of those…


Cultural Anthropology simply put enables the study of culture (meanings, habits, rituals shared among a group of people). Techniques like human-centered design do a great job of getting to shared habits and rituals but struggle to understand underlying shared meanings that affect how human beings interpret issues and topics. It is the discovery of meaning that most concerns us at MotivBase because without it, it’s very easy to solve the wrong problem in the marketplace.

Culture is everywhere and everything in culture has meaning. Most often, these meanings are anything but logical or rational.

If you think about pretty much any topic that matters to your business, there are meanings that revolve around those topics. …


Why it’s critical to identify the types of new knowledge being created by this crisis within your customer base

Photo by Jonas Verstuyft on Unsplash

Every business is worried about the long-term impact of this pandemic on their consumer. Yet, they’re mostly reliant on research that is focused on measuring short term behaviors. Why? It all stems from our predisposition to jump to conclusions. As human beings, we’re automatically driven to a mode of thinking that behavioral economist and Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman called “System 1 thinking”. When we are presented with new information, we opt for the easiest pathway to arrive at the necessary conclusions.

For example, if you work for a food company that is currently benefiting from the increased sales of…


Three strategies you can employ immediately to get yourself out of the rut and open the door to new opportunities.

Photo by Nik Shuliahin on Unsplash

For those of us who are lucky enough to be working for companies that are doing okay during this pandemic, it’s very easy to fall into the trap of short-term thinking. It is also easy to see why we’re being dragged into that mindset. Every day we’re bombarded with new research about our customer’s changing behavior and it’s hard not to get pulled into the conversation. …


A lot has been written about the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the consumer. In particular, the erosion of people’s trust in government is a topic that is repeatedly discussed in print media and syndicated research as something that is stemming out of the pandemic. Which isn’t entirely true. The coronavirus hasn’t suddenly created the feeling of distrust among Americans towards their governments. It has simply added fuel to a fire that was already burning, albeit gently.

Photo by Boxed Water Is Better on Unsplash

There’s a reason why the United States has witnessed an unprecedented proliferation of health and wellness related businesses over the past few years. From…

Ujwal Arkalgud

Author Microcultures (2020), Cultural Anthropologist, CEO of MotivBase.com - AI powered observational ethnography for front-end innovation.

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