Global Business Anthropology Summit 2021
The Global Business Anthropology Summit 2021 was held as a virtual event over the course of five days, from June 14-18 2021. The summit featured six sessions, each focusing on challenging current sustainability practices through presentations of business cases highlighting the success of doing anthropology with business. Below you can find recordings and material from the Sessions of the Global Business Anthropology Summit 2021. Team Berlin Organizers and Session Contributors invite you to connect and collaborate through their LinkedIn profiles.
The GBAS2021 Organizing Team
Monday June 14: Opening Ceremonies and Keynote Speakers
The Summit opened with welcome greetings by Prof. Dr. Günter M. Ziegler, President of Freie Universität Berlin and Prof. Dr. Hansjörg Dilger, Head of the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the FU, followed by two thought-provoking and engaging contributions from keynote speakers Joana Breidenbach, trained socio-cultural anthropologist and founder of Betterplace, and Carlo Colpo, global manager in charge of brand communication for Lavazza, moderated by Claus-Bernhard Pakleppa, founder of P4D (Partnership for Development). The keynote conversation focused on how businesses face challenges, at different scales, from the small and local, to the big and global and explore the contributions that anthropology can make to support that process.
Tuesday June 15:
Making Sense of the Future: How Anthropologists "See" It
This session discusses how anthropology can add cultural richness to the field of foresight and future studies.
Presenting a “mobile” approach to sensemaking and knowledge, with examples from science fiction, COVID-19, and technology, it shows how engaging in intentional and strategic observation to challenge predominant assumptions, especially from big data, can illuminate different future(s) realities.
The session also discusses various perspectives, frameworks, and methodologies currently used in commercial, design, and anthropological environments. It demonstrates how to sense anomalies and weak signals, trace them, and compare them with past and present patterned behavior to gain understanding about shifts in practice and meaning to both explain them and anticipate their future paths.
Tuesday June 15: Tax Culture in Business
The session explains how cultural values influence how we think about taxes. How do different (tax) cultures impact business behaviour and community engagement?
Through business examples, it shows manifold aspects of taxation, beyond making financial contributions to community and society.
The session contributors discuss how individual and collective tax cultures are changing due to the world-wide increase of exchange relations — goods, services, labor and ideas. What is the future role of corporate tax in creating sustainable communities?
Wednesday June 16:
GLobal Black Lives Initiative: Navigating Business as a Black Researcher of African Descent
In this session, three senior-level researchers of African descent discuss their career trajectories, their experiences working with multi-national corporations and non-profits, and their advice for other researchers of African descent pursuing careers in business.
Lucia Laurent-Neva, Semiotician, Anthropologist and Cultural Strategist, Visual Signo, UK
Carsten Claus, Business and Future Anthropologist, OBERKORN, Hamburg, Germany
Dominique Desjeux, Anthropologist, Professor (Emeritus) at the Sorbonne (University of Paris), and International Consultant for Daiz and Co, Paris, France
Julia Gluesing, Anthropologist, Research Professor at Wayne State University, President Cultural Connections, Inc., Detroit, Michigan USA
Allen Batteau, Anthropologist, Professor (Emeritus), Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan USA
Pavle Menalo, University of Belgrade, Serbia
Niccolò Marino, Beyond Research srl, Milano, Italy
Lotta Björklund Larsen, University of Exeter Business School, UK
Hera Brown, Fulbright-Schuman Researcher to the European Union, USA
Christine B. Avenarius, The Central Agency for Continuing Vocational Education and Training in the Skilled Crafts (ZWH), Berlin, Germany
Autumn D. Mcdonald, Owner at ADM Insights and Strategy
Michael Lewis, Marketing Insights Executive
Tharius Sumter, Insights and Innovation Leader
Thursday June 17: Beyond Sustainability
The session "Beyond Sustainability" explains how the extent of human centricity in technology and business makes us overlook the needs of other types of life on and beyond the planet – to the detriment of all.
Through business examples it shows how building for the broadest ecosystem leads to behavior change among consumers using the case of Mobistyle energy design systems.
The session contributors discuss implications for the future by showcasing how overcoming the concept of sustainability might enable us to integrate the needs of all elements of ecosystems.
Pablo Mondragón Valero, Antropología 2.0, Spain
Dan Podjed, Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts (ZRC SAZU), Slovenia
Veronica Reyero Meal, Antropología 2.0, Spain
Lucia Laurent-Neva, Semiotician, Anthropologist and Cultural Strategist, Visual Signo, UK
Thursday June 17:
Change + Diffusing Behaviors within Organizations
The session explains how roles in business respond to internal and external forces that bring new managerial practices and technology.
Through business examples it shows how the need for internal change is identified and managed in two cases: AB InBev and ACME Productions.
The session also discusses implications for the future by revealing ways organizations communicate the need for change across sectors, motivating individual, societal, and governmental commitments with concern to technology access, environmental sustainability, equality, and wellness.
Melissa Vogel, Business Anthropologist at Hanover Research, USA
Karen Smits, Organizational Anthropologist at Practical Thinking, Australia
Friday June 18: Business Anthropology for the Future + Building a Knowledge Commons
The session explains how business anthropology can be applied and promoted to stimulate growth.
Through a series of interviews with business experts it explores how anthropology can work in different industries.
It discusses implications for the future by exploring how anthropology contributes to the scope and rigor of innovation in business, and how agrowing community of knowledge of business anthropology practices globally can help businesses become future-proof.
Allegra Pochtler, TraceMap, Berlin, Germany
Robert J. Morais, Columbia Business School, USA
Susan Kresnicka, Kresnicka Research and Insights , USA
Alberto Guglielmone, Marketing Innovation & Business Anthropology, Milan, Italy
Closing Ceremonies and remarks
Video: Jerome Beauvois, anthropology and architecture
The Summit was concluded with a closing ceremony featuring contributions from Marguerite Coetzee, Ed Liebow from the American Anthropological Association, Lora Koycheva of EASA-AAN, Summit founder Allen Batteau and Carmen Bueno Castellanos, host of the Summit in Mexico City in 2023.
The last day of the Summit featured a contribution from French architect Jerome Beauvois on the role of anthropology in architecture, discussing the transformation of the Palais de Justice, a former courthouse in Nantes, France, a project headed by Beauvois.
Serendipity Wednesday: GBAS Virtual Cafe
In true Berlin Style, Wednesday at GBAS2021 featured a virtual café where moderators presented various topics to discuss over a cup of coffee. Moderators and topic descriptions are listed below.
Seeing the future of human settlement
Does the future of human settlement need new models? Settler colonialism, wherever in the world it has taken place, has created private environments within public spaces. Can we learn from the realities of unhoused or home-less communities around the world; from mobility, environmental catastrophe, and displacement? What do you think?
In South Africa, the youth are ancestors of the future
Today, June 16, is Youth Day. It honours youth’s contribution to South Africa’s transition into democracy and considers the future of our youth. In 1976 there was an uprising in which school children were massacred. Does the focus on youth in South Africa’s national celebration offer new ways to see the future?
In technology we trust, for the future of businesses
Let's talk about intersections of technology, anthropology, and lived experience. In this golden age of the smartphone, can our tools, methods and theories help businesses aggregate people-insights to anticipate the future? How does the anthropological lens fit into quantitative data sources like surveys? Bring your questions and ideas. We’ll chat.
Discovering the Future of Consumption by Observing the Present
Are we facing war between China, the USA, and other countries because of the globalization of consumption? Competition for raw materials, "proteins" (soybean) and energy yields conflict. Perhaps business anthropology’s work in observing and tracking material, social, and symbolic constraints on consumption can deter conflict. What do you think?
Business Anthropology revitalizing public spaces
Can corporations use anthropology to build the social and cultural fabric and revitalize cities? In Genoa, for example, the MONUMENT© Project - a collaboration of industrial partner MecPlex and the Politecnico di Milano - a square or park may become the city’s investment in social sustainability. What about your experiences?
Lotta Björklund Larsen
Data through the anthropological lens
What are data? How can we use data to know something? In the age of opinions, ratings, facts, fake news etc., there are lots of data – also big data. Many of us use the anthropological gaze to help business sort out what data to use. Let’s discuss worldwide experiences.
Companygraphy, an Instrument of Civilization
Does “Companygraphy” describe how society is organized? A company is a community, a place where people spend time together. Within each role-based team in a company, are overlapping networks of private relationships and collaborations. Products and services are created in a multi-layered set of norms and values. Companygraphy as instrument?
Humanitarian crises - what can anthropology do?
What is the public awareness of businesses’ role in humanitarian crises witnessed across the globe? Global warming, Covid-19, persistent famines and forced migration, unending proxy wars in the Middle East. Do anthropologists in business and in global and local NGOs have influence in remedying and preventing such crises?
What is the (digital) money of the future?
Can anthropology add to the study of new kinds of money? Fintech giants contribute to radical change in the use of digital money from Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies to the stablecoins. Governments are developing digital currencies too. How will monetary sovereignty be reshaped? What will be the implications for businesses?
The Transforming Terrain of Organizations
What are some emerging trends in business organization? From diverse teams to digital geographies, from empathic organizations to work-life flexibility, moving beyond business-as-usual. For example, my work in the private health insurance industry in the U.S., witnesses less soloing today. What organizational shifts are you seeing or contributing to?
Or Cassandra's Curse?
Is anthropology an avant-garde discipline, ahead of its time? Does anthropology suffer from Cassandra´s curse? How can anthropology become a lens for new ways of seeing? What is lost and what is gained in the space between marketing the discipline to others, translating our empirical apparatuses, and negotiating our jargon?