Radical Human Centricity

Radical Human Centricity

Fulfilling the Promises of Innovation Research

By Paul Hartley

This book is a call to action. It is a critique of the poor state of commercial research and an articulation of the shifts and changes in thinking needed to fulfil the empty promises of human-centered research.

EPUB, 250 Pages


August 2022

£22.00, $29.95

PDF, 250 Pages


August 2022

£22.00, $29.95

  • About This Book
  • Reviews
  • Author Information
  • Series
  • Table of Contents
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  • Podcasts

About This Book

The book Radical Human Centricity sits between two worlds: business and anthropology. It is a critique and reassessment of commercial innovation research from an anthropological perspective born out of years of experience in innovation research consulting and anthropological scholarship. It demonstrates the many failures of contemporary commercial research, from market research to research approaches in design thinking and human-centered design. After identifying the key problems, it provides a set of solutions to elevate commercial research and allow practitioners to fulfill the empty promises of design thinking and human-centered design. The book ends with a clear articulation of how to fix what is broken and actually be human-centric, just now from within the radical human-centric approach. 

This book is written for two audiences. The first is a business reader involved in innovation and strategy. It helps this business reader to understand the growing problem lurking in commercial research and offers practical advice to develop a research practice better able to fuel innovation, strategy, and design processes than anything currently available. It provides a practical and theoretical engagement with research practice to change how companies study human lives. It identifies the many gaps in more typical research methods, fills them with new tools and approaches from anthropological and ethnographic practices, and finally contextualizes them within an end-to-end radically human-centric research process.

The second reader is an anthropological scholar or student interested in the applied anthropological practices in commercial research. This is an increasingly important area of theory and practice within contemporary anthropology, and few books in this area are written by practicing commercial anthropologists. While the theoretical treatments will be known to an advanced anthropological reader, it applies them in contexts and examples not commonly discussed in the ethnographic disciplines. Additionally, the methodological examples and practice anecdotes introduce the reader to a world few academic researchers ever experience. Consequently, this book adds insight into an area of anthropological practice not well understood by academic social scientists and offers a window into new avenues of applied anthropology.

The purpose of this book is to create a space for a new form of applied commercial ethnography, called radical human -centricity. It is unique in that it addresses the problems of business research in a thoughtful, scholarly way, while also providing practical examples for innovation researchers of all backgrounds to emulate.


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Author Information

Paul Hartley is an anthropologist and foresight practitioner. He is the CEO of the Human Futures Studio.


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements; Foreword by Alexander Manu; Introduction; Part 1: The Critique – Chapter 1 – The Need for Real Research; Chapter 2 – Reclaiming Ethnography; Chapter 3 – Rethinking Commercial Research; Part 2: Core Considerations – Chapter 4 – Beyond Empathy; Chapter 5 – The World as It Is; Chapter 6 – Radical Storytelling; Part 3: The RHC Approach – Outline of the RHC Process; Scope; The Idea; Observe; Understand; Generate; Notes on Activation; Conclusion; References; Index.


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