about   |   writing   |   archives

Ambient Reality Checks

Tokyo: rush hour

If you’ve ever tried managing a cross-cultural project where the team hails from Europe, China and India you’ve probably come across decimal place separator issues. Non-trivial when figures are fly back and forth and people are talking 100,000’s, 10,0000’s and 10,00,00’s.

And so it was during the preparation of our next field study – where in a telephone and instant messaging session with subcontractors zero and decimal points were dancing in one direction and the next. A city with a population of 5,00,0000 or 50,0000? And on our mental background layer we’re zooming in and out of Google Maps – a reality check to understand the spread and size of the city.

For every task or activity – the new sources of ambient data from which to shape assumptions.

Off to China this week – a blitz of research in pre-Olympic Beijing followed by a full-on study in Handan , another Chinese city you’ve probably never heard of with a population of 8.5 million souls.