Ann-Helen Sund, MACA 08: A project for the Swedish Transport Administration
“They asked for a communications specialist – they needed a cultural analyst. As a ‘communications specialist’, I was asked to help the Swedish Transport Administation (Trafikverket) develop a concept for train passenger information in chaotic traffic situations. This work, including fieldwork amongst train managers and analysis of qualitative responses from passengers, was carried out in close cooperation with the different organizations that would implement the initiative, with me working more as a project member, than as an external consultant. In my opinion, every project could benefit from having a cultural analyst on the team, making sure that “the problem” which the project wants to aim its actions at is real, i.e. not a product of taken for granted, cultural assumptions, and thus ensuring that the project’s models and actions will make sense and improve the situation of the people affected by these actions – in this project both from a working- and a passenger perspective. I think chances are good that next time they will ask for a cultural analyst.”
Steve Raue, MACA 08: Finding a niche amongst business administrators and finance specialists
“It is interesting to see that whenever companies look for experts helping to change their business it still must be people from finance or business administration. What a chance it was for me to convince them of ethnographic and cultural perspectives as an asset in organizational development projects. As change expert and project manager I work in an independent think tank, the Systemic Excellence Group in Berlin, where consulting is certainly not the right description. In most projects it is about to understand how a group of people “clicks”, how habits and communication shape the operating structure of this organism. I conduct interviews not only to drag out information, but as a systemic intervention that is reflective input as well. These dialogues usually end with workshops that reflect our findings in the team itself. In a way this work is like mirror you look into in the morning. It helps you understand your own movement and shape without directly telling you what to do, it is awareness. With this in mind, I conduct and promote change management in its social dimension, beyond machine thinking”.