Chris Lunch


How can technologists access deep insights without anthropological training and experience? How can we as anthropologists help build the empathic listening skills of these teams and challenge the cognitive bias so we can help our teams solve the complex “wicked” problems? It is key for techies to be connected to these other realities and design with them in mind, which is currently often not the case.

To change this we need to all be ready to put aside our “expert hats”. Techies and anthropologists alike….We need to use participatory, iterative tools and include those we are designing for as temporary “members” of our design teams to identify real needs and priorities and develop solutions together with technologists and wider stakeholders.

The problems in successful design and implementation of technological or technical solutions arise from systemic issues due to a lack of flexibility and inclusion in the research and design phase. If we can apply agile, participatory and iterative design approaches, we can enable really exciting and novel approaches to some of the “wicked” problems many at this conference are trying to address.

To illustrate this I will share a project we carried out in the Paris suburbs with municipal government policy makers and urban engineers in one of Europe’s largest social housing projects, a place officially considered “beyond the control of the law”. Together with local citizens, policy makers and urban engineers we carried out locally led research and analysis to define key priorities, insights and needs. The key to success was the urban engineers changing their posture from that of expert and designer to that of facilitator, to humbly listen to the real experts: the citizens, the users, those living the problems on a day-to-day level. Working with them as co-designers and as co-experts, thereby tapping into this incredible talent and source of insights.  How does this translate into AI for good? How can we avoid the failed social projects and misguided, misinformed solutions of the past; imposed on people rather than coming from within?

About Chris

Chris is the Co-Founder and Director of InsightShare. We are leaders in developing participatory video and co-design projects. Chris has worked on Participatory Video projects around the world since his first project with nomads and farmers in Central Asia back in 1999. He co-founded InsightShare with his brother Nick eighteen years ago.

Chris leads the overall strategy, operations and financial management of the organisation and continues to facilitate projects in the field. Chris studied Anthropology and Archaeology at Oxford University.