LONDON, England – We first got to hear (and see) Jan Chipchase speak at the Nokia Design Event held in London in June. Before then he was a mystical figure who, we were told, spent is time on street corners watching women take their phones out of their bags. Of course, we know now that his job is just a touch more sophisticated than that, which is why it’s found its way onto our best of 2008 list. Nokia’s approach to Anthropology is without equal. Working with a team of field researchers, Chipchase’s job is to pinpoint what people will need from their mobile devices between three and 15 years out, before feeding his results back to the main design teams.
His insight is uncanny. And it should be, after all he spends his time traveling the world and understanding how people use their phones today, and how they might want to use them in the future. The level of information gathered is immense, but it’s the insight it provides which is more impressive. Of course, Jan isn’t going to tell us what’s right around the corner, but some of the concepts shown off at the design event give some hint as to what might be around the one beyond.
Anthropology, we salute you. Jan Chipchase, we salute you.