Menlo Innovations 
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Intermediate level

The business value of user discovery in designing successful solutions

Mitigating product development risk through Menlo’s High-Tech Anthropology® process


Practitioner Presentation
Thursday, Oct. 21 Location Code
11:30am-12:30pm Virtual ThS/25

Times listed in EDT.


This session will cover effective techniques for conducting observations and interviews, debriefing and synthesizing findings, and creating meaningful visual artifacts for improving the user and customer experience.


One of the biggest mistakes that an organization can make is sinking time and money into products and services that don’t work for their end-users or customers. Menlo’s High-Tech Anthropology® process serves to mitigate this risk by reverse engineering solutions based on a deep understanding of user pain and needs. In this presentation, we will discuss how Menlo’s High-Tech Anthropologists® use field-based discovery to define user needs and translate those insights into successful design solutions to ensure user adoption.


Menlo Innovations is a custom software design and development company with a radically different approach to workplace culture—one intentionally designed to produce joy. From pairing to post-its, every process and tool at Menlo is designed to end human suffering as it relates to technology. Every year thousands of visitors come to Ann Arbor, Michigan, or visit Menlo virtually to see its team in action and learn how to create a workplace people love.


Mollie Callahan is a member of the High-Tech Anthropology® design team at Menlo Innovations, a design and development firm that builds user-centered software and provides organizational change consulting. She is as passionate about translating ethnographically-grounded user insights into functional designs and strategic solutions as she is about teaching Menlo's High-Tech Anthropology process to tour guests and workshop attendees. Callahan holds a Ph.D. in anthropology, along with graduate certificates in culture and cognition and Latin American and Caribbean Studies from the University of Michigan. Before working at Menlo, she was a visiting professor of anthropology and research associate at Oberlin College, where she divided her time between teaching, research and consulting in intercultural health reform.

Lindsey Krumrei is a member of the High-Tech Anthropology® team at Menlo Innovations who loves uncovering user insights and using them to shape functional designs that work for end-users. She holds a bachelor's degree in history with a minor in anthropology from Eastern Michigan University.